Sunday, April 17, 2011

MOCCA 2011

MOCCA 2011: "

Well, MOCCA’s over, and, as always, it was a lot of fun. It’s a great chance to see and hang out with really nice, really talented and funny people who you don’t see most of the year and to meet new folks. This year, Tapir Tooth lucked out with the placement fairy and tabled between the NERD comics table (Bree, Ami, Brian Lam) and Meredith Leich and Liana Finck‘s table. On Sunday, we were thrilled to share table space with the wonderful DARWIN CARMICHAEL IS GOING TO HELL webcomics people, Sophie and Jenn. Kenan was a few tables down – he’s got a lovely print of “cohabiting with a food blogger“.

After set up, Saturday morning:

Alexander Rothman & Peter Quach

Meredith & Liana

Ami, Bree & Brian (NERD comics)

Me, Peter, Sophie and a certain lovable manticore

Every year we try to draw comparisons with previous MOCCA’s, and this year everything ran smoothly — we might be wrong, but it felt like everything was less crowded together. Possibly there were less tables and therefore more aisle space? I’m glad they got rid of the circular tables from last year. Did anyone think the publishers had smaller tables than they used to? Registration was easy, setup was easy. Overall, a really pleasant experience.

Again, it’s striking how easy and nice it is to meet people at MOCCA. I think it’s even easier at SPX, but at various times this weekend, I talked with people as we stood in line (trying to get Kate Beaton’s book before it sold out). Kate Beaton is very nice – she drew little portraits in each of the books she sold and chatted with us. It’s a clear indication of how talented she is that she drew such a huge crowd. It’s an even clearer marker of how nice she is that everyone on line was absolutely thrilled and charmed to meet her.

Me: “Did you notice that the north side of the building smells like freshly showered person and the south side smells like lunch?” Peter: “well, we’re in the middle, so we must smell like freshly showered lunch.”

Some more pictures:

Miriam with her new Centaur-a-Day book. This shall be known as “Centaur-Face”

Alex and Jen (Run Lil Jared)

The high points of MOCCA – talking to everyone. The freakish low point was when an old woman in a blue shirt tried to steal some of Miriam’s Centaur books. Peter saw her sweep two books into her enormous bag. When Miriam pointedly asked her if she was interested in them, she put them back and left. Anyone else missing any comics?

Mornings at MOCCA are my favorite —- there’s enough space to walk around and see things before the crowds show up, you can chat with other tables, go on a coffee run, see a bit of the Armory – there’s a framed Regimental Tie (unless it’s been taken down), the floor looks like a roosevelt-era installation, there’s a plaque for “The Rainbowers” (WWII group of soldiers, I want to know the story behind that), a memorial for fallen soldiers from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars behind the exterior drape curtains. Surely lots of other people have commented on the wall to wall murals in the downstairs panel room with scenes of famous American battles. If you visited the ladies room, you probably stood on line next to that glass cabinet with artifacts from September 11th in it —- last year was the first year I saw it, and it was jarring. I haven’t seen those Missing posters since 2001, and it makes you think about the places these parts of our world occupy in the spaces around us. Or don’t.

This mister is the creator of this book:

which is freaking fantastic. Joseph Lambert is incredible.

There seemed to be more costumes this year than last year (although the overwhelming majority didn’t cosplay). One awesome kid came in full Naruto gear. There was someone with wings. There were lots of clever and interesting T-Shirts and tattoos. A whole bunch of wonderful children were there too. There were the Danish and Norwegian (?) cartoonists, on the north wall. There was an enormous, tall, extremely muscular bald man with an eye patch walking around (who was he???). Maggie Siegel-Berele stopped by and chatted – love her comics! We’d gotten her comic about a transitioning protagonist and loved it, and this year we got to meet her.

and this doesn’t even include Alexander’s pile, which is twice as big. A friend pointed out that our group’s business model seems to be a bunch of not-rich comics makers giving each other all their money. Ah, well. In our case it was spending more than the money we made. Same as every convention. But look at the comics!

Still going through everything, but so far, been absolutely loving AGNES QUILL, and sincerely hoping there are more stories to devour. Meredith Leich’s comic THE DISAPPOINTMENT OF KNOWING NEW YORK was subtle and beautiful. Tom Motley’s TRAGIC STRIPS are darkly hilarious, especially the part where the cartoonist as a spiderman reverts to regular cartoonist form, from inside a dog. On a wall. It’s hysterical. I loved ROM by Josh Bayer. I love the art in THE MAN OF GLASS. DEAR CREATURE(Tor), ANYA’S GHOST(:01), the new TRUE SWAMP book and ASTRONAUT ACADEMY aren’t available until the summer/fall, but I’m really looking forward to them.

The whole thing was big, happy, and exhausting and made us more eager than ever to make more comics.

We really can’t wait ’till SPX. Thanks so much everyone who came by the Tapir Tooth booth and kept us company! Thank you to everyone we chatted with for being so warm and receptive!


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