Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

Home > Commentary and Features

Essay: First of Two Essays for Expo 2000
posted December 31, 2000

A comic book cruise, you say?

The thought of doing a benefit cruise featuring comic book luminaries and some of the medium's most dedicated and knowledgeable fans brought the usual reactionary derision. "Is there that much tanning lotion in the entire world?" asked some, while others wondered out loud if eating, drinking, and hassling over souvenir prices were really appropriate ways to raise money for an essential cause.

To that question, let us be perfectly clear. There is no better way for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund to focus on the issue of free speech than by celebrating it. In a week of panels both serious and lighthearted, in days of interaction both playful and professional, and in debates both formal and impromptu, this inaugural "Making the Waves" event should remind each and every participant of the sublime value of our right to self-expression. The pleasure of friendly, enlightened discourse in privileged surroundings is guaranteed only by unflinching advocacy for the rights that make it possible.

As to the curious sight of comic artists and fans on a cruise ship, it seems an incredibly appropriate place one considers the medium's contribution to documenting man's fascination with the sea, from E.C. Segar's Thimble Theatre to Craig Thompson's Chunky Rice. Besides, comics has been gathering the tribes for years -- they're called conventions. This is the convention that moves, stops in various ports-of-call, and offers around-the-clock dining. Making the Waves is the next great step in comics solidarity, a lively and engaging symposium on the issues facing our great medium, with many of the issue-makers close at hand.

Welcome to a seminal event in the next hundred years of the comics medium. And welcome aboard.

I would assume this was published in some form in Expo 2000, the anthology serving the Small Press Expo