Hard to believe that MoCCA Art Festival is nine years old. Its creation was a no-brainer, when you think about it: An alternative and independent comics convention was a natural fit for New York City, given the sheer volume of their creators scattered through the boroughs and ‘burbs–Manhattan and Brooklyn in particular–and the city’s general level of interest in the arts. In a way, I’ve come to see it as emblematic of the success of comics in the ’00s, which was a similar story of taking advantage of the talent available and getting it into the hands of an audience ripe for the tapping.
But the show had a pretty heavy hiccup last year. Its move from the much-beloved Puck Building to the 69th Regiment Armory seemed to flummox the organizers, who ended up stuck in traffic with a whole lot of books, leaving exhibitors with nothing to sell well into the initial afternoon and forcing attendees to wait in the sun. Meanwhile, broiling heat turned the venue into something approximating a pottery kiln, making every minute on the floor an endurance test. The MoCCA organization’s original response to complaints was on the lackluster side. Would they fare better the following year?
The answer is yes. For starters: It was cooler inside. Last year’s inferno was still very much on people’s minds–I heard publishers and visitors alike complaining about it, and one writer pointed out that the unpleasant conditions were a surefire way to keep casual fans from walking in the door. So the move to April was a smart one, and the gorgeous spring weather a lucky break, given that the city had hit 90 degrees earlier in the week. It still got a little sweaty in there by the end of each day, but that’s more or less par for the convention course.
Legal | In what some have already dubbed “the next Christopher Handley case,” Wikipedia co-founder Lawrence Sanger has reported Wikimedia Commons to the FBI for “knowingly distributing child pornography” in violation of Section 1466A of the U.S. PROTECT Act. Sanger, who left Wikipedia in 2002 and four years later launched the rival Citizendium, specifically points to entries on pedophilia and lolicon.
Manga collector Christopher Handley was sentenced in February under the same federal statute for possessing “obscene visual representations of the sexual abuse of children and mailing obscene material.” [The Register, Icarus Publishing, Geekosystem]
Business | This profile of Walt Disney Company CEO Robert Iger suggests there’s already friction between Marvel’s Isaac Perlmutter and Disney’s consumer productions division: “Hollywood, familiar with Mr. Perlmutter’s penchant for ruling his roost, has started to whisper: Will he turn into Mr. Iger’s version of Harvey Weinstein, the hard-charging Miramax co-founder who caused Mr. Eisner so many headaches after Disney acquired the little studio?” [The New York Times]
If you’re looking for something to do Saturday night after the MoCCA Art Festival you probably can’t go wrong with the official after-party at the Village Pourhouse (64 Third Avenue at 11th Street), which will feature DJ sets by Paul Pope, Dean Haspiel and Brian Heater. The party kicks off at 7 p.m., and benefits MoCCA.
Heater has the poster, illustrated by Pope and designed by Dark Igloo (you can see the full image here after the break). Pope, meanwhile, offers an observation about the Kirby-inspired art and the work of the King himself: “It’s a subtle visual point, but if you look at the hand in the bottom left circle frame, you’ll see the fingers have 4 digits. It always mystified me how Kirby would draw hands with a 4th digit on the fingers. He had no regard for correct anatomy — and many times no regard for proper physics or mechanics — yet he made drawn things seem to have real solidity and mass.”
We have no complaints about the big publishers bringing in panels and parties, but the best part of MoCCA is seeing new works by emerging or established creators and getting the opportunity to meet them one-on-one. Here are some of the individual creators who will be there: Our own Sean T. Collins will be showing off his David Bowie bio-comic The Side Effects of the Cocaine with co-author Isaac Moylan.
MoCCA is just around the corner—tomorrow, actually—and the cards and letters are still rolling in from folks who plan to be there. Top Shelf is kicking things off tonight with a Swedish Invasion party, and they will be debuting their new lineup of Swedish graphic novels as well as James Kochalka’s SuperF*ckers, Matt Kindt’s Super Spy (vol. 2): The Lost Dossiers, Jeffrey Brown’s Undeleted Scenes, and Dodgem Logic, edited by Alan Moore. Guests will include Alex Robinson and Kevin Cannon.
Legendary comics artist Neal Adams has teamed up with Disney to produce 10 motion comics called “They Spoke Out: American Voices of Protest Against the Holocaust.” According to the New York Times, “each episode will highlight a rarely told story of Americans who helped rescue Jews from the Holocaust and include a mix of animation, traditional comic book art, period photographs and film.”
I went to Kids Comic Con last year and it was amazing. This one event really captures what comics are all about — fun! There were big-name artists there as well as newcomers promoting their first projects, and the room was full of kids who were running around having the time of their lives. The con offers the opportunity to meet creators, take part in a hands-on workshop, or just sit and read and draw some comics; it’s as laid back as anything involving hundreds of kids can possibly be.
This year’s KCC takes place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Bronx Community College in New York. Admission is free for kids, $5 for adults (17 and over), and you don’t have to preregister or stand on line. DC and Archie will be there, as well as Chris Giarrusso, creator of the Mini-Marvels and G-Man: Cape Crisis. The con is organized by Alex Simmons, a writer for Archie Comics, so you know a good time is guaranteed for all.
Indy comics publisher Drawn & Quarterly is bringing Adrian Tomine, Gabrielle Bell, R. Sikoryak and James Sturm to MoCCA, and all four will be doing panels and signings at the D&Q booth; check the publisher’s blog for the schedule.
Dan Nadel sent us that Doug Johnson painting, which he says approximates the vibe at the PictureBox booth. What’s going on? PictureBox will be debuting two books, Charles Willeford’s I Was Looking for a Street and Thurber’s new 1-800 MICE #4, Nadel adds, “There will also be the usual extra special items from everyone from Neal Adams to Anya Davidson. Yes, you read that correctly. Ask nicely and I’ll show you the original pages for Real Deal that will be for sale for the first time.” Frank Santoro will also be there with a massive selection of back issues priced at $3 or less.
In addition, Peter Blegvad will be doing a signing at the booth on Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m.
Nadel will also be debuting his own book, Art in Time: Unknown Comic Book Adventures 1940-1980, at the Abrams booth and will be signing there at 1 pm on Saturday.
Fantagraphics Books will be bringing an impressive roster of creators, including Arnold Roth, Al Jaffee, Gahan Wilson, Dash Shaw, Charles Burns, Jaime Hernandez, and Miss Lasko-Gross. Check their MoCCA post at the Flog blog for the complete schedule of panels and signings.
Fantagraphics will also be be debuting a number of new books at MoCCA, some of which won’t be available in stores until much later this year. Visitors will be able to score copies of Artichoke Tales by Megan Kelso, Best American Comics Criticism, edited by Ben Schwartz, Billy Hazelnuts and the Crazy Bird by Tony Millionaire, Captain Easy, Vol. 1 by Roy Crane, Dungeon Quest by Joe Daly, Culture Corner by Basil Wolverton, Blazing Combat (softcover) by Archie Goodwin & Co., Krazy & Ignatz 1916-1918 by Geo. Herriman, The Search for Smilin’ Ed by Kim Deitch, Tales Designed to Thrizzle #6 by Michael Kupperman, Wally Gropius by Tim Hensley, Weathercraft by Jim Woodring, and Temperance by Cathy Malkasian.
Boston and Philadelphia will be represented at MoCCA not only by individual artists but also by collectives based in both cities.
The Philadelphia-based collective Philly Comix Jam is launching a free quarterly alternative comics tabloid, Secret Prison, with art by Box Brown, Art Baxter, and Pat Aulisio, among others. They are starting out with a 2,000-copy limited edition that will be available at the Box Brown, Yeah Dude Distro, and free giveaway tables at MoCCA.
Dean Haspiel’s plans for the weekend include an participating in an all-star panel, pimping the Act-I-Vate Primer, and DJ’ing at what sounds like the comics party of the decade. He talks about his work and MoCCA in this Twi-NY interview, and here are the details of his schedule:
SATURDAY, April 10th, 2:00 PM
The Art of the Superhero: When Singular Vision Meets Popular Mythology
Once upon a time, comics defenders made much fuss over how “comics are not just superheroes.” We turn the notion on its head, exploring how superheroes can be not only as smart, and as much of a personal artistic expression as the more “literary” autobio and indie comix, but when done right these new myths can be simply sublime. Join true superheroes of the art Frank Miller (Dark Knight Returns, Sin City), Jaime Hernandez (Love & Rockets), Paul Pope (Batman Year 100, Heavy Liquid), Kyle Baker (Plastic Man, Nat Turner) & Dean Haspiel (Billy Dogma, ACT-I-VATE) as they explore what they find inspiring about the genre and about each others work. Moderated by Jeff Newelt (HEEB, Smith, Royal Flush)
This weekend brings one of the high points of the comics year: The Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art Festival 2010. If you’re in New York, you can’t do any better than this; for $10 for a one-day ticket and $15 for a weekend pass ($12 if you’re a member), you get to wander around an entire armory filled with comics talent. We’ll be posting some of the highlights over the next few days; I wanted to start with some individual artists, as the opportunity to see new talent is one of the big draws of this show.
Mike Dawson will be debuting issues 1, 2, and 3 of his new graphic-novel-in-progress, Troop 142. He will also be selling and signing copies of Freddie & Me and Ace Face: The Mod with the Metal Arms. He can be found at table E19, alongside Liz Baille.
Editor’s Note: Alex Dueben, who writes articles for Comic Book Resources, The Comics Journal and Suicide Girls, shared with us the following guide to other things you can do in New York City while you’re in town for the MoCCA Festival.
by Alex Dueben
New York is the city that never sleeps and while you visit the city for this weekend’s MoCCA Festival, neither should you! Just kidding. There is a lot to do in the city that is comics-related not going on at the festival and you should make time to check out while you’re there. Time is short, and most of your cash will be going to buy comics, but here are a few suggestions of things to do while you’re in the city when you’re not at the festival or at the MoCCA Official Afterparty.
“Diary of a Teenage Girl.” We’ll start with this show since it is based on a graphic novel (and not a just “a” graphic novel but a GREAT graphic novel) and the lobby of the show features artwork by Phoebe Gloeckner. Sean Collins reviewed the show when it first opened and fittingly MoCCA weekend will be its final weekend. Great reviews all around (even the New York Times loved it). Star and writer Marielle Heller spent a lot of time and energy getting it off the ground and it was definitely worth it. Go out and show some solidarity for indie comics. A must see event!
“Samuel and Alasdair: A Personal History of the Robot War” at the Brick Theater. The play has it all: Love. Friendship. Robot wars. With a title like that, does it really require much in the way of a description?
“The Addams Family.” Charles Addams’ family brought to life by two of Broadway’s greatest stars, Nathan Lane and Bebe Neuwirth and music from Andrew Lippa. Reviews have been mixed but it’s hard to gather more talent together than this show has. Deserves props just for trying to go back to Charles Addams’ original cartoons for inspirations and not television or movies. Here’s hoping they capture some of Addam’s magic.
“Stuffed and Unstrung.” I’m not even going to try to sell you on this NYC version of the Henson company’s acclaimed “Puppet Up” shows in Los Angeles. If puppets plus improv doesn’t make you want to see this show, I don’t know what will.
WonderCon is so last week; now we’re looking ahead to this weekend’s MoCCA Art Festival.
Sam Costello, writer of the webcomic anthology series Split Lip, fires the first press release over the bow with the news that he is producing a very limited special edition of Vol. 2 of his Split Lip horror anthology just for MoCCA. And by “limited,” he means “35 copies.” The 160-page special edition includes an unpublished story that won’t be in the regular volume 2 and will sell for $23.99. Each book is signed and numbered. Featured artists include Sami Makkonen (Hatter M, vol. 2), Anthony Perruzo (Zuda), John Bivens (Comic Book Tattoo), and Jason Ho (Agnes Quill), and the cover is by Shane Oakley. And best of all: You can get it at MoCCA, whereas the non-special edition won’t be available until the end of April at the earliest.
Are you debuting a new comic or planning something special for MoCCA? Send your press releases to email@example.com and we’ll post as many as we can.