Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Geekanerd And The Mystery of The Mocca Murder

It's been days since I came upon the biggest mystery of my career as a geek-interest blogger/freelance investigator, and I'm still trying to fully understand the events that transpired. I arrived at the Mocca Art Festival Sunday afternoon, ready for a day of fun and comics, what I got instead, was murder... What follows is a summary of what took place that fateful day, be warned, it's not pretty.

I showed up at the Puck building on Lafayette on that sweltering June day to a surprise. Firetrucks! The building had been evacuated due to a fire alarm and the Firemen were sweeping the area, leaving countless comic collectors and creators cast out into the heat. I took a look around as the firemen were packing up and a distinct odor hit me square in the face - charred flesh. I knew at once that this was no false alarm, someone had been murdered, and the body had probably been burned to get rid of the evidence. The firemen I questioned acted as if they didn't know what I was talking about, likely the body had been removed before they arrived. They began letting us into the building, and I decided that I wouldn't rest until I had solved this mystery.

Everyone is a suspect...

I walked in and headed to my left, into a wing full of tables and comic creators hocking their goods. People shoved past in anticipation of new books. I stopped off at the Top Shelf booth figuring the comic powerhouse would know what was up. Liz Prince, author of Will You Still Love Me If I Wet The Bed? paused for a moment to talk and sell me her book, but claimed ignorance about the murder. She said no one at Top Shelf knew anything, and they were in the business of comics, not murder. I moved on in my search, if there were answers to be found, they wouldn't be at Top Shelf.

Liz Prince: Probably not a murder

I stopped off at Liz Baille's table to grab a couple issues of "My Brain Hurts." The lady looks like someone I wouldn't want to challenge to a knife fight, but torching a corpse didn't seem her style. I moved on to famous artist and creator Evan Dorkin, creator of such comics as Milk and Cheese and Dork. He was swamped with fans and had little time to talk, but I managed to ask if he believed his characters Milk and Cheese could have been involved in the murder. He responded "Milk and Cheese aren't real and couldn't possibly kill someone, what the hell are you even talking about?" He was miffed and I didn't want to rub him the wrong way, so I took off, noting that I should keep an eye on him.

Dorkin irked at my line of questioning

I stumbled over to the Picturebox table, where Director Michel Gondry and his son were signing their books. I was hesitant to bother the man, but someone had definitely been offed, and justice had to be served. I paused to buy his book along with his son's, and while he was signing, asked if he had heard anything about a murder or a burning body. He looked up at me and just stared, as if he hadn't understood a word I had said. Knowing Mr. Gondry, anything he would tell me would be laced with indecipherable metaphor and dream-like allusion, so I thanked him for his book and made myself scarce. I didn't think Gondry would be involved anyway, after all, he directed Eternal Sunshine and a short involving David Cross dressed up as a turd. That guy wouldn't hurt a fly.

Michel Gondry: not a suspect

I made my way to the elevators, maybe someone on the upper floors would know what had happened. There was plenty to take in, but I stopped off at this crazy looking joint
to ask a few questions of Skeightfast Dyephun! creator Vic Giannini. This guy was no friend to authority, but I thought he might be able to give me some dirt. Before I could even get word one out he was in my face. "Get lost flatfoot, I don't talk to no private dicks." I tried to reason with him, but he was having none of it. I could tell I was in dangerous territory so I backed away slowly. Giannini might be the type of guy to tear a man to pieces, but he certainly wouldn't get rid of the body, more likely he'd keep it as a trophy.

Victor Giannini, about to lose his cool.

It was around this time that I ran into three guys from Indie Spinner Rack running some game on the Templar, AZ booth. I asked them what all the commotion was about and they asked me if I was a gambling man. before I knew it I was sucked into their little game of dice and comic creation. Traveling around the floor they had a ready-to-play board game where the players were comic creators who had to pick up an artist, publisher, writer and supplies and make it to distribution first. I got well into the game when suddenly I realized, this was just a distraction, someone was trying to keep me from finding the killer! I shoved past the spinner rack boys and hauled tail away from the intoxicating sound of clattering dice.

You almost had me Indie Spinner Rack, but I've got a killer to catch!

As I tried to collect myself I heard a voice. "Hey Mister!" It was Insult To Injury creator Ben Rosen. "I hear you're looking for information." "That's right," I said, "I'm investigating a murder and the burning of a body." Rosen glanced around. "Lissen, I don't no nothin about no murder, but it sounds like you're lookin' for some sorta deviant, so you're in the wrong area." He had my attention. "So where am I supposed to be looking then?" "You want to go see those webcomic boys down on the bottom floor, if anyone's involved in something like that, it's them." He had hit the nail on the head, and I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner! I bought his most recent book to thank him for the info, and took off toward the stairs
A book for a tip, a fair trade

I hurried into the webcomics wing and walked straight to the big man, Ryan North of Dinosaur Comics. North may have donated a bunch of his own hair to locks of love, but that doesn't mean he couldn't murder someone and torch their body. I asked him a couple questions, and his overwhelming niceness eventually convinced me that he hadn't killed anyone, so I moved on down to the next table to talk to Jeph Jacques of Questionable Content. This giant of a man was adamant that he had never had anything to do with any murder anywhere and proceeded to give me the patented "Jacques Stare." I continued on, determined to find the murderer.

Ryan North: Too Damn Nice

The Jacques Stare

I was running out of leads, if I wanted to close this case I needed to do it fast. I headed over to the Dumbrella table to see if they knew anything. Diesel Sweeties creator R. Stevens took a hard line that no one in his collective could possibly have killed and burned someone, and that I should "seek professional help."

R. Stevens was uncooperative in the investigation

I was just about ready to give up, when I noticed that someone from the collective was missing. Indeed, Jeffrey Rowland, creator of Overcompensating and Wigu was nowhere to be seen, in fact, he had been missing from the Dumbrella table since the alarm. Rowland's "autobiographical" comic Overcompensating paints him as exactly the time of man who would both murder and incinerate someone. Unfortunately, he was gone, and while various Dumbrella members and passerby noted that he was probably "getting food" or "would be back later" I knew he was gone probably already on a plane to a sunny little spot in South America till the whole thing blew over. Stevens was obviously covering for him, and he would no doubt stick to his story. Lacking physical evidence, I'd have to wait until I could sit Rowland down and pull a confession from him. It was only a matter of time before he returns to the scene of the crime...

Jeffrey Rowland took flight, probably because he was guilty of murder

That's all I've got for now, tune in next time when I try to solve The Case of the Missing D&D Miniatures.


AHR said...

While I don't not believe J. Rowland murdered someone, if there's no body, there's no crime. We need to break into the Puck Building basement and get some forensic samples. I'll go buy the CSI Forensic Lab Playset For Kids (now with more morbidity!) and meet you by the service entrance tomorrow at 4am.

Victor said...

Thank you for being the only person who will ever mention me and Michel Gondry in any type of shared capacity. You made my soiled blood feel like lemonade.

I didn't fucking kill anyone either. Not that day at least.