Maybe I’m getting old… I entered the 69th Regiment Armory around Noon, and shambled out after Six, my feet aching, my shoulders sore, and my knees strangely stiff, even though my tote was not overloaded. Perhaps it was the Gebäudegeist of the armory, making me feel as if I had just completed a forced march of twenty miles.
I methodically worked the outside wall of booths, then zigzagged the islands in the middle of the floor. I finished up that tour of duty a little after Six, and will spend tomorrow at a few panels (if any catch my interest), and doing another circuit, meeting a few cartoonists I missed today, and to leisurely discover some stuff I overlooked today. Here’s what I bought (in no particular order, so check the program guide for locations.
Showman: The Bret Braddock Adventures by David Blumenstein: Volume 1: Crisis Ignored
Sally Quince begins a new job as a Production Manager at Docklands Entertainment, producing children’s television shows. Bret Braddock is the entrepreneurial executive who is also an arrogant idiot. It’s from Australia, a webcomic, and has two volumes collected so far.
Tic Tac Toe Comics by Matt Maden and friends. Take a nine panel grid (the tic tac toe board). One person draws panels with an X theme, the other draws panels with an O theme. The panels must read sequentially as a comic. The panels are placed just like in Tic-Tac-Toe, randomly. The first panel read could be the last panel drawn.
Mr. Madden also showed off a copy of Mastering Comics, the companion volume to Drawing Words and Writing Pictures. He mentioned that Françoise Mouly will be the guest editor for the next Best American Comics anthology. After TCAF, he’ll be the keynote speaker at Sequential SmArt, a conference organized by Dr. Jay Hosler (he of the awesome biology comics) at Juniata College in Pennsylvania May 18th and 19th.
A few booths down, along the wall, I reconnected with Nick Sousanis, currently writing and drawing his doctoral thesis at Columbia University’s Teachers College. Spin Weave and Cut: The Comics of Nick Sousanis: Volume 1: Leaps & Bounds was on sale, collecting various comics produced between 2004 and 2011. There’s a lot of information and ideas presented in these comics, some of it probably more accessible because it is in comics. (His “rabbit” page, available as a sample at his booth, helps explain the metaphors more readily.)
Yeah, I like educational comics. If I can learn something from comics, I will. I don’t even care if it’s something I’m not particularly interested in… I’ll read it anyway, just to discover something new. Which is also the reason I go to shows like MoCCA Fest… I might not be interested in most of the stuff on display, but I’ll probably find something of interest anyway.
Oh, and if the comics are fun? SCORE! If I can use that info to make my life more fun? MVP, baby! So that’s how I felt when I bought Bill Roundy‘s Bar Scrawl comics. He draws comics reviews of bars, and had two collections for sale: Park Slope, and Williamsburg. Now, I don’t venture out to those areas much (Union Hall being the only one I visited, because of Tough Pigs), but I did enjoy the comics, and they all sound like interesting watering holes. He was also selling his 24-hour comic, Pirates Take Manhattan. There’s pirates, trolls, Greek myth, dancing, robots, aliens, monkeys, ninjas, and a happy ending.
Along the back wall were the “cool kids” (just like in school). Jon Chad had lots of copies of Leo Geo and His Miraculous Journey Through the Center of the Earth. I saw this back in January at the ALA conference, and it’s been out for a while, as some young fans stopped by to tell him how much they enjoyed it. Professor Chad (of CCS) also had other publications from the Fizzmont Institute of Rad Science, including a little comic titled “Leo Geo Acquires Ancient Knowledge”. The case is about the size of a wallet, and the comic unfolds as Leo’s adventures unfolds. He also had mega-foldy (as these comics are called) which starts with a simple 8×11 “page” and unfolds into a 16-sheet poster as the final “page”. He’ll have a panel on Sunday at 12:30 titled “CCS Presents: The Expanding Comic Workshop” where he teaches about comics folding.
Nearby I found “Doom Carousel: Issue One” by Zachary Garrett. This is an ecological webcomic, and discusses a variety of topics, such as Wisdom the albatross, Hubbert’s Peak, and Red Sludge.
On a (slightly) lighter note, the Cartoon Crier was available a few tables down. It is truly the book of the show, 36 pages of a variety of comics all about melancholy. The NCS booth also has copies, while supplies last. Of course, who would walk by the CCS table, but Comics Beat colleague jovial Jen Vaughn! She was actually working the Fantagraphics booth up front, and like all good journos, we’ll compare notes tomorrow at the Mad Hatter.
One of the coolest meetings was with Bob Stevenson. He’s a history teacher who had an ashcan of “Journey Into History: Isle of Demons“, an interesting folk tale of Marguerite de La Rocque who was marooned on an island off the coast of Labrador. While that story is fascinating, of greater interest was his collection of underground newspapers and self-published mini-comics from the 1980s. “How to Draw Flies” was particularly interesting, a small comic of fly sketches by some of the greats attending the 1984 San Diego Comic Con (Gary Panter, Jaime Hernandez, Kim Deitch, Rick Geary, Denis Kitchen, Sergio Aragones, Michael T. Gilbert, Scott Shaw!, Phil Yeh, Jane J. Oliver, R.L. Crabb, Kurt Mitchell, Ken Steacy, Brad Constantine, R.C. Williams…) He had early (1982) work by Peter Bagge, copies of Raw, and lots of obscure independent newspapers.
Another non-fiction comic, which is actually funny, is Sci-ence, Volume 0, a collection of comics from Sci-ence.org. Yeah, it helps if you know about Russel’s teapot or Neil Tyson. It’s like if you crossed Penny Arcade with XKCD via Snopes. Yeah, I didn’t know about it until I saw their cool logo crafted from Scandium, Iodine, Neon, and Cerium. (Heh, wouldn’t it be funny if that mixture ended up curing cancer, or being a room-temperature superconductor?) But now, I’ll add it to the stuff I read while I wait for files to compile.
Finally, a fun comic, which I’ll probably read online first, then buy the volumes when my budget allows: Wyliman. But the free mini-comic introduces some interesting characters, it’s all online, so I’ll read it later.
More tomorrow. Did you go? What did you discover?
I’ve been writing for The Beat since July of 2010.
I’ve been reading comics since 1974, collecting since 1984, and spreading the graphic novel gospel since 1994.
I’m a bookseller, a librarian, an amateur scholar, a cool uncle, and a comics evangelist.
Ask me anything!