We Are the Champions

WHOEVER SAID you can’t go home again? MoCCA, or more fully, the Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art Festival, gave us the best homecoming imaginable. Despite our fried nerves, everything went swimmingly from the minute the plane hit the tarmac. Shipping and supply chain issues notwithstanding, (almost) everything arrived on time. This might sound like an odd choice of thing to fry one’s nerves over, but these days, you never know. You know what we couldn’t deliver to MoCCA? Zak Sally, who wisely stuck to health and safety protocols, and stayed put in sunny Minneapolis. We still owe you one, Zak. We owe one to poor, old Barry Matthews (the former other Mr. Secret Acres), who hosted a warehouse worth of our gear for a week. It took an SUV and a willing stepfather to get everything to the lovely Metropolitan Pavilion, but we needed every last bit of what we had. God bless the kind folks at the Society of Illustrators for giving us all the time in the world to set up the day before. As it turned out, the turn out for the first MoCCA of this decade wrapped a line of beautiful, comics-starved people around the block.

 

 

Mercifully, we rolled in with a gang of five, counting Rob Sergel, Sean Ford, Brendan Leach, Adam Griffiths and Glynnis Fawkes, our girl (at the table) next door. Rob brought along the brand-spanking new issue of Eschew, leading us to our favorite stan moment of the show, a visit from Dean Haspiel, showing off his profound knowledge of Rob’s ouvre to his gang. Dino, please continue being our best seller. Brendan stocked us with his latest, the Ignatz Award nominee, “Slum Clearance Symphony” aka Ley Lines no.24. Glynnis pretty much took our stock of Persephone’s Garden away from us, but because she made it, we won’t call her a thief. Adam snuck in some ARC’s of Washington White, which we earmarked for critics and distributor-type people. This stopped absolutely no one from buying them up. The big shocker hit when the Society of Illustrators and the generous people at Wacom dropped some balloons on us, and a purple Best of Show ribbon on Washington White. All this made MoCCA 2022 our best MoCCA ever, in every respect, with enormous crowds, huge sales and flawless organization. We don’t know what the Society and the show organizers got up to these past two years, but MoCCA reminds us of the folks that walked out of lockdown looking ripped.

 

 

More importantly, and perhaps even more fun, we spent damn near as much money as we took home. Our table favorites included the massive Kent State from Derf Backderf, which we admit we’re still reading because it’s a big, fat book, and also beautiful and required reading. Enchanted Lion revived our favorite kid’s book ever, Alastair Reid’s Supposing, with new illustrations from JooHee Yoon, also definitely required reading, but you can’t have it yet, yet another excellent reason to show up for MoCCA. If you like waiting for things, Jordan Crane’s complete Keeping Two will ruin your day since that arrived at MoCCA after what feels like, and probably is, decades since we first read the minis. Ansis Puriņš’s Super! Magic Forest is a keeper, too, and you can read it to kids, but only if they’re very cool kids. Nick Offerman completed his heartbreaking Do Geese See God? with a fourth and final chapter, another stellar MoCCA debut. We picked up, at long last, the Eisner-nominated memoir, the Burning Hotels, which might be even more heartbreaking, so trigger warning on that one. And you guys can stop telling us about Matt Rota. We get it already. Yes, we agree, he’s very good.

 

 

Last time, we promised you would hear more about Gabe Howell, and there’s now an entire page for him on this (still wonky) site. If you scroll all the way back on this blog, you can see that we have been courting Gabe for years and years and now. For us, at least, the most wonderful thing to come out of these comatose two years and change would be Gabe’s debut graphic novel, Forget Me Not. Gabe (via four adorable little girls on the run from a pretty fucking terrifying Death) reels you right into the conflict between visibility and privacy. We share a lot with each other, and even with strangers, even in isolation. We all want to be seen, but the act of observing changes the observed. We promise this book will change you. You won’t have to wait too long for this book, either. Forget Me Not and Gabe himself are coming to the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, live and in person this June. If you missed MoCCA, you have to come TCAF. Those are the rules! We’ll be back here, we promise, before we hit the road. Meantime, thank you, everybody, for a great MoCCA weekend. It’s nice being alive again.

Your Pal,

Leon

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