On Saturday we broke the news that the MoCCA Festival in New York and Stumptown in Portland, OR would share the same dates, April 28-29, as MoCCA had finalized their dates for the same weekend. Since then, all the participants have spoken out regarding the unfortunate timing.

MoCCA museum director Jack Walsh has just released a statement:

Next year our 2012 MoCCA Fest will fall on April 28-29, which of course also falls on the same weekend as Stumptown Comics Fest. For the last decade, both festivals have provided the opportunity to annually spotlight independent talent and alternative press exhibitors, with increasing success.

As many who have organized events can attest, it can be a difficult thing to get a venue in New York, or anywhere else, for that matter. I speak from personal experience, having coordinated the MoCCA Fest for the last two years from a volunteer capacity before signing on to the museum full-time. Ultimately, we needed to shift from our original tentative dates for MoCCA Fest 2012 to make it most attainable for our exhibitors and attendees. Was the change in dates unexpected? Definitely. Was it deliberately planned that way? Definitely not. Please keep in mind that even towards the very end of our negotiations, we still felt we would be able to keep our initial planned dates.

It is not, not would it ever be our intention to create a conflict of show dates, which benefits no one. Going forward, it is MoCCA’s intention to work directly with Stumptown to jointly address any questions that may arise from the overlap. You may be surprised with the solutions two coasts can come up with. 

We do apologize if this puts a wrench into anyone’s plans to tour, exhibit, or attend both conventions– and we will work to address anyone’s concerns. To echo Indigo Kelleigh, unfortunate scheduling will not impact the quality of our Fest; you will still be able to expect great exhibitors, programming and attendance all weekend.

We look forward to seeing another banner year for both the MoCCA Fest and Stumptown Comic Fest next year, and thank you all for your support!

Stumptown director Indigo Kelleigh released a statement earlier in the week:

I just wanted to state for the record, that I know the difficulties in arranging for a venue for an event of this size, and more often than not our own final dates are dictated by the venue’s availability moreso than our desired schedule. I can’t assign any malice to this announcement on the part of the MoCCA organizers, and I hope nobody else does, either.

I do believe that there’s plenty of talent on both coasts, and further that this move will not harm either of the shows in the short term. For a show like Stumptown, which has only seen increased demand year after year, even last year in our move to a much larger exhibit space, I don’t believe this unfortunate scheduling will impact the quality of our Comics Fest in the slightest.

It is going to be a challenge for small press exhibitors, and obviously many will need to choose at which of the two shows to exhibit. Having two shows on the same weekend obviously removes one of them from many exhibitor’s schedules, and for those who rely on the convention circuit for income and promotional opportunities, this will clearly have an impact on their bottom line. To that end, we’re looking forward to working with the organizers of the MoCCA Art Fest to find ways to minimize that impact.

As both Walsh and Kelleigh indicate, in reality, only a handful of exhibitors could afford to attend both shows, no matter what week they were scheduled. (TCAF in Toronto is the very next week as well which either spreads out the cost of a tour or adds up, depending on who you ask.) We reached out to a few of the most prominent indy publishers for their reactions to the date overlap:

Peggy Burns, D&Q: “As we do not exhibit at Stumptown, we are less concerned with overlap of the dates, though Mocca’s one week proximity to our second biggest show of the year, TCAF, does have potential to cause some scheduling glitches for us, though it could also work out well for us with travelling artists. We have yet to look into it, as we feel that San Diego was just yesterday.”

Chris Staros, Top Shelf: “Yes, we’d do our best to exhibit at both, and since we have 1/2 the staff in Portland, some would stay back to do that, and the rest would head up to NY with me for MoCCA.”

Top Shelf is in a unique position, as co-publisher Brett Warnock is located in Portland, while Atlanta-based Staros does most of the East Coast shows.

Eric Reynolds, Fantagraphics: “I think it’s unfortunate that MoCCA, which as a nonprofit includes as part of its mission a desire to promote the understanding and appreciation of comic and cartoon art, would schedule it’s festival the same weekend as Stumptown, which carries a similar mission. We are probably one of the few publishers who might actually be able to attend both, given our proximity to Portland, but the bottom line is that MoCCA just made it much more difficult for Stumptown — a show entering a critical stage of its growth — to attract exhibitors. I don’t see how anyone in the alternative press benefits, and I don’t see how Stumptown specifically is anything but adversely affected. I doubt the dates was planned with malice, but it’s still disappointing and unfortunate.”


  1. Be great if they could promote each other this time and create a single big event. Good luck to both.

  2. This is a general shout-out to all who use forums…
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    So far CBR have refused to fire or suspend this disgusting individual.
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    Please in the interests of decency BOYCOTT this forum on CBR until this person is removed.
    Thank you for your time.

  3. That was inappropriate, but hey. Thanks for the laugh, Tangentman (with the assist from Justin).

    Re: MoCCAxStumptown

    Despite my harsh words for MoCCA, I found myself in the ironic position of raising the assumption among friends that this scheduling conflict was likely out of MoCCA’s hands, as they are essentially at the mercy of the venue when it comes to pinning down specific dates.

    I hope that everybody who exhibits at either one of these shows makes a million bucks each.

  4. Here’s a thought for the organizers of MOCCA, Stumptown, and TCAF to all think about: Stop putting the shows all within a month of each other!

    This was in many ways inevitable since the conventions were scheduled so close. Of course one was going to get put on the same weekend as another because, as the organizers said, things get pushed around for various reasons that are not always able to be helped. This has been a tough scenario already for creators and publishers who realistically can’t mobilize for all the shows in such a short period of time.

    If the organizers are going to be talking about things now, here’s a chance for one show to move to February, and maybe another to May or June.

    Communicate, folks! Everyone will win if you do!

  5. Has anyone else actually looked at the INDIE-comics calendar lately? Here are the ones I know about (and not only am I sure I’ve missed some but this list doesn’t even include C2E2 in March, CCI San Diego in July, or NYCC in October, Heroes Con, WonderCon, or the many WizardWorlds and other events where indie creators also exhibit):
    Aug.14 PACC (Philadelphia, PA), http://phillyaltcon.blogspot.com/

    Sept.1 – Pittsburgh Zine Fair (Pittsburgh, PA), http://pghzinefair.com/

    Sept.3-4 – San Francisco Zine Fest (San Francisco, CA), http://www.sfzinefest.org/

    Sept.10-11 – SPX (No. Bethesda, MD), http://www.spxpo.com

    Sept.24 – MICE (Boston, MA), http://www.masscomics.com/

    Oct.1-2 – APE (San Francisco, CA) http://www.comic-con.org/ape/

    Oct.8-9 – PIX (Pittsburgh, PA), http://homepage.mac.com/bem/PIX/index.html

    Oct.15 – OktoberFLUKE (Athens, GA), http://flukeisawesome.blogspot.com/

    Nov.3-6 – King Con (Brooklyn, NY), http://www.kingconbrooklyn.com/

    Nov.5-6 – Minneapolis Indie Xpo (Minneapolis, MN), http://mplsindiexpo.com/

    Nov.26 – Genghis Con (Cleveland, OH), http://thegenghiscon.com/

    Dec.3 – Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival (Brooklyn, NY), http://www.comicsandgraphicsfest.com/

    2012 TBA (March?) – STAPLE (Austin, TX), http://www.staple-austin.org/

    2012 TBA (April?) – FLUKE (Athens, GA), http://flukeisawesome.blogspot.com/

    2012 TBA (April?) – Kazoo! (Guelph, ON), http://www.kazookazoo.ca/?page_id=12

    Apr.21-22 – SPACE (Columbus, OH), http://www.backporchcomics.com/space.html

    Apr.28-29 – MoCCA Festival (New York City), http://www.moccany.org

    Apr.28-29 – Stumptown Comics Fest (Portland, OR), http://stumptowncomics.com/home

    May.5-6 – TCAF (Toronto, ON), http://torontocomics.com/

    2012 TBA (May?) – Maine Comics Art Festival (Portland, ME), http://mecaf.blogspot.com/

    2012 TBA (May?) – Olympia Comics Festival (Olympia, WA), http://olympiacomicsfestival.org/

    2012 TBA (May?) – Pete’s Mini Zine Fest (Brooklyn, NY), http://www.facebook.com/pages/Petes-Mini-Zine-Fest/149465688447210

    You’ll notice, for example, that King Con and MIX overlap in November and – since I haven’t yet seen dates announced for either FLUKE or Kazoo, next April could easily get even more crowded than it already is (especially when you consider that few organizers will want to schedule events for April 7-8 because it is Passover/Easter weekend).

    I think it’s great that there are so many indie-focused comics events (and more comics events in general) happening all over North America but that means scheduling conflicts are inevitable. MoCCA has already ruled out holding its Fest at the Armory in summer months and northern organizers generally shy away from winter months so that really jams things up in spring and fall.


  6. And I don’t mean my previous post to sound confrontational. My rhetorical question was not aimed at Jim or anyone else. I actually tried to post this list last night but I think trying to embed links for all the events caused it to bounce and I had to re-write it hastily this morning.

    Bottom line: there are lots of great comics events and I hope people will attend and support as many as they can. I’ll be exhibiting at ComiCONN, SPX, MICE and NYCC over the next few months so I’ll put in an extra plug here for those.

  7. Ken — your post seemed only helpful and supportive of the indie comic community, helping to spread the word about the shows, including many lesser known ones. Thanks.

  8. There are two scheduling conflicts: location and dates.

    If heating and air-conditioning are a concern, perhaps MoCCA should move to a hotel, like SPX. Or partner with a university or private school, like Kids’ Comic Con does in the Bronx, or the show in Hawthorne High School in New Jersey.

  9. Mod-love! Thanks for editing the links back into my list! Here are a few more (:

    Chicago Zine Fest in March (chicagozinefest.org)
    Chicago Alt Comics Expo in June (cakechicago.com)
    Portland Zine Symposium (pdxzines.com)

    I hope this info helps folks find, attend and exhibit at events.

  10. MoCCA and Stumptown should each devote a booth to the other show. Sell some sample books from publishers at the other event. Plop down an iMac with a live webcam pointed into the other convention hall. Make it like there’s a sort of portal to the other show and they’re just east-west wings of the same continuum.

  11. You’re so interesting! I do not suppose I’ve truly read something like this before. So wonderful to find someone with some original thoughts on this subject. Really.. thank you for starting this up. This site is one thing that’s needed on the internet, someone with a little originality!

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