Dear Comic Book Aficionados,
The yearly MoCCA Fest was held again recently. I was there, despite being very sick. I was so sick that I coughed up blood and had to take little rests so I didn't black out. So strong is my dedication to covering comic book events that I do it even when it's not a good idea!
MoCCA stands for Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art. At one point there was a physical museum space on the seventh or eighth floor of a building on Spring Street, but it was primarily a yearly comic convention for alternative comics. I've gone every year since it's inception in 2001.
At one point it was great. In those days, it was held in the ultra-fancy Puck Building and would bring in super amazing special guests. It moved locations to a National Guard gymnasium a few years ago, and around that time, the special guests became a lot more mundane and MoCCA was absorbed by the Society of Illustrators. Around the time that people stopped giving a shit about MoCCA, Gabe Fowler created the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Fest in which a handpicked selection of exhibitors were allowed to show off their goods in Williamsburg. MoCCA's still hanging around though, like the robot kid in AI after the human child came back to life.
Out of a sense of tradition, I attended the MoCCA Fest. I was not disappointed in my expectations of how much I would be disappointed. It could just be that I'm getting old, but I remember MoCCA as a sort of college reunion as well as an experience where I would meet my favorite artists for the first time. I remember the time I first met amazing cartoonists, Hellen Jo and Calvin Yu. I remember when Bob Camp, one time producer of Ren & Stimpy, approached me and asked if I was Nick Gazin. We all flipped our lids as he drew Ren & Stimpy in my sketchbook. Now, MoCCA is mostly the garbage that couldn't get into BCAGF. I'm sure that feeling like I was dying didn't help, but who can say? Maybe it did. Here's a little photo diary of the things I saw that I liked.
One of the best things I saw at MoCCA was the press badge with a drawing by Brandon Graham. Brandon is one of the best currently working artists or cartoonists and he is a great guy who has done some comics and interviews with VICE, despite having the same issues with VICE that a lot of people do.
Another great thing was that Michael Deforge, another VICE cartoonist and super artist, did the poster art which was hanging from the ceilings.
Another great thing was that Roxie Vizcarra and Anthony Macbain were there. I don't know if people are aware of this when they see these two, but these two do most of the art you see associated with Rockstar Games. They both have worked on the cover art for the last few Rockstar games. You wouldn't expect them to be as cool looking as they are, but they are. Check out Anthony's band, the Psyched.
Here's a cool postcard that Roxie drew to promote herself.
This is fine artist Rich Tu showing a print he bought from some talented SVA girls. This print was made by Sabrina Elliot.
A girl who might have made that print also made this print. It's Dilek Baykara. She's still in art school and clearly really, really good. She was the hot new talent of MoCCA.
She also made these vrey ego-guro-inspired prints. Check out her website.
This is Ben Marra, a VICE contributor and great artist.
This is a comic Ben made and gave me. It's an eight-page, black-and-white newsprint comic, with no cover or title, that retells the story of Macbeth. It is entirely in German for some reason, and it ends with a glorious beheading.
This is Anthony Cudahy. He has also had art in the pages of VICE. You'll notice that I pay attention to those who contribute to us. Those who ignore us are destroyed.
Collected Drawings: Eric Wiley, 2011–2013
Anthony didn't make this, but he gave it to me anyway. Its a zine of surreal ink drawings that have been xeroxed onto green-and-goldenrod-colored paper and bound with a plastic bulldog clip. It's not bad at all, except for the presentation. I wouldn't consider publishing most of what's in this zine, but I'm not Eric Wiley, who did. This zine is Collected Drawings: Eric Wiley, 2011–2013. I am assuming the pretentious title is a joke about the totally careless presentation, but if it's not then that is very embarassing.
What do you know? It's John Holmstrom, creator of Punk Magazine. The super important magazine that gave the name punk to the New York independent rock scene that was happening in the late 70s and inspired the Damned to make a punk band having never heard one and basing it only on what the magazine described. Abrams just published a much fancier book than the last one that collected the best of Punk.
This is Scott C. and everybody loves the shit out of this man and his art. He is a huge deal but he doesn't act like it. He is best known on the internet for drawing scenes of famous showdowns or other movie characters, but they are all smiling.
This is a comic called BORB by Jason Little. It's a real depressing comic about a wordless homeless guy who is offered lots of free medical care and housing but in the end it doesn't do any good. The comic ends with him burning down his halfway house with a space heater. I'm not sure if this is a liberal viewpoint about how we need better social programs for the insane, or if it's saying that we shouldn't try to help the homeless at all. It's not great or terrible.
Get it here.
Hand Drying in America
This is Ben Katchor's fancy new book from Pantheon. I am surprised that Ben Katchor keeps getting books of his work published because I have never heard anyone say that they liked his work. I only remember two times that anyone has even mentioned him to me and the second was when I was handed this book.
I find Ben Katchor's work aggressively ugly and unconsidered. It's totally acceptable to work really fast or do messy drawings if what you're making is beautiful, but I don't know how many people think Katchor's drawings are beautiful. I guess people who like his work dig his use of space and perspective. It's not bad but I hate his lines. For me, the lines in a drawing are like the basic texture of the sounds in music. If something sounds bad to you then it's often hard for the whole to be more than the sum of it's parts.
Buy it here.
LOVF: New York: Destination Crisis
If this comic looks like it was drawn by a crazy person that's because it was. Jesse Reklwaw had a crazy period and this full-color zine presents his sketchbook pages from that time. Huge splotches of color are layered on top of one another with little faces peaking out here and there. There's lots of obsessive cross hatching, misery, and darkness.
Get it here.
This is minicomic with an ugly hand-painted cover in which Little Orphan Annie has an interaction with a man in bed where they discuss politics and then she cuts his throat out.
Get it here.
Jim Woodring cloisonne pins
I paid for these. They are the only things I bought. They were $3 each and a Japanese company was selling them. An angel, Pupshaw, and Pushpaw and Manhog running in terror. What great pins. I also got one of Frank and his pa, which I gave to a friend. Such great pins.
So Long Silverscreen
This is probably the best thing I got at MoCCA. Although there are more great French comics being published in America lately, Blutch still isn't as well-known as he deserves to be in the US. Blutch is probably noteworthy to most people for being the main inspiration behind Craig Thompson's (Blankets) drawing style. This book is a very affordable $23 full-cover, hardcover book, full of short stories which discuss movies and how they affect us.
Masculinity and what is expected from men in movies is explored and so is femininity and what people want from women in movies. Other stuff, too. Each little story is black-and-white and one other spot color to let you know that it's a different story. The stories are not connected by any obvious plot or continuing characters.
The book opens with a man attacking a woman in a long and beautiful drawn action sequence. She tells him that Paul Newman's dead and then he appears to be in his own home talking with a different woman about Paul Newman. Then he attacks this second woman too. I don't know why. I'll read it some more later and think about it.
I don't really care if Blutch's stories make too much sense. Mostly I'm in it for the drawings. Look at this beautiful spread. The page on the right is beautiful and the the page split horizontally is beautiful too and together they are also beautiful.
I liked this spread from the book also.
You can buy it here.
Anyway, that was my MoCCA experience this year. I don't know if I'll go next year or not. If I do I'll probably be covering it on this website. Unless I get fired or die.
Previously - Nick Gazin's Comic Book Love-in #84
Also, check out last year's MoCCA coverage.