Monday, May 14, 2012

half a good ship MoCCA: 2012

An inexplicable sea theme for the post? Yes, and? Help me fill in the question marks in the comments.
Salty sailors Kenan Rubenstein and Neil Brideau
Three Armed Squids Kim Ku, Alexandra Beguez and Alden Viguilla. Their tablemate, Estrella Vega, is unpictured because I apparently don't know how to use a camera. I remembered Kim and Alexandra  from the SVA table last year and was happy to see all their new stuff.
Prism Index, editor Jeffery Bowers, handmade paper, music, movies, and a vast collection of conch shells. Jeffery told me that I looked miserable which is always nice to hear.
CCS castaways Denis St. John, Matt Aucoin and ???
Idiot's Books' co-captain Robbi Behr.
Alabaster sails into the storm with The Complete Talamaroo.
The Hic & Hoc table, helmed by Matt Moses. His triton is hidden. Guess where!
Jensine Eckwall, Lily Padula, ????, Lindsey Richter were gracious, for sea witches.
MariNaomi, one of my favorite crew members of The Rumpus, signs my book and makes me feel like a million pirate golds.
Box Brown, with booty from the holds of Retrofit Comics.

Requisite (and terrible) crowd shots:

Because of my looming surgery and general malaise, I wasn't sure that I would make this MoCCA. I was only able to circulate for about two hours. I saw many fewer iPad displays than last year and seemingly more handmade work by youngoes and oldies alike. Along the left wall there was a large group of antipodean folks, under the banner of Caravan of Comics and I popped in long enough to check out Mandy Ord's books and buy her collection, Sensitive Creatures. I wish I had been able to spend more time at the Caravan since meeting authors from other places is one of my main reasons to go to shows. I was happy to pick up two Retrofit comics that came out before my subscription started. By the time I made it all the way to the right of the space, I couldn't afford any Nordic beauty, but it was cool to see the contingent present again this year.

The show felt more attuned to my interests than last year, which meant I spent a ton of money. There seemed to be fewer melting neon faces in the mix but perhaps my rose-colored glasses were acting up. Hooray! But the usual looming question still hung heavy on the day: who is making money at this thing? The price of tables needs to go down and/or the door fee has to go. More attendees and more, and more relaxed, contributors could only make the show better. With a venue like the Armory, walk-ins could be an powerful audience--especially with an extra 15 or so dollars in their pocket. I know that the fest is in fact a benefit for the MoCCA museum, but as I said last year, the high price of doing MoCCA might feel a better value if they actually did a much higher ratio of programming highlighting the small press comics community.
the haul
I also hit up Sean Ford's long-awaited book release party at Bergen Street comics. It was great to see all the CCS folks and other interested parties. When I checked out, the dude asked me if it was my first time "coming out" and I wanted to punch him in the face, but instead I just said "no." Sigh.


kenan said...

I personally would be fine shelling out for the expensive table, even if I couldn't make back the money, if I thought a bazillion new people had seen my comics. But traffic was so light, and spread so thin over so many exhibitors, that MoCCA, while always fun, feels less and less worthwhile as an investment.

I'm struck by three glaring obstacles to higher attendance:

1. The door price. Seriously what the fuck. I understand it's a fundraiser, but the festival is the only thing MoCCA does that most anyone cares about, and I didn't talk to any attendees who felt their money was going to some kind of noble cause.

2. Location. Walk-ins are basically non-existent. You can't see into the armory, and could easily circle the block without knowing it was there. Which no one even does, because it's a worky neighborhood, and thinly populated on weekends.

3. The product. Which is to say, we need to admit that part of our problem is structural. Comics is a participatory scene, and nearly everyone who cares about it wants to be behind a table. People like you, Carrie, who enjoy and consume but don't create self-published comics, are few and far between.

BCGF, while much more limited in scope than MoCCA, seems to have addressed all of these issues. It's super extra free, with a permeable membrane that allows for a social spilling of its attendees onto the sidewalk outside. Because of this, you can't miss it if you're walking by, and it's in a neighborhood conveniently accessible to a lot more of the small number of us who give a crap. And because it's so small and narrowly curated, it enjoys an audience of everyone who couldn't get in to the show.

Anyway, done whining. I'm glad you nabbed "Last of the Real Small Farmers." I love that book.

Sarah said...

A barely related question;
My 8 year old daughter is super into comics (especially ones that riff on Greek or other mythology or take place in space or have magical adventures)...It is hard to find good ones for her (she reads well and I don't mind if the content is a bit older than for 8 year olds)...we tend to get the some ones from the library over and over again or spend time hunting book stores for Star Wars comics...Do you know of any good (ie not Scooby Doo) comics for kids? I am not a comic book person so am not sure where to start....Thanks!

Carrie said...

1. Yes
2. Yes
3. Whatever. The themes in any mini comic are the same as in any other media. It is simply that people need to know that this is another outlet for those stories.

I don't have a huge knowledge base of kid's comics. (Kenan is snickering right now). However, Raina Telgemeier's work is excellent but not fantasy. Check out the Mouse Guard series by David Petersen--it is a beautifully drawn fantasy but might be a little too mature.

Any tryharderlanders want to help?

kenan said...

Aaron Renier's Spiral Bound!
The Marvel Oz adaptations!
The Joann Sfar Sardine books!
Tintin (but, you know, filter these for anachronistic views on race and otherness)!
The Secret Science Alliance by Elanor Davis!

Sarah said...

Awesome. Thanks!