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MoCCA 2005 Wrap-up

Although I was only able to spend Saturday, and missed all of the excellent panel discussions, I nevertheless managed to have an excellent time and spend way too much money at this year's MoCCA Arts Festival. Here are the highlights as I saw them:

  • The Pantheon table had a dozen or so finished pages from Chris Ware's upcoming book on display, and let me tell you, it's going to be incredible! Similar to Acme Novelty Library #7 and 15, the Tales of Tomorrow and Rusty Brown strips are back in full color. I'm told that the final book will be 108 pages, with a band of paper wrapped around the hardcover that will contain a strip with six different endings (how many people are gonna buy six hardcovers?). It should be available this fall, although no guarantees.
  • Another great looking preview book at the Pantheon table was Joann Sfar's The Rabbi's Cat. This gorgeous full color, hardcover graphic novel should be available in August, and though I'm not familiar with any of the artist's previous work, she keeps pretty good company as Pantheon has positioned themselves as one of the best high-end publishers in the industry.
  • Pantheon's lovely marketing dept. also mentioned that they will be offering a high end, hardcover collection of Jessica Abel's classic La Perdida, re-enforcing their commitment to women creators.
  • Fantagraphics had advance copies of Mome, the eagerly awaited anthology series available, that, according to series co-editor Eric Reynolds, were air shipped from Malaysia just in time for MoCCA. I've read about a third of the entries so far, and the book is indeed impressive. I'll have a complete review of it hopefully sometime next week.
  • Bries, the Belgian publisher whose English language work is sorely underrated and under distributed, had an impressive table with every work available, including the excellent Louis Armstrong, the adaptation of the jazz great's autobiography, Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans, by Phillip Paquet. For fans of Paquet's work (in my opinion, one of the greatest artists working in comics today), I learned that he is planning to translate his newest book, Yume, into English sometime early next year.
  • After an almost 2 year hiatus, Bries has completely revamped their website. It's well worth a look (and you can order yourself a copy of Louis Armstrong).
  • Roger Langridge, creator of the brilliant Fred the Clown, was on-hand and had a wonderful selection of mini-comics old and new. In one of the more surreal moments, I stood alongside Roger at the Fantagraphics booth as he purchased five copies of his own book, in order to sell them at his own table.
  • Art Spiegelman walked right by me, brushing my arm, and in true character, was dangling an unlit cigarette in his right hand, anxious to get outdoors to light up, but was almost instantaneously mobbed by creators eager to bask in the glow of his Pulitzer greatness.
  • Alexa Kitchen, daughter of well known indie publisher Denis Kitchen , was billed as the youngest cartoonist in the world at age 7, and was pretty cute sitting at her table sketching away, oblivious to the hordes or middle aged fans shuffling past her.
  • Living on the east coast, I had never heard of San Francisco-based mini-comics distributor, Global Hobo. But their selection of gorgeously designed mini-comics, many with striking, silk-screened cardstock covers, was one of the best surprises of the show. Their table was frequently mobbed and there were far too many comics that looked intriguing for me to afford them all. If you're looking for something new and original, check these guys out.
  • There were a lot more women buying comics than you might expect from visiting your average comic book store on a Wednesday night. My first instinct was that these women must be shadowing their boyfriends/husbands, enduring hours of inane comic-speak, with little or no interest, but as the show progressed, I came to realize this was not the case in general. This trend bodes extremely well for the future of comics.
  • There was a definite, undeniable buzz of excitement, camaraderie and creative energy at the show, but, as noted by artist Greg Ruth , not a single Klingon was spotted in the room.
That's about it. It was a great show, and next week watch out for "five mini-comics creators to watch out for."

-- Marc Sobel

The ADD Blog by Alan David Doane. Trouble with Comics Reviews of comics and graphic novels. Commentary about the artform and industry of comics. Get back to the main page.

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