Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
Brigid Alverson will have her own MoCCA report up soon, no doubt, but I thought I’d share my own reminiscences of last weekend’s show, via some pics I took while wandering around the aisles.
One of the themes of this year seemed to be showmanship. There were a lot of people in elaborate costumes, from the Boba Fett accordion player at the entrance to the guy in zombie makeup (of course) to the nattily dressed fellow above. There’s always been a few folks attempting to draw a crowd by putting on a funny hat or two, but never to the extent I saw this year. There was even a guy selling Houdini comics who every so often would attempt to escape from a straightjacket.
That degree of gimmickry gave the show more of a flea market feel than ever before. Of course, most small press shows lean in that direction anyway, but something about the crowded table space (it was hard to tell where one person’s set-up ended and another’s began) and the dressing-up drove home that Saturday’s Market feel even more.
I also notice a lot more iPads this year, mostly being used to showcase sample art from comics being sold. Not sure what if any significance that has but I thought it was an observation worth sharing anyway.
Here’s Gina Gagliano and Calista Brill of First Second. They had a bunch of new books, including the latest Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke, and the Stuart Sutcliffe-focused Baby’s in Black by Arne Bellstorf. Many of the exhibitors I talked to on Saturday seemed to be doing well, selling books and having a generally good time, although no one apart from Fantagraphics seemed to be selling out of stuff.
Rather than rent a table, Sundays anthology editor and Mome contributor Chuck Forsman opted instead to carry around copies of his ongoing minicomic The End of the Fucking World in a toner box, which is an awesome idea. Forsman seemed quite happy to be able to mingle and not be stuck behind a table for once. TEotFW is really great, too.
Here’s Leigh Walton of Top Shelf. Many of the people that stopped by seemed interested in the new Eddie Campbell book The Lovely Horrible Stuff, or Brendan Leach’s The Pterodactyl Hunters, an oversized (but slim) adventure tale with glossy cover but newsprint pages. The unique packaging, along with Leach’s focus on the relationships between the characters in addition to all the dinosaur fighting, made this one of the more notable books at the show.
Here’s the Fantagraphics table, staffed by Kristy Valenti and Jacq Cohen. Cohen said they were quickly selling out of a lot of their debut books, especially the new Jaime Hernandez collection, although everyone I talked to was most excited about the Josh Simmonds horror collection The Furry Trap. One of the highlights of the show for me, by the way, was talking to Valenti, Jog and Matt Seneca about Sonic the Hedgehog comics, among other things.
See what I mean about showmanship? Here’s a guy attempting to paint a picture of the room, while just conveniently selling copies of his own comics next to the canvas. The temptation to stand in front of his line of vision and strike some sort of classical pose was almost overpowering, but I managed to resist it.
Here’s Fanfare/Ponent Mon publisher Stephen Robson, attending MoCCA for the very first time! Robson had copies of the third volume of Summit of the Gods, a Himalayan mountain-climbing epic from Jiro Taniguchi.
Drawn and Quarterly, as represented by Tom Devlin, had two fantastic-looking books available at the show: Fallen Words by Yoshihiro Tatsumi and NonNonBa by Shigeru Mizuki. Devlin actually had some interesting things to say about the difficulties of translating foreign comics that I can’t really sum up here without completely misrepresenting him, but trust me when I say it was thought-provoking.
You know who else had some great books? SelfMadeHero, that’s who. Between the recent David B. book Best of Enemies, the Mariscal-illustrated Chico and Rita and the new Kiki de Montparnasse, they’re quickly becoming a go-to publisher for quality Eurocomics. The marketing director (at right) showed me some special prints David B. did for the different volumes of his Mideast history series Best of Enemies, which will connect to form one large image. Which beats hologram trading cards any day of the week in my book.
And here’s Making Comics co-author Jessica Abel. My daughter was a big fan of their last textbook Drawing Words and Writing Pictures, so I’m curious to see what advice the sequel offers.
And here’s what I bought at the show. I didn’t take a picture of it, but the Scandinavian table in the corner of the room remains one of the best parts of going to MoCCA. I found a copy of a neat oversized comic called Suicide Joe that might easily be my personal pick of the show. Between those tables, SelfMadeHero, and Vertical and Fanfare being there, this year’s MoCCA had a nice international flavor that I think will help it stand out from other small press shows this year.
Here’s another view of my stash. That Red Ketchup book comes from the French Canadian publisher La Pasteque (see what I mean about international flavor?). It’s a hilarious-looking book about an uber-agressive, albino C.I.A. agent and the complete havoc he creates while attempting to do his job. I’m going to need to drag out my French/English dictionary just to be able to read the darned thing, but I think it will be worth it