Thursday, May 2, 2013

MoCCA Fest 2013

This is the second year I've gone to MoCCA Fest. Last year the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art was an independent entity. They put on a show where, despite my not being interested in at least 90% of the exhibits, I managed to come across unexpected delights. I met four New Yorker artists, purchased quite a few signed books, and paid repeated visits to a table where original artwork was selling for a pittance to benefit the cash-strapped Museum. It was glorious.

This year, MoCCA has been absorbed by the Society of Illustrators. The 69th Regiment Armory's interior looked the same, quite a few of the exhibitors were the same, again at least 90% of the exhibits held no interest for me, but everything felt different. There just weren't the same kind of discoveries to be made.

I came on Saturday April 7 this year, not on Sunday, so maybe the place was more crowded and the exhibitors had less time for me. Certainly the crowd seemed to be having a good enough time. The Society had put up a very nice exhibit of original comic art, and beyond that Craig Yoe of Yoe Books had brought along an original Krazy Kat Sunday strip and a Little Nemo which easily trumped anything else in the house. I concede that it just doesn't get better than that. But still I really missed the table with original sketches for sale where I could add a few interesting things to my own collection for a few dollars. I saw fewer artists this year I was familiar with, and in particular fewer New Yorker artists.

I bought only two signed books this year, again way down from last year's number. The first was a copy of Adrian Tomine's New York Drawings (2012). Mr. Tomine signed and inscribed the book, adding a self-portrait drawn in ink. Many people were buying the smallest book on the table for him to dedicate, but I had really wanted a copy of New York Drawings, so why not pay a little more? I asked him if I could post his drawing on my blog and he said, "Sure, thanks for asking." So you are supposed to ask! Sorry, Jim Gurney.

The Guest of Honor at MoCCA Fest was Bill Griffith, the creator of Zippy the Pinhead. I never read Zippy, and I'm not really sure I "get" him, but this seemed as good a time to start as any. Mr. Griffith signed and inscribed my book with a "Yow!" for emphasis. No drawing here.

What I should have done was purchase a book from Jillian Tamaki, who was making large, flowing drawings in her books for a long line of fans. She was not on my radar, unfortunately, until now.

In conclusion, the indie comics scene is probably not a great place for me, since I don't really read comics these days and--heck, I don't even like to use the word indie. I had a better time at MoCCA Fest last year than this year, but some of that could be just the luck of the draw. Nevertheless, I'm pretty sure I liked MoCCA better when it was a financially-desperate institution.

Adrian Tomine, New York Drawings, 2012

Adrian Tomine, New York Drawings, 2012, Signed and Inscribed with Drawing

Adrian Tomine, New York Drawings, 2012, Signed and Inscribed with Drawing

Bill Griffith, Connect the Polka Dots, 2006

Bill Griffith, Connect the Polka Dots, 2006, Signed and Inscribed

Note:  Perhaps you fared better at MoCCA than I did. If you yourself obtained interesting book inscriptions or original artwork at MoCCA Fest and would like to share them here, please do. I'm just one person after all, and there was a lot of really cool stuff out there, or so I'm told. If your artwork should be from the 10% of the show that I can relate to, or if you think you can broaden my horizons into the other 90%, well, once again, I'm interested. Remember, I can still add a lot more great visual material to this blog before reincurring Google's obnoxious storage charges. Come on, by now you must know what I like.


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