Fast MoCCA thoughts

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Mazzuchelli Fast MoCCA thoughts
My MoCCA report for PW is here, but I’m sure I had a lot of other things to say about it before I got sick. It was, as always, a week crammed with socializing and events — jeebus, how many fantastic cartoonists can there be in one city, anyway? Thursday night I got to hang out with D&Q’s Peggy Burns, maestra of all she surveys; she introduced me to Dirk of Reprodukt, the German alternative publisher. German comics remain pretty much a mystery to me and many others — It’s hard to think of many German cartoonists who have made a mark on the world comics stage, although that is changing quickly; Dirk mentioned Reinhard Kleist as someone who had gained star status, and certainly there are more waiting in the wings of a scene waiting to develop.

Friday, I went to the Second Annual Drink & Draw Like A Lady Event which was awesome. It wasn’t awesome because it was just ladies, or because so many of them were fabulous — it was just a great comics gathering of artists, writers, editors, journalists and other talented people, who JUST HAPPENED to be women. The new venue — a Westside bookstore — was a bit small for all the guests, but had the right ambiance. Kelly Thompson from She Has No Head had a fine write-up of the whole event:

It’s not a bad thing to get women with the same interests together and show them how many others like them are out there…and that whole message would have been lost in a mixed gender party. It still would have been an awesome event with men and women…but the message, the point, the focus, and mostly the results I think, would have been different. I don’t think I would have seen the same confidence, especially in some of those young students if the party had been a mix of men and women, instead many students and newcomers walked away with a real sense of built-in community. A place where they couldn’t have been more included, as opposed to excluded, which is how comics can often feel for women.


I know there were a bunch of other swell parties Friday, but I was trying to conserve my strength.

As I noted on the day, Saturday dawned unseasonably cold, and MoCCA great run of overheating ended. As I noted in my PW piece, there’s still some ennui and unrest about the show, but that really took second place to the usual stellar line-up of comics and cartoonists on display — although there was a notable lack of a consensus “buzz book.” The buzz panel for sure though was the one with Frank Miller, Jaime Hernandez, Kyle Baker, Paul ope and Dean Haspiel. There was a giant line to get in and not everyone made it (I heard one of them was Paul Levitz), prompting Peter Sanderson to quip, “Hall H has come to MoCCA.” I thought superheroes was kinda of an odd topic for an indie comics show, myself, but you could have had those five people talk about donuts and it would have been funny.

There were definitely a lot of people at the show on Saturday, and I personally liked the “lounge area” in the back, but as Daryl Ayo pointed out, it pretty much killed the sales of any tables directly behind them. So something to think about for next year. A lot of people thought there were fewer exhibitors this year, and the waiting list for tables seemed to have been gone through. I heard over and over again that $400 is a lot for a table at an indie comics show — that’s only $50 less than New York Comic-Con, which has a LOT more people.

Anyway Saturday, the official MoCCA party was absolutely jammed, but there were too many great people there not to spend a little time trying to chat. Frank Miller and his girlfriend Kimberly Cox made an appearance; Miller has always been extremely supportive of the indie scene, and it was good to see him back. A lot of people were out at the Comicplex in Brooklyn for a party, and I heard that went well, also.

Sunday was a lot quieter when I arrived soon after opening, but picked up a lot after that. I went to the obligatory “Future of comics panel,” which had a lot too much time taken up by people pimping their print comics. No offense to any of them, but I think we all know that digital comics have been here for over a decade — heck, I was talking to Tracy White about this on the YA panel — so I’m way more interested in how creators and readers are reacting to this change.

I moderated the aforementioned YA panel which featured Hope Larson, Tracy White, Raina Telgemeier, and Jillian Tamaki. The room was packed, as it was for most of the panels, and had a good, engaged lineup and crowd, I thought. On the panel, I learned all about the Del Rey X-men manga spinoffs getting canceled which seems like a total waste, but I guess that’s the way the licensing cookie crumbles.

After the show, a few of us went to a nearby bar with a nice, peaceful garden out back — it was the perfect way to unwind after the show, provided the weather was nice, so all was good.

In sum, MoCCA was a good show, but mostly because New York is the comics capital of the world. The NYC convention scene changes constantly — there are at least five major shows a year now, including MoCCA — and no one can ever rest on their laurels.

PS: I stole this photo of David Mazzucchelli — who was dressed like a “character in a 70’s Joe Simon comic” as someone pointed out to me — from Seth Kushner , whose is building up a pretty impressive body of work. I know I should link to more recaps, but I’ll direct you to Tom’s list of links and call it a day.

OH WAIT, IMPORTANT PS: I met a lot of young cartoonist/indie comics types who read the Beat, and that was super gratifying. Apparently at various courses at both SVA and CCS. students are urged to read this site (and others, like Comics Reporter) and they do. Wow. I’ll try to keep up the work, guys.

Comments

  1. Kenny Cather says:

    Heidi,

    The YA panel you hosted was *excellent*. It was so informative and so interesting. I also went and ordered a bunch of books from all the creators you had on the panel. I’m really anxious for the book How I Made It To 18. That just sounds like a fascinatingly honest book. I thought a lot of what your panel was talking about was fascinating. I really enjoyed hearing everyone’s thoughts on both the response they get from their readers and the challenges in getting new readers.

  2. Torsten Adair says:

    Overall, it was a good show.

    I would like to see more comics represented. I know the vibe is indy, but where are the comic strip syndicates? There’s a lot of old school historical stuff here, but not so much on the floor.

    The lounge… is that what is was? I thought those were freebie tables. The back should have a draped area with seats and tables.

    No crowd control Saturday morning (but there never has been) and the advance ticket line moved slower than the pay now line.

    My book of the show: To Teach by William Ayers. A bit like Understanding Comics.

    And, hey… How many comic-cons have real life superheroes, let alone one held in their headquarters/fort?

  3. Calvin Reid says:

    I had fine time at the show and every publishers I spoke with (except a few) seemed very pleased with the attendance, organization and sales. As always I found work that looked great that I had not seen before, but there does seem to be some sort of malaise over MoCCA although I can’t quite pinpoint the problem.

    The lounge area seemed odd and also suggested that there must be fewer exhibitors. I never actually saw anyone lounging there although I missed most of the day saturday. The costs of MoCCA for exhibitors remains a problem but this is still a jewel of a comics show. One more thing–hopefully Kids Comic Con and MoCCA can find a way to avoid being held on the same weekend. It definitely impacted KCC, which does great work encouraging the love of comics, reading and creating of comics by kids.

  4. Torsten Adair says:

    Regarding the table cost… the show has a concentrated demographic. I spent as much here as I do at NYCC.

    Perhaps MoCCA could reserve tables for first timers at a discount? I saw a few shared tables.

    I think it was unfortunate that Kids Comic Con was scheduled the same Saturday. Any reports from that show?

  5. I thought those lounge tables were freebie tables as well. Not very loungy if you can’t sit and relax. The weather was great though – perfect time to hold the event. Something about the cavernous space holding the indie scene… could just be how the sound is spread out, difficult to focus on the small personal works in front of you.

  6. Oliver Cochrane says:

    “The lounge area seemed odd and also suggested that there must be fewer exhibitors.”

    That was my thought too, especially since that lounge area didn’t appear in the floor plan map in the show booklet. I’d guess that area was a late addition to accomodate some empty space. Setting aside how that lounge area may have affected the tables behind it, I certainly don’t mind a convention ofering a place for folks to take a load off. I might’ve preferred that they have actual chairs and low tables rather than chairless tall cafe tables for leaning, but that’s probably just me being old and nigh-arthritic.

    A minor nitpick, but I was slightly amused by how the table numbering was done. As I recall, in each aisle, the table numbering started on the right side of the aisle (facing the back), ascending as the tables went to the rear of the hall, then picked up with the tables on the opposite side of the aisle, still ascending. Which meant that table A-40 was just across the aisle from table A-1, not far away from it as one might intuitively think from just the numbers. I don’t think this is a big deal for a show like MoCCA–it’s still small enough that walking around if you’re looking for something isn’t that taxing–but, as I said, I was amused with the counterintuitive numbering of the aisles.

  7. As a 2010 exhibitor who also renewed his MoCCA membership this weekend, the price I paid on Sunday (when reneweing for 2011) was $355 for a full table. That’s less than I paid for this year’s table, so I think market forces are working themselves out. I don’t know if that price was just for returning exhibitors, though. Also, the difference in pricing for Members vs. Non-members is greater than the cost of basic membership, so I’d strongly encourage math-challenged exhibitors to become members before signing up.

  8. Kenny Cather says:

    The lounge area was weird. I kinda wish they had used the extra space to make more room between the aisles. It was odd bumping into the same people over and over.

  9. agree, that the show is special because it’s in new york, but what makes this such a great show are the incredible volunteers. over 100 strong i heard! buzz book? our milt gross book flew out the doors and got a lot of love! but, i was especially heartened that new york daily news cited 22 books as their top 22 and yoe books had the distinction of having TWO in the line up… “dan decarlo’s jetta” and “me n’ me: yes we’re twins”, by the savanella sisters. print comics, yes, but along with the great digital things happening, i very much think print–good print–is the future of comics. all: IMHO

  10. Jeffy says:

    You ever feel like the Mocca guys think they’re better than us?

  11. never. every one of them have been nothing but humble, helpful, accommodating, sweet–and big comic fans.

  12. Here is a mini video documentary I made detailing my journey to MoCCA Fest 2010 http://vimeo.com/11002561

    Take a look and see how many familiar faces and favorite indie comics you can spot!

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  1. […] Conventions | Heidi MacDonald posts two reports from last weekend's MoCCA Festival. [Publishers Weekly, The Beat] […]

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