Staple! Indie Media Expo Brings ‘Em in From Beyond Austin

And from beyond Texas, even – because comics!

      Just a few of the comics of Mittie Paul.
      Just a few of the comics of Mittie Paul.

It’s not just the guests of honor and the bigger indie projects from outside our state making a beeline to The Marchesa this weekend.

Because here’s the 11th annual Staple! spectacle spanning Saturday and Sunday in that popular venue, yes, and so of course there are professionals – privately sponsored or otherwise – coming in from all over the country to present their creations and participate in panels and so on.

[Look: The Chronicle’s Jessi Cape makes note of that by way of introducing her excellent interview with local graphic novelist E. K. Weaver.]

And of course any publishing outfit that produces Staple!-relevant material and can afford to hie themselves hence will be on hand to hawk their inkstained and perforce limited-edition wares. But there are dozens – dozens! – of exhibitors who fall somewhere on the smaller side of the micro-publishing spectrum, who are maybe even solo acts, and a number of them are driving or flying – or, hell, who knows, perhaps teleporting à la Kurt Wagner? – to the expo from places like Oklahoma and Louisiana and … Georgia?

Precisely: Georgia.

Figured it’d be a good idea to provide our readers a bit of a Staple! first-timer’s perspective, to see what brings in a young artist/creator from that far away. And it just so happens that a friend of a friend is a steady producer of self-published, inventively designed comics and graphic albums and illustrations. And she’s never been to Staple! before, never even met the wheeling-and-dealing media mogul they call Uncle Staple. And, although the “Empire State of the South” is where she currently makes her home, now here to promote her own goods-for-sale among the rows and rows of tables in the Marchesa’s bustling main rooms this weekend … ladies and gentlemen, it’s Mittie Paul:

“I’m not entirely sure if I first heard about Staple! through artists I follow on Twitter or from professors in my major,” says Paul. “Either way, I heard a lot about it for a year or so before deciding to attend.”

Austin Chronicle: So what is it about this expo that led you to register and set up a table?

Mittie Paul: There’s a real shortage of indie cons in the South – there’s only one super-tiny one-day con I know of here in Georgia – and I wanted to go to one vaguely near-ish (as near as one could consider Texas) that I’d at least heard about a few times before. Even the bigger, farther-away indie cons like TCAF and SPX are all luck-of-the-draw about exhibitors getting in, so it’s nice to try one that doesn’t have that uncertain application stress! Also, having comic friends who live in Austin that I’d like to see again is a good decision-motivator.

AC: Do you sell your work at other cons around the country?

MP: I do – currently only in the Southeast, though, due to travel costs. A mix between anime cons, comic cons, and small indie mini-comic cons. I’m currently in that weird-to-categorize self-published/webcomic crowd, so I don’t have one particular con type that best suits me.

AC: I understand that you’re currently at the Savannah College of Art & Design?

MP: I am – a few months away from finishing my BFA in Sequential Art!

AC: And what’ll you do after you graduate?

MP: Uh, that is a very good question… Hopefully something in comics! I’d really like to draw a graphic novel or some longer comic work. And of course work on finishing up my webcomic, Timber.

In the meantime, readers: This weekend’s Staple! awaits.

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Staple! Independent Media Expo, Mittie Paul, comics in Austin, zines in Austin, Texas comics scene, Chris Nicholas, Uncle Staple

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