One of my favorite conventions every year is the MoCCA Festival here in New York City, which gathers comic creators and publishers from the small-press, indie-oriented and online sides of the industry for a two-day show hosted by the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art.
While last year's show yielded a big scoop on the movie side (Top Shelf told me that Alex Robinson's "Too Cool To Be Forgotten" had been optioned), conversation was firmly focused on comics this time around — though I did get a little info about an upcoming comic tie-in with M. Night Shyamalan's "The Last Airbender" adaptation.
Here are some of this year's MoCCA highlights for me:
— One of my first stops on the convention floor was the table for Top Shelf Productions, where I met two of the comic creators responsible for the publisher's recently announced "Swedish Invasion" line. Mats Jonsson ("Hey Princess") and Kolbeinn Karlsson ("The Troll King") were on hand to sign copies of their books, and I ended up picking up the remaining two (Simon Gardenfors' "The 120 Days of Simon" and Niklas Asker's "Second Thoughts") as well. Sunday's beautiful weather prompted me to finish all four books in 24 hours — and I'll have a roundup on the site here soon.
"120 Days of Simon" was especially interesting, as it follows Swedish rapper/cartoonist Simon Gardenfors as he travels around Sweden for 120 days, staying with anyone who agrees to provide dinner and a place for him to sleep.
— Award-winning creator Hope Larson brought along copies of "Mercury," her new book that was announced at last year's show and hit shelves just a few days ago. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but the ever-reliable Gary Tyrrell at Fleen.com tells me it's a worthy follow-up to "Chiggers," her acclaimed 2008 graphic novel.
— Last year, my favorite on-a-whim purchase was the first issue of Thomas Hall and Daniel Bradford's "Robot 13" (voted MTV's "Best Under-The-Radar Series Of 2009"). This time around, it was a print and collection of Aaron Costain's "Entropy." After reading through the first two volumes I picked up, I'm not sure I understand what's going on in the series — but I absolutely love the way it looks. The series wasn't on my radar beforehand, but a certain print caught my eye as I was walking by the table, and I ended up leaving with both the print and all four collections of the comic that he had on hand.
— I spent some time chatting with Dave Roman, who created the "X-Men: Misfits" manga with co-writer Raina Telgemeier and artist Anzu. He's working on an upcoming manga adaptation of "The Last Airbender" that will hit shelves in June, and a prequel manga focusing on the fire-bending Prince Zuko due out in May. Keep an eye on Splash Page for more info on both these projects, as we should have some great stuff coming up down the road.
— I also got my first look at "Goats: Showcase Showdown," the third collection of Jon Rosenberg's brilliant webcomic. If you get a chance to check it out, do so — and be sure to check out the back cover for a quote by yours truly. I'm an unabashed fan.
— By far the biggest disappointment of the show was narrowly missing a chance to pick up one of "Creatures in my Head" creator Andrew Bell's vinyl Android figures. I walked by the table once, planning to pick one up on my next pass, and by the time I returned they were all sold out. There's a part of me that wanted to drop my knees, raise my fists at the sky, and scream, "Nooooooooooo!!!" But it was really crowded in there, so I didn't.
— I also picked up a few books from the table of publisher First Second, whose "Prime Baby" graphic novel hits shelves this week, collecting Gene Yang's serialized strip that debuted in "The New York Times Magazine." At first glance, the story of a young boy who discovers his new sister is not the block-chewing baby she appears to be seemed like it skewed a little young, but after reading through the first third of the book, it's impressed the heck out of me.
And that's about it for this year's MoCCA, folks. I heard rumors of a Frank Miller sighting, but can't confirm that the "Sin City" creator ever ventured from the auditorium to the show floor. However, I can confirm that good times were had with a great cross-section of comics people.
See you next year, MoCCA!
Were you at the show? What were some of the highlights for you? Let us know what you think in the comment section or on Twitter!