Tuesday, June 26, 2007

MoCCA 2007 - A Geekanerd Special Report!

Intrepid Geekanerd Special Ops Correspondent BRICE was at MoCCA last weekend, and he's provided us with exclusive pix and a special report of what went down - dig it!

Greetings to all you readers out there in the tubes! I stopped by the MoCCA Art Festival this weekend to spend too much of my money and feed your undying hunger for all things comic. The MoCCA fest has been going on annually since 2002, and if you haven’t made a point to hit it, you’re missing out. Unlike many comic conventions, the focus is set towards smaller and more independent print and webcomics, and if you’re looking for something new or just need a break from a constant barrage of ret-conning in your monthly issues of major labels, MoCCA is the place to find stuff you’ve haven’t seen in your local shop.

This year there were the usual three main rooms covering the first floor, and an additional floor upstairs. While artists mentioned that table prices have gone up for them, they said that the large attendance this year made up for it.

Like I said, one of the great parts about the MoCCA fest is the focus on independent artists and writers. “Bigger” name publishers like Top Shelf were of course on hand, but there are tons of guys and girls writing a wide array of comics for you to sample. I was excited to find a comic about Souxsie Sioux’s (of Souxsie and the Banshees fame) childhood by Dalton Webb, who also contributes to the anthology You Ain’t No Dancer which like the popular anthology Flight is a great way to get a sampling of a bunch of different artists and writers, always a good purchase.

I picked up the newest graphic novel from artist Christine Norrie (Hopeless Savages, Cheat) called Breaking Up, as well as the latest issue of author/artist Liz Baillie’s Queer Punk drama My Brain Hurts. Both books explore high school through the eyes of two completely different female protagonists. Tom Motley’s Aline the Alien included a splash page with honeycombed panels, written and designed in such a way that provided you moved to an adjoining panel, you could go in any direction and continue with a cohesive narrative.

I made my way into the webcomic area, where, if you stand in one spot for 30 seconds, you will hear no fewer than 7 different euphemisms for the word “internet.” I stopped by the “Playground Ghosts” table, featuring such wonderful comics as “Wondermark,” “Reprographics,” and the always lovely “Fluff In Brooklyn.” Chris Yates of Reprographics was happy to chat as I purchased one of his handmade puzzles and then pose for a picture with a completely appropriate sign (it’s a well known fact that 94% of webcomic creators are obsessed with fecal matter).

I stopped off to snag a shirt and a shot from “Dinosaur Comics’” Ryan North, who was one of perhaps two people attending the con who were taller than I (the other being Jeph Jacques of “Questionable Content,” who as everyone knows is approximately 11’ tall and was barred from the NBA out of fear that he might one day trip and crush Muggsy Bogues). Speaking of Jeph, he was nice enough to provide a lovely photo and equally lovely sketch for GAN, which will go up as soon as I can find a scanner.

I made my way over to the table of internet comic collective giant “Dumbrella” and picked up the newest installment of Jeffrey Rowland’s Wigu: The Case of Atlantis. Dumbrella is a powerhouse collective with comics “Overcompensating,” “Goats,” “Diesel Sweeties,” et al., churning out stylish T-Shirts and knocking over other webcomic artists’ lunch trays out of sheer spite. I had a short conversation with R. Stevens of “Diesel Sweeties” fame in which, after learning my profession (working in TV and Film) he promptly told me that he hated movies, as well as most television programming, insulted my job, and may also have made a comment about my mother as I walked away. “Absolute power…” and all that. However I can’t fault a man who shares my love of all things Jon Cusack.

But seriously, one of the great things about MoCCA is having the time and the leisure to swap a few words with the writers and artists selling there. All of them were great and more than happy to chat. And it’s a excellent opportunity to find some good books/sites that you hadn’t seen before. If you couldn’t make it, do yourself a favor and head over to http://www.moccany.org and check out some of the exhibitors that were there. Most everyone has a website and you’re sure to find something that piques your interest. Tell them Geekanerd sent you.

Thanks Brice! Check out more of Brice's hot pix, check out the first part of our MoCCA coverage, which includes links to all the webcartoons mentioned.

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