THIS is not your father’s MoCCA. It was better than last year but not all the way there. If it were, we’d be telling you about all the cool stuff we found at MoCCA. There was cool stuff, sure, and we spent too much money (thank you, Lisa Hanawalt for having such beautiful original art). We picked up Eschew 2, got our copies of Bodyworld signed and grabbed all the new stuff at Dongery, too – but we did not find anything at the show.
Simply put, MoCCA is too fucking expensive, for the exhibitors and the fans. We may be publishers, but the point of the show for us, as people who love comics, is to discover new comics. Are there still Minty Lewises, Jamie Tanners or even a Justin DeCarlo or two at MoCCA? Yes, but they sure as hell aren’t there in the same numbers, and if they’re around at all, they’re ganged up to cover the table costs. There’s just no way to make your money back as a cartoonist with a mini. And, no, MoCCA, the exposure isn’t worth it if you need that money – and most cartoonists do need every penny they have.
Attendance was clearly down this year, but we made much more money than we did last year. The people coming to the show at the Armory are coming there to buy comics (and we love you for it), but not to discover comics like the walk-ins of the old Puck Building. If you’re going to limit the audience to the hardcore by the Armory move, then, for the love of Benji, expand the show. It shouldn’t be strictly about D&Q, Fanta, Secret Acres and the publishers above and in-between. Nor should it be for people with their character platform multi-media crap and huge banners in comic sans fonts and Photoshop gradients, hoping Disney’ll notice and not giving a shit how much money they lose.
MoCCA ought to take a page from the new guy, BCGF. Let people in free, or cheap at least. Consider who gets table space. Have a sliding scale. Pantheon can pay $500 a table, no problem, but make a section for the little guys. And not the crappy little guys, either. Invite folks. Turn some others down. Make it an arts festival proper.
So. If you’re making minis and they are good, send them to us. We will probably agree that they are good and maybe we can sell them on our site and put them on our MoCCA 2011 table. And, maybe next year, if you’re around, we can get you a little table time at our place. If we can’t discover you at the show, maybe we can give other people a chance to do so and maybe it’ll be a little more fun, a little more MoCCA, for everyone.
We’re deeply grateful to all the people who came to our table. We’re very proud of Curio Cabinet and all of you who picked it up at the show have probably figured out why by now. We couldn’t help but beam at the all the folks who came by to congratulate our man Ken Dahl on his Eisner nom for Monsters. You can’t imagine how much encouragement we take from folks telling us that they like our books. This is a new thing for Secret Acres, to have actual fans of the house. It’s enough to keep us publishing and keep us coming back for more. We can whine, yes, but an even better MoCCA depends less on the museum folks and more on all of us behind the tables and walking the aisles.
Leon and Barry
@826CHI Back at you. We love what you're doing. It would be fun to work on something together one of these days.
- Thursday Apr 17 - 5:33pm
Hello! Are you in New Jersey or have you escaped? If you are still in Jersey or anywhere near it, you ought to stop by the Asbury Park Comic Con, which is right along the historic boardwalk, which is the site of some terrible goings on in Brendan Leach's Iron Bound. Of course, Brendan will be there, and we promise it's much safer than you would think after reading his book. If you don't have a copy of Iron Bound handy, you can pick one up from Brendan at the show. If you do have a copy, you might want to wait to read it until after the show. You can still play pinball at the Silver Ball Museum, though. Even more ridiculous, Jersey boy Mike Dawson is crashing the party. He's back living in Jersey now, but his latest book, Angie Bongiolatti, is all about life in New York post 9/11. His other books, Troop 142 and Freddie & Me will give you all the non-scary Jersey you need. Get over there and get some comics and take a little stroll along the beach, where the "Jedi" play "Tatoine," as the kids say. We actually saw that last year. It was HILARIOUS.
HEY! Are you in Portlandia or something? Because Edie Fake is in Portland, Oregon, doing some Linework. Linework NW, kinda like Edie himself, is blurring the line between comics, fine art and illustration work. They have Jim Woodring and Michael Deforge and some pretty killer events planned for the show, including an evening of Edie at the legendary Floating World Comics. We'd tell you what Edie is doing there, but the Lineworkers say it best, "Fake will be giving a short and colorful experimental lecture on the sexuality of patterns that weaves together fabric, the tarot, the concept of individuality and jeggings." Yes, sexy fabric and jeggings. Now you have to go! Read all about it here...
Hi! Are you in Ohio someplace? Because Sean Ford is in Columbus, Ohio, aka SPACE, the Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo. Sean's got the brand new edition of Only Skin and a brand new issue of Shadow Hills, which is the third of that series (!). There's lots of fun programming, but you can also double dip and go check out the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum right next door. It's probably the largest collection of comics anywhere and, in conjunction with the SPACE Jam (that's a thing), they're opening up the Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes, duh) and Richard Thompson (Cul de Sac, duh) exhibits, too! Now that's worth the trip. Make sure you get Sean to sketch your books out. That guy acts like every day is Angouleme. Deets at the link!
Well, well, well! It's Paste Magazine's Hillary Brown on Mike Dawson's Angie Bongiolatti, which is a lot of names. It's also a very thoughtful review. Angie Bongiolatti is indeed a macro, holistic view of a group of people at a particular moment. The book is not so much about the people themselves, but more a book of ideas. That ain't easy. Hillary is too smart to take the bait on the politics of Angie Bongiolatti, of course. As she writes, it's a story of ideals and idealization, and how they distort our view of some very flawed thinking and very flawed people. Hillary is one of the best critics out there, so stop reading this and go read her. Go on...
And we're back on our Scuttlebutt blog with a rundown of all things MoCCA. Even as steering committee members, we were skeptical that a year's worth of planning would make much difference between last year's show and this one, but it turns out we were wrong, or we were "haters" as the kids like to say. A big balloon, a new layout, a Comics Week worth of events all over New York, some killer programming and a drop in admission prices really brought this show to life. And it WAS dead, Jim. We should have given the Society of Illustrators, and ourselves, a little more credit for learning on the fly. You can also check out the early bird reviews of Angie Bongiolatti and Memory Palaces, AND you can see where everyone is heading next, since both Sean Ford and Edie Fake will be at shows this very weekend, while Mike Dawson and Brendan Leach will be heading back to Asbury Park. We're staying put until TCAF time, but we'll return to warn you about that one and Corinne Mucha and Get Over It! we promise. Thanks, everyone, who came to MoCCA and to the Bureau of General Services - Queer Division and to Bergen Street Comics. We do it all for you!