The 2016 MoCCA Arts Festival has just announced this year’s Guests of Honor and they are:

Cece Bell, author of the phenomenal middle grade graphic memoir El Deafo (winner of the Newberry Honor and an Eisner Award)
R.O. Blechman, Emmy Award-winning illustrator, animator, cartoonist and author.
Phoebe Gloeckner, whose subversive classic The Diary of a Teenage Girl was recently adapted into a critically acclaimed film of the same name.
Sonny Liew, whose graphic novel The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye was censured by the National Arts Council of Singapore and is forthcoming from Pantheon Books.
Rebecca Sugar, creator of the quietly radical animated cartoon series Steven Universe.

This is a diverse group but also one that offers fresh names in terms of comics shows. I don’t believe Bell, Blechman or Sugar have ever been featured guests at a comics-oriented show before, and Liew and Gloeckner offer very different but equally stunning careers. Blechman, in particular, is a legend of illustration and animation, after having published a graphic novel all the way back in 1953. (Our own Alex Dueben recently interviewed him for The Beat.)

The MoCCA Arts Festival will take place on April 2 – 3rd from 11:00AM – 6:00PM at the new location at Metropolitan West (636 W. 46th St.) with programming mere steps away at Ink48 (653 11th Ave.). Admission will be $5 a day.

Cece Bell
Children’s book author and illustrator Cece Bell attended the College of William and Mary where she studied Art History, and later attended Kent State University, earning a graduate degree in illustration and design. Her colorful, fun and quirky drawings can be found in her best-selling books Rabbit & Robot: The Sleepover, Crankee Doodle, Bug Patrol, Itty Bitty, Bee-Wigged, and the Sock Monkey series. In 2015, Bell received the Newberry Medal Honor for her graphic novel El Deafo, a story based on her own experiences growing up deaf.

R.O. Blechman
R.O. Blechman is a multiple award-winning and influential animator, illustrator, children’s book author, graphic novelist and editorial cartoonist. His many books include the groudbreaking1 953 graphic novel The Juggler of Our Lady and the forthcoming Amadeo & Maladeo: A Musical Duet. His work in animation includes The Soldier’s Tale and unforgettable advertisements for products like Alka Seltzer. He has received multiple recognitions including a Lifetime Achievement Award from The National Cartoonists Society in 2011, was inducted into the Society of Illustrators’ Hall of Fame in 2012. His work has been shown at The Norman Rockwell Museum, The School of Visual Arts, and MoMA.

Phoebe Gloeckner
Phoebe Gloeckner began cartooning after moving to San Francisco in the 1970s, and was greatly influenced by the underground comix movement led by artists including Robert Crumb, Aline Kominksy, Bill Griffith, Diane Noomin, and Terry Zwigoff. Her early work appeared in anthologies including Wimmen’s Comix, Weirdo, and Twisted Sisters. Both her 1998 collection A Child’s Life and Other Stories and the 2002 novel The Diary of a Teenage Girl: An Account in Words and Pictures received notable recognition as well as controversy for its honest portrayal of teenage sexuality with themes of drug use and childhood traumas. The book has been adapted into a theatrical production and a critically acclaimed feature film of the same name. She is the recipient of the 2000 Inkpot Award, received the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008, and is currently the Faculty Fellow at the University of Michigan Institute for the Humanities.

Sonny Liew
Malaysian-born comic artist and illustrator Sonny Liew is best known for his work on Vertigo Comics’ My Faith in Frankie, as well as Marvel Comics’ Sense and Sensibility adaptation. A Singapore native, Liew attended the Victoria School and studied illustration at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2001. His Malinky Robot received a Xeric Award in 2004 and was the winner of the Prix de la Meilleure BD at the Utopiales International SF Festival in Nantes. In 2010, Liew was the recipient of Singapore’s Young Artist Award. His latest book, The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye will be released by Pantheon in March, 2016.

Rebecca Sugar
Animator, composer and director Rebecca Sugar’s groundbreaking career started as a writer and storyboard artist on the animated television series Adventure Time. She later went on to create the Cartoon Network series Steven Universe, and became the first woman to independently create a series for that network. She has received numerous Emmy and Annie Award nominations for her work on both series.
About the Society of Illustrators and the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA)