Although my “official” news story about last weekend’s Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival was published in PW Comics Week, I still had some pictures I wanted to put up.
Over all it was an awesome day. Not much more to say. I thought last year, set in a dramatic blizzard, would be hard to top for that special something, but the cheerful, can-do spirit of this show equalled that. Everyone seemed to be finding like-minded souls to share their work. As I said several times, “Who knew so many people liked good comics?”
When I first got to the show floor it was really packed. I overheard some new arrivals saying it was TOO crowded, but they planned to come back in a bit. Indeed, it was at first a bit tough to get to the tables because people were crowding around. Would that all indie shows had such problems.
Jordan Crane and his pretty pretty prints.
Evan Dorkin pretty much summed it up:
I had a terrific time at the BCGF yesterday, the show had a great vibe, a lot of energy, a lot of folks walking in, some off the street unaware the event was taking place until they walked past it. This included a few local cartoonists and comics fans. I ended up bunking with Jim Rugg and his friend Jason Lex for much of the show, which turned out to be fortunate as I sold enough books and crafts to cover Crushy’s follow-up vet visit, more or less. So, thanks to Jim for sharing some table space. And it was great talking comics and movies and art and girls and high school and conventions and industry dirt and doings with Jim and Jason after the event at a local pizza joint. We were still at it on a windy corner for fifteen freezing minutes before we headed off.
The two and a half panels I attended were excellent. Hopefully audio will go up — the ONE problem with the show was that the panels were held in a large room where people were eating and talking, and towards the end of the seating area it was hard to hear, which was frustrating because the programming was so thought provoking. But this wasn’t a deal breaker.
I finally got to meet Annie Koyama and she was really awesome.
The show was INSANELY busy. There were times when you felt you were having a mild panic attack because so many people were wanting to purchase things! Things like the Nobrow. They were very popular. I only had one left ala the cheese. (standing alone). I also saw so many people I hadn’t really seen in a while. But never got to talk to them!
There was indeed a great turnout — I spotted some editors from Marvel and other big companies there. But the vibe was not schmoozy, more collegial.
Evan Dorkin signed with Sammy Harkham while Dan Nadel tried to get his iPhone credit card app to work.
Lynda Barry and Matt Groening hanging out, as they have been doing for 30 years or so. Groening was having a blast, talking to young cartoonists and looking at their work. I’m sure meeting him was a highlight for many but he was just there to enjoy the comics, too.
Look, this show has Gluyas WIlliams mini-comics. Epiphany.
Matt Wiegle and tablemate.
One thing that hasn’t been publicly noted is that the after party drew a HUGE cross section on the exhibitors and attendees. It’s really rare to see so many indie folks gathered at one event, and it was a great night.
There is still some discussion going on over how the exhibitor list was chosen, captured in this Daily Cross Hatch post and comments. A lot of familiar names weigh in. The major complaint is that some prospective exhibitors were led to believe there were openings for tables, when it ended up being cut off quickly. The unfortunate nature of the small show where not everyone can exhibit is that some people feel left out of the party. And that feeling is very understandable — we’ve all been there at some time. Comics are the most INCLUSIONARY artform on earth, indie comics doubly so, so it’s kind of a new feeling. But the curated show — like TCAF and BCGF — is here to stay. I don’t think making BCGF bigger and bigger is better. Squeezing people in is going to get harder. I’ve already heard from some big indie publishers who weren’t there that they are seriously considering coming next year, so the table squeeze will get worse.
Although I’m understanding of the caught feelings over this, I have to say, there was no aspect of “snobbery” or “elitism” at the show itself. Everyone was just hanging around having a good time looking at art that was heartfelt. If the guy who created the Simpsons can just hang out, anyone can. If people who were not selected for the show had come, I have no doubt that they would have felt the same way. The day celebrated comics and the making of them, not any ideology.
New York has (local pride alert) the biggest and most vibrant cartooning community east of the MIssissippi…maybe on earth. Certainly if a boiler had blown up, indie comics would have had a hard time rebuilding. What Bill, Dan and Gabe have done reflects that diversity.
I will pull out one quote from the DCH comment thread, from Gabby Schulz, because it’s the best quote ever:
the next time i want to pay $666 for a chance to sit in a marriott convention room next to that same wall-sized Doctor Ninja/Toupy Doops banner, i know where to send my visa/mastercard.
I stole this picture from Julia Wertz’s Flickr. People readin’ comics. Good show.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.