APE, the Alternative Press Expo, started in San Jose in 1994. Founded by Dan Vado of SLG Publishing, the Alternative Press Expo was one of many shows across the United States that year that focused on independent comics. Vado’s vision was to create an event that would spotlight small publishing companies, self-publishers, and creators working in the alternative and independent side of the comics industry. This show also allowed greater interaction between attendees and creators and added fuel to the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) comics movement growing around the world. That first APE tied into a series of like-minded gatherings around the country, coming off the “Spirits of Independence Tour” of Dave Sim, creator of Cerebus, and is one of only two conventions that survived and flourished beyond the first show.
At Vado's suggestion, Comic-Con International became involved with APE in its second year and has been running the show ever since, maintaining the basic concept and feel that Dan Vado created. In 2000, it moved from San Jose to San Francisco, where it has been held ever since. APE continues to be on the forefront of the self-publishing movement. Its latest event featured over 400 exhibitors, including some of the leading independent comics publishers, plus hundreds of creators and self-publishers, and over 5,000 attendees. In addition to its Exhibit Hall, APE features a full programming schedule, special guests, workshops, and the Comic Creator Connection (CCC), a program featured at all three Comic-Con sponsored events. The CCC pairs up aspiring comics writers and artists, in hopes of creating the next great comics collaboration.
Comic-Con International: San Diego:
Comic-Con International: San Diego is a nonprofit educational corporation dedicated to creating awareness of, and appreciation for, comics and related popular artforms, primarily through the presentation of conventions and events that celebrate the historic and ongoing contribution of comics to art and culture.