Guest Craig Thompson created SPX's new flier. (Craig Thompson/SPX 2011)

Easily one of Comic Riffs’s most anticipated graphic novels of the year is “Habibi,” Craig Thompson’s first such comic since his much-lauded “Blankets” in 2004.

With today’s release of the Small Press Expo’s 2011 flier, we get news of two welcome surprises:

1. Mr. Thompson will be attending SPX this fall as a guest, a mere week-and-a-half before Pantheon releases “Habibi.”

2. The SPX flier itself is designed by Thompson, meaning we get a little fresh art to tide us over till the 672-page “Habibi” drops Sept.20.

The flier is topped by the 10 featured guests. In addition to Thompson, newly announced today are Chester Brown, Diane Noomin, Johnny Ryan, Jay Stephens and Matthew Thurber.

The Small Press Expo — held in suburban Washington — bills itself as ”the preeminent showcase for the exhibition of independent comics, graphic novels and alternative political cartoons.”