Zander and I flew out to New York City for the MoCCA show on Saturday and Sunday. This was my first time at MoCCA and the show definitely lived up to the "must-go" reputation that it has. The show was held in the 69th Regiment Armory, which is a huge room with a high rounded ceiling and faded banners -- it felt like a 19th century military high school gymnasium or something, lots of dark wood, dark army-green paint, and that classic junior-high-in-summer smell. I'm told that the wrestling scene in Spiderman was filmed there, but more important, the 69th is where the famous 1913 Armory show was held. By all accounts, that show was America's first big leap into the era of modern art, and DuChamp's famous "Nude Descending a Staircase" premiered there. You can bet I was thinking about ol' Marcel while I descended the stairs to use the restroom.
The show was hot, but in a fevered, excited kind of way. And the two days flew by in a flurry of handshakes and story-swapping. It was a real honor to spend most of Saturday standing behind the Top Shelf booth, watching Chris, Brett, and Leigh work their magic, and sitting next to Niklas Asker and chatting about the Swedish comics scene. Actually, the most unexpected part of the show (for me, anyway) was the huge Scandinavian presence. I asked one of the Norwegian publishers if he had any books on Amundsen or Nansen, but alas, nei terningen.
MoCCA was a great show for meeting people who I knew only over the phone or in an online, emaily way, like New Yorker cartoonist Jashar Awan, T-Minus agent Bob Mecoy, and Stuff of Life & Evolution: A Progress Report editor and packager Howard Zimmerman.
Both Far Arden and T-Minus: The Race to the Moon premiered at MoCCA, and both titles sold out pretty early on in the show, which is great for us, but left a few people disappointed. Well, there's always the LAUNCH PARTY this Saturday.
It was great to flip through Charles Burns' portfolio book, Kramers Ergot 7, and David Mazzucchell's new Asterios Polyp, but the hands-down best book of the show was Brett von Schlosser's and Tim Sievert's Intrepideers double bill. Hilarious stuff.
Hung out with Jim Ottaviani as much as possible -- he was on a table waiting list for a long time, but fortunately he got a table at the last minute and was able to be there for the premiere of T-Minus. He and Zander and I went out to dinner on Saturday night with Jim's Michigan friends John and Colleen and cartoonist Michelangelo Cicerone.
MoCCA aside, the best part of the trip was running around Manhattan on Monday. My old friend Sam and I jumped from the Brooklyn Library to Central Park to the Natural History Museum, but the capstone was going to the world-famous Explorer's Club and hearing explorer Bo Parfet talk about his experiences tackling the Seven Summits (the highest peaks on the seven continents). If you're ever in Manhattan on a Monday, I HIGHLY recommend checking out a public lecture at the Explorer's Club. It's worth it just to wander around the normally locked-up rooms; there's everything you'd expect to find, from huge oil paintings to a photograph signed by Buzz Aldrin, and even a stuffed polar bear. I would seriously move back to Manhattan just for this lecture series.
Click on the flag to read about the Explorers Club and space flight