It's Friday afternoon and that means one thing: Thinking about what's going on this weekend instead of getting any actual work done.

And what are comic book folks thinking about? SPX, naturally.

The world of small press comics is making their way to Bethesda, Md. this weekend for the 2009 Small Press Expo, a convention typically praised for its innovative atmosphere and relative focus on comics as art (as opposed to a pure entertainment cash crop). If you're not going, here's why you should be jealous of those who are:- Gahan Wilson, prolific cartoonist known for, among other things, his Playboy work (which is being released by Fantagraphics this October) is the guest of honor.

- Scads of exhibitor tables mean scads of independent comic artists and cartoonists to meet and discover. This convention puts you directly in front of the artists behind your favorite comics with no retailers allowed -- like a farmer's market for sequential art.

- There are nearly two dozen panels to attend. If you dig convention programming, but hate having to decide between panels with conflicting times, SPX offers a lineup with no overlap, meaning it's possible to catch everything you want to see.

- The Ignatz Awards bring the power to the people. One of the most unique awards in cartooning, The Ignatz Awards, named in honor of "Krazy Kat" creator George Herriman, calls upon a panel of five cartoonists to draft a ballot of nominees, with winners selected by SPX attendees. It's the Teen Choice Awards of indie comics, only awesome and without all the Miley Cyrus.

Sadly, I won't be attending this year, so I expect a full report on Monday. Got it?

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