Zander and I flew out to New York City for the MoCCA show on Saturday and Sunday. This was my first time at MoCCA and the show definitely lived up to the "must-go" reputation that it has. The show was held in the 69th Regiment Armory, which is a huge room with a high rounded ceiling and faded banners -- it felt like a 19th century military high school gymnasium or something, lots of dark wood, dark army-green paint, and that classic junior-high-in-summer smell. I'm told that the wrestling scene in Spiderman was filmed there, but more important, the 69th is where the famous 1913 Armory show
was held. By all accounts, that show was America's first big leap into the era of modern art, and DuChamp's famous "Nude Descending a Staircase
" premiered there. You can bet I was thinking about ol' Marcel while I descended the stairs to use the restroom.
The show was hot, but in a fevered, excited kind of way. And the two days flew by in a flurry of handshakes and story-swapping. It was a real honor to spend most of Saturday standing behind the Top Shelf booth, watching Chris, Brett, and Leigh work their magic, and sitting next to Niklas Asker
and chatting about the Swedish comics scene. Actually, the most unexpected part of the show (for me, anyway) was the huge Scandinavian presence. I asked one of the Norwegian publishers if he had any books on Amundsen or Nansen, but alas, nei terningen
MoCCA was a great show for meeting people who I knew only over the phone or in an online, emaily way, like New Yorker cartoonist Jashar Awan
agent Bob Mecoy, and Stuff of Life
& Evolution: A Progress Report
editor and packager Howard Zimmerman.
Both Far Arden
and T-Minus: The Race to the Moon
premiered at MoCCA, and both titles sold out pretty early on in the show, which is great for us, but left a few people disappointed. Well, there's always the LAUNCH PARTY
It was great to flip through Charles Burns' portfolio book, Kramers Ergot 7
, and David Mazzucchell's new Asterios Polyp
, but the hands-down best book of the show was Brett von Schlosser's and Tim Sievert's Intrepideers
double bill. Hilarious stuff.
Hung out with Jim Ottaviani as much as possible -- he was on a table waiting list for a long time, but fortunately he got a table at the last minute and was able to be there for the premiere of T-Minus
. He and Zander and I went out to dinner on Saturday night with Jim's Michigan friends John and Colleen and cartoonist Michelangelo Cicerone
MoCCA aside, the best part of the trip was running around Manhattan on Monday. My old friend Sam and I jumped from the Brooklyn Library to Central Park to the Natural History Museum, but the capstone was going to the world-famous Explorer's Club
and hearing explorer Bo Parfet
talk about his experiences tackling the Seven Summits (the highest peaks on the seven continents). If you're ever in Manhattan on a Monday, I HIGHLY recommend checking out a public lecture at the Explorer's Club. It's worth it just to wander around the normally locked-up rooms; there's everything you'd expect to find, from huge oil paintings to a photograph signed by Buzz Aldrin, and even a stuffed polar bear. I would seriously move back to Manhattan just for this lecture series
Click on the flag to read about the Explorers Club and space flight
I have to concur with Kevin that the show was a success-- we sold a lot of books, talked with a lot of folks, and the post con hoopla in the evening, while mellower and small-group-ier than at the big shows, was top-notch. The new venue was a mixed bag in my eyes; the larger space meant that everyone was in the same room (and no one was on the 7th floor like at the Puck Building), but the lack of air conditioning, fans, or moving air of any kind was a hindrance to fun.
My own personal favorite part of the show was seeing a quantum leap in Kevin and the comic-buying public's appreciation for each other. Looking over to my left at Kevin happily (rather than dutifully) fielding questions about his own work behind a rapidly disappearing stack of his hot new book was glorious, and it made me proud to be able to unreservedly plug Far Arden to passers-by. Modestly dictates that I can only be so enthusiastic about the stuff on the table, but I was known to declare "Far Arden is the best graphic novel of the year. Take it from me; I had nothing to do with it!"
I also loved meeting Randall Munroe and Kate Beaton for two seconds each. Their comics are awesome.