Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Back from MOCCA

Woo! Well, I'm back from MOCCA! It was my first trip to New York City, and although I didn't get to do any touristy stuff I did have a really good time.

I flew into La Guardia on Friday morning via Chicago. The last time that I flew was right after the Louisville-to-Atlanta crash, and I was terrified, but this time I actually enjoyed it. Seriously, how amazing is it that we're actually flying?!!! Sailing through the clouds in a big flying machine - in strains credulity. So I spent the whole time being thunderstruck at how awesome it is that we were actually flying. I know that millions of people fly all the time, but that doesn't change how cool it is.

I got in around 1pm, and waited for an hour or so (drifting off regularly) for my friend Hunter, who was also up for the show. We went to Brooklyn where we spent the first night at his friend Danny's place (thanks, Danny!). Brooklyn was like a cartoon version of what I thought that New York would be like - people throwing baseballs against ten-story buildings and catching them in their gloves, old guys in wife beaters lined up in chairs outside a butcher shop, trampily-dressed ten-year-olds, people of varying ethnicities who were almost like caricatures of their respective backgrounds, couples yelling to/at each other through the windows, clothes hanging to dry between buildings, people hanging out on rooftops, etc. It was great. We had pizza that afternoon that really wasn't very good and later made me ill; we found out that evening that the pizza parlor we had chosen was voted "worst pizza in New York."

The festival was great. The only reason I was able to make it is because J.P. Coovert and Stephen Floyd, the founders of One Percent Press, graciously allowed me to set up on their table. Joe Lambert, another cartoonist publishing under the one-percent banner, was also at the table, as was Alexis Frederick-Frost, the Xeric-winning cartoonist behind Maria of Montmartre and La Primavera. Everybody had some new stuff, it seems - J.P. had a new issue of his autobiographical mini comic Simple Routines and a small and beautiful book called Adrift, which was easily the most popular item at the table, followed closely by one of Joe's books (I think I Will Bite You).

We were set up around a variety of fun people, most of whom I'd had the pleasure to meet before (excuse the crude drawings - my camera got turned on in the plane and its battery ran out, and I left the replacement disposable camera that I purchased in the hotel by accident, so this is the next best thing):

We were right next to one of my favorite comic creators, Alec Longstreth, whose last couple of issues of the Ignatz Award-winning Phase 7 are easily among my favorite minicomics ever. Alec is so nice and personable, and always had someone at his table buying something or another. He went through his entire run of Phase 7 #11. Sharing his table was indie comics mainstay Greg Means(Clutch), who traveled up from Portland for the show. Greg, in addition to being a cartoonist himself, publishes a small anthology series called Papercutter, which I'd not read before, but which I happily picked up. The newest issue features another story from the world of Kazimir Strzepek's Mourning Star, which did not disappoint. I also got one which has an Aaron Renier short story (Aaron made Spiral-Bound, my favorite comic of last year) and one by J.P. I hope that I can get a story in Papercutter one day - I dropped a few not-so-subtle hints to Greg that I felt that way.

Across from us was the AdHouse Books table. I had met Chris Pitzer and the Aviary cartoonist Jamie Tanner last weekend at Heroes Con (jeez, it seems like that was a month ago), and it was good to see them again. I got to meet Fred Chao, the cartoonist behind Johnny Hiro, and his girlfriend Dylan, both of whom are amazing dancers. Dylan is a big pirate buff, so we talked about Crogan's Vengeance a little bit. She also did the grays for Johnny Hiro!

Also at the AdHouse table was Joel Priddy. We talked about historical comics and research and whatnot and I got a copy of his book Pulpatoon:Pilgrimage, which I read on the ride home and really enjoyed.

I also met Kevin Burkhalter, who is friends with everyone that I know but who for some reason I'd never had the chance to chat with. His story is the first and best one in the new SCAD anthology, so I was glad to put a face to the work. Stephen calls him "the funniest man in comics," and he calls him that about every twenty minutes. See?

Turns out that Kevin is of Swiss descent, too, so I may try to get him to contribute to that Swiss Tales mini I've been kicking around.

I also got to see some folks that I always like to run into - Pat Lewis, who's got a book coming out from IDW, Charlito and Mr. Phil from the Indie Spinner Rack podcast, the Top Shelf crew, Alex Cahill, and lots of others, including Dean Trippe, who I got to hang out with last weekend at Heroes and will probably get to hang out with again in a couple of weeks when I'm teaching that workshop in his neck of the woods. Check his Butterfly page over the next few days to see if there's a picture of me with everybody's favorite sidekick, jr.

I also got to meet some folks for the first time - Aaron Renier, who did an amazing drawing in my sketchbook (as well as an equally amazing drawing in J.P.'s), Raina Telgemeir (whose comics I've always loved and now actually own), Monica Gallagher, Dave Roman, Hope Larson (who was my first sale of the day), Christine Norrie, Evan Dorkin, and tons of others.

It was a great weekend - the first such place where I made enough and traded enough that I only spent about $10 that didn't come from selling comics, so that was very exciting! Oh, and I got a great Nick Bertozzi original. Here's a scan:

Although I'm inspired to get back to work (I've got the next five pages of Crogan's Vengeance tightly thumbnailed and ready to pencil), I'm probably going to have to forgo comics work this week and instead start getting the materials together for the workshop, which begins in less than two weeks! There still aren't a lot of people enrolled, so if you know a kid or teen who is on the fence about it, push 'em over!


Chad! said...

Glad you had such a great time man! I super bummed I wasn't able to attend this year. Looking forward to hearing more about the workshop and Cronan's Vengence! Good luck and keep me updated!

Unknown said...

Awesome, Chris! Although my book is coming out from IDW, not IBM. Perhaps you were thinking of my personal computer!

Chris Schweizer said...

Oops! Slip of the fingers there... I'll fix it. Thanks for mentioning me in your MOCCA report, by the way!

Jacob York said...

Ahhh! I want a picture with Butterfly!