SPX 2011: Small Press Expo launches Graphic-Novel Program with book gift for libraries


A new bookplate designed for the SPX Graphic Novel Gift Program. (LILLI CARRE/Small Press Expo )

One of the best indie-publishing events in the nation has embarked on a new way to entice and encourage more comics readers.

Maryland’s Small Press Expo announced Wednesday night that it is launching a Graphic Novel Gift Program and that its first recipient has been selected: the state’s Montgomery County Public Libraries.

SPX’s first offering is a gift of 230 graphic novels to the library system’s 20 branches. Small Press Expo is held each year in Montgomery County, in Bethesda.

“It was a real pleasure working with the very knowledgeable MCPL staff, who selected some terrific graphic novels,” SPX Executive Director Warren Bernard tells Comic Riffs. “We hope the readers of Montgomery County enjoy these books, which are representative of the types of reading available at SPX.”

As part of the effort, award-winning artist/author Lilli Carre designed a bookplate that SPX says will be put in all the donated books.

“My idea was for the design was pretty simple,” Carre tells Comic Riffs. “I wanted to make something bold and very graphic that could be reproduced both large for limited-edition prints ,and quite small for the actual bookplates — and to include imagery symbolizing both growth and reading.

“Plus, I can’t resist an opportunity to draw some ornate foliage!”

The donated books will be formally presented Sept. 6 at the Rockville (Md.) Memorial Library.

This year’s SPX — scheduled for Sept. 10-11 at the North Bethesda Marriott Convention Center — will spotlight such guest cartoonists as Craig Thompson (“Blankets”), The New Yorker’s Roz Chast and The Post’s Ann Telnaes.

Writer/artist/visual storyteller Michael Cavna is creator of the "Comic Riffs" column and graphic-novel reviewer for The Post's Book World. He relishes sharp-eyed satire in most any form.

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