REBECCA SUGAR is officially coming home again.
Next month, the rock-star creator of Cartoon Network’s hit “Steven Universe” not only will return to her suburban Washington turf, where she honed her art while attending Montgomery Blair High and the Visual Arts Center at Einstein High, but will also appear at Maryland’s Small Press Expo, where she tabled her art as a teenager.
The L.A.-based Sugar will appear Sept. 15 at SPX to talk about her comics — including “Pug Davis” and “Margo in Dread” — as well as her Emmy-nominated work as an “Adventure Time” storyboard artist and the creator of “Steven Universe,” the latter named for her brother Steven, a background artist on the show.
When “Steven Universe” launched in 2013, Sugar, then 26, became the first woman to be a solo show creator in Cartoon Network’s two-decade-plus history.
“Having Rebecca Sugar come back to her home show is an extra thrill for us,” SPX Executive Director Warren Bernard told Comic Riffs on Tuesday.
Sugar’s afternoon spotlight session, which will be moderated by Youth in Decline publisher Ryan Sands, should be an especially big draw for SPX’s young-skewing attendance.
Narratively, “Steven Universe” is about the Crystal Gems, who are superheroic intergalactic guardians, and their sweet half-Gem mascot Steven. But for Sugar, the show is about “how much I needed emotional support in high school” — support that largely came from her brother — with issues such as teen angst.
The Emmy-nominated series, with its large active fandom, has spawned comic books and video and mobile games, and last month at Comic-Con the network showed a teaser for “Steven Universe: The Movie.”
The two-day comics convention will also feature a diverse slate of talents such as Aminder Dhaliwal, Julie Doucet, Kat Fajardo, Ron Wimberly and Ngozi Ukazu, Bernard noted, as well as sessions with storytellers such as Roz Chast, Jules Feiffer, Dash Shaw, Liv Strömquist and Carol Tyler. (Disclosure: I will moderate the Feiffer spotlight.)
The cartoonist Derf will be a featured guest, and the recent film based on his graphic memoir “My Friend Dahmer” will screen.
The event’s many panels will include “Family, Memory and Trauma,” “Feminist Futurism & Fantasy,” “Queer Romance,” “Teen Latinx Memoir,” “Trans Memoir” and “Writing About Bipolar.”
SPX will take place at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Convention Center, along with the annual Ignatz Awards.