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MoCCA: Heat, problems, comics


Well, as you may have heard, there were a lot of snafus for the opening day of MoCCA at their new venue. The scheduled 11:00 am start time was pushed back an hour when crucial boxes weren’t delivered on time, and many publishers didn’t have their books. The end time of the show was pushed back an hour and panels also got pushed back, which created more problems when the show ended.

Meanwhile, a HUGE line of people waiting to get in went around the block. Some people we spoke with were not happy that they had to wait in line for an hour in a strong morning sun. Even when they started letting people in at around noon, there was still a very healthy line of folks.

Inside, annoyances were soon forgotten — or at least reduced to talking points — by the large, enthusiastic crowd swarming the battlements in search of new comics treasure.

A few things about the The 69th Regiment Armory:

• It is an actual National Guard Armory — the home of the “Fighting 69th”* , so there were actually a couple of National Guardsmen and jeeps around, along with historical frescoes showing scenes from American history.

• It was built in 1904 and it is HUGE and does not have AC. The gymnasium-like interior was originally used for marshaling and drills, so you can only imagine how hot those people got. Show at the Armory with lots of money to spend (antique shows, fashion shows) often truck in giant AC units, but I imagine that isn’t practical for a non-profit like MoCCA.

And now some points about the show:

• The new space is VERY BIG, almost like a regular old comics convention and not like the boutique coziness of SPX or the old MoCCA. It is great to have everyone all on one floor and the greater variety of exhibitors is definitely a plus.

• There was certainly a big, big crowd at the show on Saturday, but whether they were buying tons of comics is not immediately clear.

• While making lots of money is a surefire way to make people forget their gripes, we heard a LOT of legitimate gripes about the organization of this year’s show, and unhappiness with the Armory (mainly due to the AC situation.)

• Despite that, everyone was having a good time! Comics and friends! What could be better. Kazimir Strzepek’s THE MOURNING STAR #2 and David Mazzucchelli’s ASTERIOS POLYP were the most mentioned buzz books, but the wall of Scandinavian, Danish, and other foreign comics was also a treasure trove of amazing new stuff.

As I write this, it is a beautiful day out, but if you like comics and are nearby, come to MoCCA for some good comics.

And tonight….don’t forget this awesome event. I’ll be there if I can drag my carcass out one more time.

• That’s opposed to the less famous “Non-aggressive 68th.”

  1. It was warm inside, but the vast roof of the Armory helped to keep it more temperate down at floor level that might be expected without air conditioning. It was cooler than the Puck usually is–certainly less hot than last year, although that was an abnormally warm weekend.

    I very much appreciated the all-in-one-big-room setup of the exhibitors: there was no feeling that someone got shoved into an unvisited corner, and the path to cover the entire show was crystal clear: no more backtracking, looping around, or waiting for an elevator to get to another part of the show.

    It also looked like there were more exhibitors this year than before–it might just be that it was all in one room. Will there be official after-the-show figures released on exhibitors attending as well as guests? The show was certainly crowded but never impossible to navigate, although the practice of putting a company’s identification banner hanging from the front of the table is mostly lost when there’s people standing in front of the table. Tables that had standing signs or banner or poles with signage did a great job of “popping out” among the crowd and made it easier to tell who you were looking at.

    Finally, I noticed quite a few empty tables at the show, but I also anecdotally heard that some exhibitors on the waiting list didn’t get an OK to exhibit. Was this just gossip, or…? I’d hate to think that those tables went sitting empty while there were still folks who wanted to exhibit but couldn’t.

    We went home with sore feet and bags of great books, comics and buttons. There’s still work to do with the show as always, but I think this year’s show and venue were great improvements and I’m looking forward to what tweaks MoCCA can make in the coming years.

  2. It was hot, sure, but nothing close to last year’s Puck Building sauna. It was also nice to have the programs and the exhibitors in the same building!

    The programming this year was spectacular, as well. I saw fewer than I would have liked, but Roth/Jaffee, Seth/Tomine, and Panter/Santoro were each worth more than twice the price of admission.

    I know I bought a ton of comics for myself and also have about 6 pages of notes of titles to buy for the library. Worked for me!

  3. John and KAren — I do think you are correct for the most part. MOCCA is great show and one of the important dates on the calendar. With a bit more organization, all problems would be smoothed out.

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