Before going into a con report, I’d like to personally thank every single person who came by our table and contributed to making this the most successful comic convention I’ve ever exhibited at (in over 14 years of doing comic shows!).
I love comics.
The MoCCA Art Fest felt like everything you want an awesome indy comics festival to be.
It built off the success of the past and keeps growing-–in controlled moderation. A lot of post con talk was about whether MoCCA jumped the Shark, whether because of the addition of Wizard and DC Comics, or because they had to take an elevator to see the rest of the show. I personally thought adding an extra floor was a great idea. Certainly preferable to moving the event to another location (which is always thrown around in these discussions). The Puck building is such a huge part of what makes MoCCA feel so different from other comic shows, even indy-centric ones like SPX and APE. People are just happy to be there in general and people new to the comics world are always impressed when they step through the Puck’s doors. The atmosphere is just completely charming and on a day as warm and beautiful as this past weekend, it’s borderline magical. Many artists I spoke with shared feelings of being swept up by all the creativity and inspiration on display. Even artists who felt out of the game were born again by the Mecca that is MoCCA.
Granted, that’s not to say every exhibitor had their best show ever. But most people still seemed in good spirits by the overall vibe of the show. And people with lots of new books on hand seemed to have the best advantage to clean up.
Of course since there had never been additional exhibitors on the 7th floor before, there was going to be some learning curves as people finally make their way up there. And it was definitely rewarding for all the people who eventually did—I ended up buying way more stuff from people on the 7th floor!
But obviously there is never any guarantee on what will impress people at a given moment in time. I talked to plenty of people who did great on both floors and plenty of people who did crap. 2 years ago I was buying stuff that looked really interesting and different…attracted to unusual design and packaging. This year I was looking for comics with actual stories in them and ignored a lot of stuff that I would have checked out in the past. I also was less likely to spend more than $3 on a mini-comic , no matter what kind of paper or printing process they used. But the great thing about MoCCA is there’s enough of pretty much every type of comic to appeal to people with all sorts of diverse tastes.
Bottom line, I was glad that there was more stuff to check out in general this year. The added 7th floor meant there was even more variety of material and gave people a reason to stick around longer. Because there’s only so many times you can pass by the same exhibitors without feeling a tint of embarrassment. An extra floor or panels around the corner are great ways to change it up and extend the fun.
It does suck that tables have gotten so expensive, but as long as the show is in NYC, that will always be a problem. I don’t know any shows where things have gotten cheaper. And no one really talks much about the small Midwest shows that have stayed small and intimate, except the people who live near them.
I’d rather MoCCA grow into something that allows more people to be exposed to great comics than it being just a place for indy cartoonists to trade books amongst themselves.
Although I’m glad that there’s still some great trades going on too and a sense of community among the artists. I love seeing so many of my friends all in one awesome pace. It’s less about competition and more like a giant hi-five of comics-making creativity!
Can’t wait for next year!