Tuesday, June 09, 2009

MoCCA '09 + NYC



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

Zander says:

I have to concur with Kevin that the show was a success-- we sold a lot of books, talked with a lot of folks, and the post con hoopla in the evening, while mellower and small-group-ier than at the big shows, was top-notch. The new venue was a mixed bag in my eyes; the larger space meant that everyone was in the same room (and no one was on the 7th floor like at the Puck Building), but the lack of air conditioning, fans, or moving air of any kind was a hindrance to fun.

My own personal favorite part of the show was seeing a quantum leap in Kevin and the comic-buying public's appreciation for each other. Looking over to my left at Kevin happily (rather than dutifully) fielding questions about his own work behind a rapidly disappearing stack of his hot new book was glorious, and it made me proud to be able to unreservedly plug Far Arden to passers-by. Modestly dictates that I can only be so enthusiastic about the stuff on the table, but I was known to declare "Far Arden is the best graphic novel of the year. Take it from me; I had nothing to do with it!"

I also loved meeting Randall Munroe and Kate Beaton for two seconds each. Their comics are awesome.

7 comments:

Brittney Sabo said...

Kevin, that is the first time I have ever seen even the hint of a real smile on your face at a convention!

Daniel J. Olson said...

Sounds like a good time all around. Congrats on selling out of books, guys!

Maxeem said...

Hooray! Hooray for Kevin and for books selling like hot cakes! Hooray for hot cakes! Hooray!

Sarah Morean said...

You should look into the different lecture series at the U. Or try Policy and a Pint.

To find a seminar or lecture series, first pick an academic program that interests you, within that program pick a department, go to their site, and poke around. There's usually something on the main page. They're always free, usually there are treats, and nobody will care that you're not affiliated with the U. Free education! Granted, it sounds pretty different from adventure club, but I bet there is some overlap through certain departments.

I remember there was a free general science lecture series in the Twin Cities -- but I haven't heard about it for awhile. It might be through the Bell Museum, but I didn't see anything about it on their site.

These Driven to Discover ads are pretty awesome too: http://www.discover.umn.edu/featuredDiscoveries/index.php. The ads are the flashiest, but you might find something worthwhile in the raw interviews.

AND Doris Taylor had her Great Conversations interview featured on MPR, which was really really incredible.

Have fun exploring...the internet!

Kevin Cannon said...

Thanks! I wouldn't mind sneaking into a U lecture once in awhile...

Jon said...

I meant to hit your launch at Big Brain, but got delayed. :( I'm planning on picking one up this week. Congratulations on the successful show!

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