Hello Midtown Bloggertines! Raph here with some thoughts and insights. This past weekend, the MoCCA Festival took place at the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue. MoCCA is, of course, the Museum of Comic & Cartoon Art. The Festival is in it’s 9th year, and it features a lot of independent, small press companies and creators. Mostly, the artists are all students or recent graduates of art schools like SVA or CCS. The main hall of the armory houses the show floor, and there are panel rooms downstairs. This was my 5th or 6th MoCCA fest, and it was an enjoyable time.
The view from above, courtesy of Comic Book Resources
For those of you who go to the bigger shows, the New York Comic Cons, the San Diegos and what have you, MoCCA is a total change of pace from that. There is no MASSIVE SHOW FLOOR with HUGE BOOTHS of vendors (such as ourselves) and the big artists who draw Avengers or Green Lantern. This is more grassroots. MoCCA Fest’s vendors or primarily publishers like First Second and Top Shelf Productions, which are more known for their critically acclaimed series such as the Essex County Trilogy, Blankets and American Born Chinese. The rest of the floor is a little more of what I see myself doing: cartoonists, creators and dreamers doing things they love in the world of comics.
The poster for this year’s MoCCA
While comics have done a lot to push into mainstream consciousness, the sad truth is that the greater public still views superheroes as the only genre of comics. At a show like MoCCA Fest, you can experience the wide gamut of stories told with pictures and words. There were sketchbooks from artists who had been doodling their whole lives, semi-autobiographical parodies of the cartoonist’s life, and fictional, yet very real feeling, emotional stories. There’s wild and zany characters, real heartbreak, true romance, non sequitur zaniness and boundless imagination. You won’t find neatly printed, glossy comics as much. Mostly it’s hand-stapled, or maybe had a limited print run (thanks to places like Staples and Kinko’s and their printing options); some books are even folded together (one of my favorites of the show was a pair of comics that were printed double sided and slowly folded out into a story, check it out at http://www.foldycomics.com)… the originality isn’t limited to the content. There was another comic that resembled a refrigerator, with the freezer section being it’s own comic. Sure, Marvel and DC have cornered the market on huge, sweeping action and larger than life iconic heroes, but creators and cartoonists like the ones at MoCCA offer up a bit of themselves, a piece of originality, a part of their soul illustrated on a piece of paper. It’s part of the magic of comics to me, as much as the iconography of heroes are.
So if you happen to be in the New York area in spring next year, check out the MoCCA Festival. While we’re on the subject of MoCCA, they also have a very interesting exhibit currently on the legendary Will Eisner. As a huge fan of comics as a medium, I enjoy looking at some of the legends that came before and appreciating their work. MoCCA fest was a spectacular time for me, and it encourages me about my own writing more. Maybe you’ll see my postmodern attempt at mythological supernatural martial arts epics someday? Until then, keep an open mind and check out those comics that looked like they were hand stapled, you never know what you’ll find!