Fans of small press comics and cool cartooning rejoice – the ShortBox Comics Fair has returned for 2023. Organised by ShortBox publisher and ex-comics critic Zainab Akhtar, the digital comics fair is an annual event that has gotten bigger and better every year. It’s become a fantastic outlet for cartoonists of various backgrounds, creating exciting and varied work.
So how does it work? Unlike traditional comic fairs, like SPX or Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, the ShortBox Comics Fair isn’t tied to any geographic location. Instead, it lives online for the whole month of October. Anyone can jump onto the ShortBox Comics Fair website between 1st-31st October and discover fantastic comics from a broad range of exhibitors worldwide. No travelling or waiting in line is necessary. Each comic can be purchased for a price nominated by the exhibitor and downloaded as a PDF to read how you want.
Over 100 exhibitors will be participating in this year’s fair, debuting original comics not found anywhere else. Just like in previous years, it’s another eclectic selection of voices, styles, and backgrounds featured. Expect to see personal memoirs, imaginative fantasy, creepy horror, LGBTQI+ narratives, and heaps more. Get a taste of what will be available at the ShortBox Comics Fair on the official Twitter and Instagram and by browsing the list of participating cartoonists.
Exhibiting artists retain full rights and ownership of their comics and receive 100% of the sales after the payment processing fees. As a result, ShortBox Comics Fair is an excellent way to support independent artists and their work. It’s also a fantastic way to expand your reading, checking out different styles of stories you might not usually and discovering new artists.
Zainab Akhtar has been running ShortBox since 2016, where it began as a quarterly mail-order box of unique comics. Working with established and up-and-coming cartoonists, the publisher has evolved to distribute and fund a range of high-quality and beautiful comics.
I wouldn’t sleep on this if I were you. ShortBox Comics Fair is only running from October 1st to 31st. If you miss out, you’ll have to wait until next year.