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.
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.