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This weekend, Benton, Haspiel, Kushner and Josh Neufeld, who joined HANG Dai last year, premiere new comics at MoCCA Fest 2015 [at Table 314]. To mark the occasion, I conducted a brief Q&A with each creator, in which they share what makes MoCCA such a great show.
No one is happier about it than Kushner, particularly as MoCCA 2014 was the last show he attended before his diagnosis with myeloid acute leukemia. So, much to everyone’s delight, MoCCA 2015 heralds Kushner’s return to comics.
This week writer and photojournalist Seth Kushner launched the Kickstarter for Schmuck, his semi-autobio/anthology graphic novel about his quest to find love in New York City. While portions of the collection originally ran online at TripCity.net, even those aspects will be remastered and/or colored for the 168-page trade paperback.
This collection, which features the work of 22 artists, also marks the inaugural release of HANG DAI Editions. The HANG DAI imprint, which was founded in New York City by Gregory Benton, Dean Haspiel, Josh Neufeld and Kushner, focuses on “limited edition comix, graphic novels, and art books, with an emphasis on personal interaction at events, conventions, and signings”.
New York-based cartoonist Gregory Benton has had a whirlwind of a year, with his self-published graphic novel B+F winning the 2013 MoCCA Award of Excellence and getting picked up for a joint French/English publication.
However, the ideas for what became B+F were created in the middle of Benton losing almost everything. The characters of B+F (“B” is the yellow dog and “F” is the woman) were first dreamed up by him in the aftermath of a massive storm in 2011 that flooded his studio, washing away years of his most precious art. That very real conflict of man versus nature lit a fire in Benton, leading him to doodle those two characters.
Fast-forward to today and Benton is back on top, with AdHouse Books and Éditions çà et là partnering to publish the mostly worldless graphic novel with its scheduled premiere in a matter of days.
B+F follows the titular dog and human as they trek across an otherworldly landscape of mountains, monsters, and fiery fauna. B and F face many obstacles, and find unique ways to overcome them — even sometimes involving dying and being reborn.
ROBOT 6 spoke with Benton about the unique path B+F took to creation, and how he won MoCCA’s Award of Excellence but was too busy printing the book to attend the awards ceremony.
Last weekend I went to Comic Arts Brooklyn. I bought a lot of comics. Here are six that I think are really good, and I think you should try to find as well.
I walked into MoCCA Arts Fest a few minutes after it opened, with my friend Erica Friedman, and we noticed the difference right away: The last two shows have had an improvised, “Let’s have a comics show! We can use my father’s barn!” kind of feeling. They weren’t disorganized, exactly, and the talent has always been top-notch, but the show floor felt crowded, cluttered, and confusing.
This was the first year that the Society of Illustrators was running the event. Organizers had a lot to prove, and they proved it. The show felt professional. The aisles were wider. A very simple addition — a bright red backdrop that ran behind the tables — made a huge difference, giving visitors more focus and eliminating the distraction of looking out across that cavernous space. The red curtains also set off a small gallery at the back of the armory that featured original comics art from the Society’s collection, a gentle reminder that they have been welcoming comics creators for more than 100 years. Visitors could buy a slick, nicely produced catalog for $5, and there was a modest cafe downstairs, a pleasant addition that allowed friends who met at the show to sit down and have a bite and a chat without disrupting the experience too much.