Sunday, June 7, 2009


I had a great time at the MoCCA Festival 2009.

There were wonderful, beautiful books on display in the main hall of the Lexington Avenue Armory, but the high point for me was getting the chance to meet many of the people who populate the comics world. I talked to a raft of comic book creators, including Scott Campbell, Lilli Carré, David Malki, Kate Beaton, and Molly Crabapple. I wandered around the hall for a while with Matt Brady, and I got to talk very briefly with Heidi MacDonald and Tucker and Nina Stone.

Matt and I also attended the "Making Good Comics in a New Era" panel, which discussed how the current economic problems are impacting small comics publishers and comic book creators who self-publish their work. The panel was held downstairs in a room where all of the walls were covered with paintings of war, like this one:

Will the economic crisis turn comic creator against comic creator?
Tom Neely, Brett Warnock, and Heidi MacDonald,
and a bunch of dudes with bayonets.

By the way, it was quite hot in the Armory, particularly downstairs. I wonder if audience members looked with envy at the guys in the following painting:

Did you know that Valley Forge was cold?

But hey, I also bought some things!

Here's what I got:

The Blot, by Tom Neely

I'd been wanting to get my hand's on Neely's self-published book for a couple of years, and he drew a neat little sketch in the back of it for me.

Asterios Polyp, by David Mazzucchelli

I cannot wait to read this. Two questions for you:

1. What other books would you put on the short list for "comic book of the year"?

I think the race is shaping up nicely, with Asterios Polyp, The Photographer, and A Drifting Life all in contention and more heavy hitters on their way, like Osamu Tezuka's Swallowing the Earth, Robert Crumb's Book of Genesis, and Bryan Talbot's Grandville. That's a pretty impressive list of books.

2. Could 2009 be the best year for comic books ever?

In addition to those six books I mentioned above, this year will see a glut of other incredible work published before it is over. How does the total output match up with other great years for comic books?

Just some fun things to ponder. But let's get back to the list:

Johnny Hiro, by Fred Chao

This book looks like a lot of fun, and Fred Chao even seemed to recognize my blog's name, which is always a plus. He also mooned over my copy of Asterios Polyp.

The Rack: Year One (Mostly), by Kevin Church and Benjamin Birdie

I'm very glad that I got to meet Kevin and Benjamin in person and pick up the first collection of their web comic.

Pretty Little Book, by Lucy Knisley

I really like Knisley's colored work. I got this instead of her awesome zombie poster, because I have children at home and can't really put something like that up on the wall. But that poster is great.

Egg #1, by Eric Skillman, Connor Willumsen, Jorge Coelho, Jhomar Soriano, Dan Duncan, and Joe Dellagatta

I have no idea what this is about, but I'm a sucker for crime comics.

Thought Cloud Shrines, by Theo Ellsworth

I think Ellsworth's drawings are fascinating, so I grabbed this 28-page collection.

That's it for my haul. As happened at SPX, I was pretty overwhelmed by the amount of incredible stuff available, and I could have spent many, many hundreds of dollars. But I think I came away with some great stuff, so I'm happy.

Finally, I'd like to thank my wife for watching the kids so that I could go and look at comic books all day. You rock.

RELATED: I wrote about my trip to SPX 2008.


  1. Matt and I are sitting here right now talking comics--just wanted to say what a pleasure it was to meet you and have a quick chat. Great book pull--we've got some serious overlap here at casa Factual.

  2. My pleasure. But for the love of God, you have to stop trying to make me look at what you bought...

  3. shoot i didn't know there was a theo minicomic.

  4. Great to see you there; I had an awesome time.

    You're right, this is an amazing year. Don't forget the Urasawa books, and Paul Pope still has Battling Boy upcoming, I believe. Also, something by Eddie Campbell, I think? And tons, tons more.

    Great pictures of you and your kids over there at your wife's blog, by the way. So cute!

  5. Alas! We never got to meet!

    Will you be doing another show this summer? I'd love to say hello.

  6. Tucker - Yep, it was great to meet you and your wife. Wish we'd had more time to talk before I had to run for that gyro and head home. By the way, I thoroughly enjoyed your write-up of MoCCA over at Comixology. (Soft City sounds incredible - I wish I'd seen it. Ah well.)

    Matt - It's much more fun to walk around a convention with someone who knows a ton about comics and has a solid sense of humor, so thanks for spending some time doing that with me. Also, I totally agree with your suggestions for the list; I had left the Urasawa books off the list because I wasn't sure how I felt about a serialized work taking "book of the year" honors, and I didn't mention Battling Boy because I haven't heard a peep about it in months and am starting to wonder if it is getting pushed back to next year. And I completely forgot about Eddie Campbell's Alec, which absolutely will be in the running. By the way, it's published by Top Shelf, which leads me to ...

    Leigh - Blast! For some reason, I didn't spend nearly as much time as I had wanted checking out Top Shelf's table; I think I was basically racing in a frenzy through the convention after a certain point, knowing I'd be leaving and wanting to see everything I could. Maybe next year...

  7. Thanks, Sandy! As for Campbell, I believe he has something else coming out this year, although I don't know the title off the top of my head. But I'm definitely excited about Alec too!