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Conference: SPX 2012

Every year, comic book nerds gather in a hotel in Bethesda like wildebeests at the start of monsoon season. They call their gathering the Small Press Expo. Hundreds of vendors flaunt their wares (graphic novels and graphic tees, mostly), and people talk about things face-to-face that they generally only talk about online. The big draw, however, isn’t being able to buy stuff in person that you already can buy online, but the people who make that stuff (and the panels — don’t forget the panels). This year’s featured guests are alternative comic artist Daniel Clowes (creator of the underrated indie flick “Art School Confidential”), Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez, Chris Ware, Francoise Mouly, and Adrian Tomine, creator of “Optic Nerve.” As for the panels, this year’s must-attend discussions are as follows: Publishing During the Apocalypse and Life After Alternative Comics.

Saturday and Sunday at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Road, Bethesda, Md.


Discussion: A German View of the United States: Deutsche Welle

After a decade of war and the recent attacks on American embassies in Yemen, Egypt and Libya, we have a pretty good idea of how the Middle East and North Africa feel about Americans. But what about Germany? How do the Germans see us? This question may seem slightly less impressive, as we’re not trying to rebuild Germany from scratch with hundreds of billions of dollars borrowed from Germany, but our fates nevertheless are intertwined. If the Eurozone fails, we’ll feel the aftershocks. At the Goethe Institut, Erik Bettermann of German news giant Deutsche Welle will deliver a lecture on the German perception of America and its role as hegemon.

Wednesday at Goethe-Institut, 812 Seventh St. NW

Phone: 202/289-1200