The Alternative Press Expo, formerly a one-day event in San Jose, is now a two-day event in San Francisco in February. Although small, it's one of the most interesting conventions, and fills a sort of dry spell on the opposite end of the summer convention season. Despite the somewhat misleading name, the emphasis is on small-press and self-published comics--although a few zines do sneak in here and there. In 2001, there were over 2,700 people in attendance despite icky weather (I got a nasty cold afterwards). Programming was relatively little, but of very high quality, including a session with Terry Moore, panels on self-publishing (how-tos, what it's like in Japan, etc) and comics on the Internet (which included Scott McCloud).

APE (pronounced "ape") is currently held at Fort Mason and is sponsored by San Diego Comic-Con. Lively and laid-back, it's a great con for fun (to the fans) and networking (for creators).

http://www.comic-con.org/Pages3/ape.html

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