Monday, April 11, 2011

MoCCA 2011

Oh my goodness, MoCCA fest. Last year, I was following enough comic artists on twitter during MoCCA time to realize that I was missing out on something important and awesome, so this year I made it a *point* to be there. At the Center for Cartoon Studies, Alec Longstreth had encouraged us to trade comics with other people. I brought a stack of Some Of Us two for this purpose.

The thing that I really like about festivals / conventions like this are the panels, and there was a panel about teaching comics at 11:30 that I wanted to / needed to go to. And then my bus out of Albany was a half hour late. Luckily, when I made it to the armory, there was a long line stretching around the building because the fest was opening a half hour late. I missed nothing.

In the Teaching Comics panel, I learned about 3eanuts (which honestly I think is an interesting concept but less successful than Garfield Minus Garfield). I forget the context, but I have written down a quote from one of the panelists: "People just think, they buy something in the store, it exists in nature." I love this so much because it's very true. Often I find people admiring the work of others and making comments about how they could never do it, likening the time, effort, skill, hard work and years of practice with some magic gift that some people have and others don't.

I stayed right in that room for the next panel, which was about Sequential non-fiction. I came away with a lot of graphic novels I want to read, and a discussion was raised about accountability and realness. I really appreciated discussion about how to portray events without being judgmental, or when such judgement is necessary. Someone asked "is calling it a *real* story important to the story?" which I found to be a convicting question because I work in non-fiction, often autobiographical non-fiction, pushing it to the point where I will illustrate an idea I had as something occurring within thought bubbles.

After these panels I took some time to actually trade some of my comics. I didn't want to go home with any of my own, so I figured I'd do this first. The first person I asked didn't want to trade so early because she was almost sold out of what she'd brought, but she was really nice about it and told me to come back at the end of the day. It was a good warm up. I had won a weirdly printed copy of one of Tara Abbamondi's Puddles, so I decided I'd give her one of my comics too. I wanted a copy of Kate Beaton's book, and I figured I'd try and do what I was doing a NEWW, a trade + cash. I expected her book to be $20 and I was going to offer her $15 and a copy of my comic, but then she was having a sale! And then she drew me and I just gave her one of my mini comics, because who doesn't want the people they respect to have something they made? This is a thing, I'm sure of it. Also, she signed and drew in my book. I was so entirely pleased about it that I changed my twitter avatar. I'm a dork.

My haul, including both trades and purchases:

I haven't had a chance to dig into much yet, but I *did* read Luke holds off by Jeremy Nguyen and Beard by Pranas Naujokaitis which were both amazing in very different ways. I actually got home and bought a copy of Beard for a friend of mine and had it mailed to his house. I think he'll be pleasantly surprised.

I caught one more panel which was a conversation with Dash Shaw and Brecht Evans. I had never heard of Brecht but I'd read Bottomless Belly Button by Dash and loved it. They are both very young and very funny. Brecht (who is Flemish) asked Dash if he knew what Bottomless Belly Button was called in Dutch. Dash said he didn't and tried to change the subject. Clearly he doesn't want to know. "You've gotta pay attention to these things!" Brecht scolded. I can only imagine.

After seeing some pages and hearing about Brecht's work, I went right upstairs and bought his book. I also walked around the convention for a bit longer, buying things, talking to people (especially people from CCS, from Albany/Troy, and about chickens) and feeling overwhelmed. I found a girl named Sally who was painting 30 second portraits for fifty cents. How could I resist?

I also was fairly certain someone was drawing me during the Dash-Brecht panel, and afterwards I asked her to see it and had a discussion with her about drawing unposed people and trying to not freak them out.

Overall, I found myself smiling at a lot more people than I usually do, on the street or whatever. Even though I was beat I was just so excited to be inundated with COMICS. I think next year I should get a table, but definitely split it with a few people so I can still go to panels and such. Also, I'm sad to have missed Drink and Draw Like a Lady. Alas.


Jason said...

Looking for any suggestions, Emily?
- Jason

Sarah said...

I love this. I a little bit jealous but that little bit is just added to the pile of cool things that happen in America that doesn't happen in Australia (or if it does it's in Sydney or Melbourne). I'm currently catching up on your blog because I'm behind on my online content. Talking about you now, I really like reading your blog; especially accounts like this in which you're interacting in a big creative space and you're not the big popular person. I too love Kate Beaton but I don't think her account would be as interesting, as more than likely it would consist of: people came over to me, they were lovely and enthusiastic, I sold some books. Not to imply that she would have nothing else to say but she would have a completely different experience to you or I. Okay I'm done rambling with questionable grammar.