I’ve always more or less enjoyed the MoCCA festival, but I’ve never walked away feeling as if though I had been through a completely gratifying experience. The reasons for that are unimportant right now, but they are in direct contrast to this year’s experiences. I met as lot of new cartoonists, caught up with the familiars, and bought/glanced at tons of cool new work.
Early on, I got Pood #1. Every artist in this newspaper format comic really complement one another. That’s pretty impressive given how distinctive every cartoonist is and how muddled a collective’s identity can get.
I quickly went and got some new mini comics by Chris Sinderson. He was selling cookies, too. He’s got a collaboration with writer Tim Hall going called Haberdash, but Second Chance Vance is his main comic and is continuing over at his blog.
Got to meet Benjamin Marra, too. It was great chatting it up with him about old artists, good comics, and bad contracts, (among other things). I bought a couple of books from him and he gave me some free, cool stuff. A couple of the books I bought were the anthology books, Mammal.
The Mammal crew was there: Jim Cooke, Devin Clark, Dan Meth, and Matt Dorfman were all hawking their wares. From their table, I also got the Super Right-ons #1 anthology zine, edited by Harris Smith and the great Claire Donner. Good stuff in there.
There were some interesting panels all weekend, but the only one I had the chance to attend was the Hernandez/Miller/Baker/Pope/Haspiel one. You’d think that an hour would go by with just an overview of the panelists, but the discussion was lively and pretty funny at times. Moderator Jeff Newelt did a fine job of juggling the questions. The theme of the panel was superheroes, which is just about the only thing that would connect those particular cartoonists.
Jaime Hernandez was the only one who probably didn’t comfortably fit with that line up, actually. Outside of the fact that he has drawn capes and underwear on people, Jaime’s entire aesthetic approach couldn’t be more different from the other panelists. They’re all different from one another, of course, but everything from Jaime’s narrative structure to his themes are at odds with everyone else’s.
Not long after the mega-panel, and to my delight, I ran into Jaime. We spoke about Kirby’s efficiency & beauty, craft, anti-craft, and buying comics from the local 7-11.
[This one pager from the benefit anthology Strip AIDS is a favorite of mine.]
Due to his inclusion in the previously mentioned panel, we talked a little about his creative approach, and how I believe his writing is overshadowed by his art in the public’s eye. Jaime captures the subtleties of human behavior and emotion perfectly through the combination of his excellent, underrated writing and impeccable art. That… that thing in his work… that profoundly insightful point of view is what makes it timeless, and so I said that I found it weird to hear him describe in recent interviews that his work as outdated. He clarified by saying that HE doesn’t feel outmoded, but just that the new generation of kids are interested in other things… not in down-to-earth stories. There are many works that may be pushing the form visually, but I find a lot of those stories self conscious, sometimes pretentious, and mostly thin. That human element that’s derived from personal experience is the one thing missing from a lot of modern storytelling, spanning all mediums and genres. It seems as if though that’s always been the case, and Jaime has been fighting an uphill battle since the beginning of his career.
Forgive the rant, dear reader, but it’s not every day I get to meet one of the people who has influenced me as much as Jaime Hernandez has. I could’ve gone home right there. But I went on…
Met up with Marc Sobel. I got a bunch of his mini comics and chatted with him for a few hours. He told me about his plans for the Love & Rockets companion book. It sounds massive and extremely well researched. That kind of scrutiny can sometimes kill my interest level for the work itself, but Love & Rockets is the only series I can think of worthy of such dissection. Check out Marc’s blog to keep updated for the project and buy some of his minis.
I briefly stopped by Mike Bertino’s table and wanted to get Shitbeams on the Loose but was out of cash. Next time! I did, however, get to meet Adam Roth, a great illustrator whom I can’t wait for him to draw some comics.
I still feel like I didn’t really scour every table. It was a huge show that felt small, or a small show that felt huge. So, yeah, it was fun… who’da thunk it? HUH!