By Dre Grigoropol
I have always been a fan of the Society of Illustrators. When I found out they were taking the Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art permanently under their wing, I felt positive. After seeing what the museum is like at the SoI compared to its old space I would have to say I like its fit at SoI.
The Friday night before MoCCA Fest was packed with comics-related meetings all throughout New York City. There was the Drink and Draw Like a Lady event, Dash Shaw ‘s book party for New School at Desert Island, Hic and Hoc Publications’s Pre-MoCCA Party with Revival House Press and Space Face Books, and New York’s longest running comix jam House of Twelve was also held that night. It was almost heartbreaking deciding which events to attend!
Photo of DDLL by Marion Vitus
I went to Drink and Draw Like a Lady and I really recommend this event (Ladies only, sorry fellas). It is a great opportunity to meet other women who will be at MoCCA Fest before the show. This annual event is in its fifth year and currently organized by Lucy Knisley. Thoughts on the DDLL event have been blogged by attendees: Alisa Harris (the event flyer’s Illustrator), Marion Vitus, Carey Pietsch, and Johanna Draper Carlson.
Lucy Knisley, Marguerite Dabaie, Heidi MacDonald. Photo by Marion Vitus
Somehow I managed to bounce to the Hic and Hoc Publications, Revival House Press, and Space Face Books pre-MoCCA Party with the Beat’s own one and only Heidi McDonald! I wasn’t sure if it was possible to make it from Midtown to Park Slope and be on time… but somehow it happened. This party was really cool and there were a lot comics-people that could never go to Drink and Draw Like and Lady.
After having a subpar experience tabling at the MoCCA Festival last year, I wasn’t quick to sign up for a table. While spending time at SoI I overheard that they have lot planned changes to the Festival that won’t all have been implemented until 2014. A few weeks before the festival, I thought perhaps tabling wouldn’t be so bad. I asked my friend Kat Fajardo if the table she was sharing with her friends Lindsey Richter and Antonisa Scott would be open to having another person. Although my decision of tabling came rather late, the MoCCA Festival quickly had my info displayed on their list of exhibitors. Ironically, a situation like this was actually a problem for me last year. I also started to notice they were really picking up the extra slack that was hanging around a few weeks before the festival.
When I arrived to the venue The Armory on the first day of the festival, I was pleasantly surprised. The feng sui of the exhibiting room had the energy flowing through out the space. The added red curtains and impressive signage were eye candy. They also brought in an exhibit that had been on display at the museum. It was set up in a very professional manner in a space in the back of the hall. This show included pieces like a page from Brenda Starr Reporter!
Along with the usual lecture room, panels were even held in the hallway above the stairwell. This had a mixed reaction from people I talked to about it though I actually really liked the concept. It was a more in-your-face approach to panels. This is New York City, and that is the kind of attitude you need sometimes to survive here.
Matt Moses of Hic and Hoc Publications and Mack Pauly of Space Face Books in attendance at MoCCA Fest
Saturday evening there was a dinner party for the exhibitors. My hopes were not very high when it came to the food. I’m a vegetarian and most of the time at these functions there is nothing vegetarian to eat. I was expecting to see a bunch of soggy turkey sandwiches sitting there in pyramid fashion. Luckily, there was a lot of food I could eat and I really liked from quinoa, to couscous, salad, roasted asparagus, roasted potatoes, some popular mac and cheese and there were also meatballs and some other non-vegetarian food that other people enjoyed.
At this dinner/after party there were Awards of Excellence were given out to Andrea Tsurumi, Kim Ku, Jane Mai, Gregory Benton, Kenan Rubenstein. Part of their awards will include a solo show at the Society of Illustrators. Congrats!
Sunday was just as nice as Saturday. I think usually more people are in attendance on Saturday at these types of functions, but Sunday was a pretty busy day anyway. I did get a chance to walk around and made sure to stop by the table where indie cartoonists Hazel Reed Newlevant and Robin Enrico held down. I am deeply captivated by Enrico’s comic Jam in the Band. Perfect comics for riot grrrls and music lovers.
Robin Enrico + Hazel Reed Newlevant
This show was one of the last US appearances by the charming Lance Tooks for a while. Lance Tooks is the author and illustrator of the amazing book Narcissa. After a short visit to Alabama, Tooks is heading back to Madrid, Spain very soon. We will miss him in the US, but he’ll be back!
After it all, I went to the Beat’s and Comixology’s after party, which was only two blocks away. There I mingled with fellow Beat writers like Heidi MacDonald, Hannah Means-Shannon, Torsten Adair, and other people in the comics industry like Charles Brownstein, Dean Haspiel and many more.
This was my favorite MoCCA experience ever! I exhibited at the festival in 2012 as well, and attended in 2010, and 2011, but now more than ever I’m looking forward to changes and the future of the MoCCA Fest!
A photo of me at our table on Sunday.
[Dre Grigoropol is an indie cartoonist and blogger. Her work can be viewed at www.dretime.org. Follow her on Twitter at @dretimecomics. Photos via Dre Grigoropol unless otherwise noted. ]