Friday, June 12, 2009
Better late than never my take on this years MoCCA:
From the 2nd year of MoCCA's existence, I have been to each MoCCA festival without fail. Some I have gone only one day and many for both days. I look forward to it each year. There is nothing like it to me and am glad to see it grow so much.
However,(there is always an however) this year is was a different beast. I found the Armory location not to work as well as the Puck building. Just the look of the place didn't visually work with the spirit of indie comix. Then there was the real hands on problems.Waiting for more than hour outside well after the event started.Waiting near some dog crap and watching many people step in it and doing crazy jumps to miss it.Once they were letting people in the line did move.I forgot to buy tickets online and this time I was glad because it would have been a wasted effort since you had to wait an hour plus anyways.They charged me the wrong price for 2 days for 2 people and gave me no tickets.It wasn't until we were inside the place and had another problem that my girlfriend asked how are we going to get in tomorrow with no tickets??
I did pay with credit card (which they were not happy about) so I could show some paperwork. I had to see 3 people before someone could help me and he did tell me they charged me too little but gave me the tickets anyways. It was very nice of him. But the other problem we had which led to this was trying to buy a t-shirt.Every year my girlfriend Kara buys a t-shirt with the new MoCCA poster art on the shirt. Not this year,they were not for sale. That took some time to find out. Even the staffers were shocked to find this out. They had them under the table but would not sell them because they were afraid that people would start to wear them and be mistaken for the staff. Didn't make sense to us or the 2 people behind the table since they had to wear bracelets to work the show.One person told us that she gets people to pay the extra $5 with the shirt to become or renew membership in past years that she couldn't believe they were not selling the shirts. Just throwing away the chance for memberships?? The other guy was so sure it was a misunderstanding that he told us to wait and he would throw in a poster from a past year into the deal.Which was nice since we were planning on buying a set. After waiting some time we found out that they were not for sale,period. We left and one guy said to check tomorrow and see if things changed. This was our first attempt at buying something at this years MoCCA and not a good start for this event .There was a weird smell of damp wood and looking down I guess it had to be the wood floor and the rising heat.I thought to myself that it will get hot quick here and it did.
We walked around and could tell that some the folks were not even set up. Fantagraphics tables was a mess and I felt really bad for them. They were scrambling to get things out and had 2 artists at the tables for signings and deal with the public. Jason was there and he signed a copy of Low Moon and did a great drawing inside. So that made things better right away. It was great to see many of the new books from Fantagraphics.The Abstract Comics collection looked very nice. The 2nd Fletcher Hanks collection,Sam's Strips,Luba HC (drop dead nice),Blazing Combat,Prince Valiant,Brinkley Girls,3rd James Flora collection,New Peter Bagge collection,Michael Kupperman's new book,Carol Tyler's new one and more.Jordan Crane's Uptight # 3 has one of the nicest covers of the year.Also,Richard Sala's Delphine # 1-4 were all there. I believe that is the complete run of that series and it looks so nice and rich with those brown tones. I wish I knew if they plan on collecting anything from that line. They are nice looking issues and the production is very high.
Drawn and Quarterly looked busy right from the start. Seth and Adrian Tomine seem to have a steady line. Same with Gabrielle Bell. Whenever I walked by their tables it was busy. It was great to see the activity. They had the latest Moomin book,Seth's book (which I read and loved so much),Melvin Monster,A Drifting Life (a masterpiece for sure),32 Stories,Doug Wright,Prayer Requested,Gabrielle Bell's new one and more.
It was great to see the Bries table there and look for new books. The standout for me was Red Riding Hood Redux by Nora Krug.5 small books in color telling the classic tale from the viewpoint of 5 different characters. The artwork is charming and look forward to reading it,from what I saw it looks wordless and all 5 books held together with a rubberband with title/author/publisher listed and it was done by hand!! Nora Krug was very nice and saw that on Sunday she was sold out of the book. I also bought a small book of drawings by Dupuy/Berberian. I wish more of their work was translated into english. They had a copy of an artbook by Joe's Bar co-creator Jose Munoz that was very nice but expensive.
The other great thrill was to see someone have Hunt Emerson work for sale.I picked up a copy of The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner in HC. It doesn't seem like his work gets much play in the USA and that is a shame. He is so good and funny. Lady Chatterley's Lover was and is one of my favorite novels made into comix.
Next we went to the Buenaventura Press table and saw Jack Survives creator Jerry Moriarty and he seemed busy with fans too. I finally decided to get as many Tom Gauld items as I could get and afford. I got Three Very Small Comics Vol. 2,3,Robot Monsters ETC.,and The Gigantic Robot. Little did I know the guy I was handing the books to pay was Tom Gauld himself. I keep hoping someone will do a nice collection of his comix and drawings.
I was glad to see Kevin Cannon there selling copies of the new edition of Far Arden.It looks very nice but I bought the first edition and I like that size and edition too.I did buy 3 mini-comix from him:Time Travel,Sloth Force Seven (Kevin gave me this one for free,Thanks Kevin!!) and Victoria. People should check out Far Arden.There is such energy in that graphic novel and the artwork fits well with the story.A perfect match.
The highlight on Sunday was picking up Kazimir Strzepek's The Morning Star Volume 1 and 2. Kazimir signed and did a drawing in both books.He was very nice and was busy both days and felt lucky I got to him when I did on Sunday with no waiting.
I did try the MoCCA tables again to get the new shirt but no luck so I got a set of the posters. I was disappointed to see that advance copies of Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli was sold out and only had coasters for the book to hand out and he was at the table and did sign them too. They could have sold so many more copies but they said they were on a boat making it to the USA. I didn't know when the advance copies went on sale,maybe the MoCCA site had the information but I find the site hard to figure out. I ran into my old friend Mitch Cohn and we talked some about comics and this being his first MoCCA and he really needed water due to the heat but both machines that sold bottled water were empty and didn't see anyone selling bottles of water.Maybe we missed them if they were there. I left soon after the Mazzucchelli disappointment and was really glad because it was too hot.
I plan on going next year but really hope they make some big changes so this will be a better event.MoCCA really needs to face up to the problems they have and to fix them.