This is what $200 in small press books and art looks like. While I had every intention in the world to hit another ATM machine and deplete my savings completely, I found myself inexorably drawn to a few items that I had to immediately purchase and take home with me for inspiration. I can’t feel guilty about spending such a large sum of money on art, because my heart is in the same place as these aspiring and inspired artists, and hope that someone will one day come along to my own MOCCA table and chat me up about artwork and drop a few bucks on me.
I had planned on purchasing a whole bunch of sketches and original art, but the only original art item that I purchased was this panel from Matt Kindt’s Super Spy. Very interestingly, Kindt originally published Super Spy in a digital format, and panel by panel. These panels could be viewed online or downloaded to a PSP for your viewing pleasure. The completed book assembled this huge collection of panels onto multi-panel pages, along with additional panels to adjust the comic’s pacing and format. All of the individual panels were for sale, though, in a small box on Kindt’s table and for only $30 each. I rifled eagerly through them as we discussed the differences between approaching a comic panel-by-panel as opposed to page-by-page, and I eventually settled on an image of three frog men riding an underwater missile, painted in black and sepia and wonderfully graceful and fun. I’d seen his work profiled in art magazines before, so it was a pleasure to speak with him about it and see it firsthand. Everything looks better in its original form.
In addition to the original painting, I purchased three sizable anthologies from other tables. The Annotated Wondermark, which is an online comic I’m fond of, uses royalty-free, turn-of-the-century styled clip art to tell its often hilarious tales in strip form. ‘Out Of The Woods’ is the School of Visual Arts‘ 2006 cartooning class portfolio and features a great collection of student art. I’d spent some time at their table lamenting the fact that I didn’t go to a ‘real’ college and surely boring the pants off of them. ‘Muscles and Fights’ was being sold at Zander Cannon‘s table, a man who has the coolest name in all of comicdom. The book presents a collection of artists working under the theme of, simply, ‘muscles and fights’, and prompted by a conversation with a comic fan which used the phrase disparagingly, again illustrating the strange crevasse between ‘mainstream’ and ‘indie’ comics.
‘Life Meter‘ is a much smaller anthology of comics, again by a wide variety of artists and in many styles, all focused around the theme of video games. In the same vein as the annual I Am 8-Bit art show, artists deliver a single image or a few pages of an imagined narrative involving their favorite video game. After two issues, it sent my nostalgia into high gear, as the artists really picked up on the surreal video game quirks and logic – things that are nestled into my brain from those early years. Where DID Abobo go when you knocked him off of the conveyor belt? What does a Lakitu do all day? It’s great stuff.
My love of vinyl records was sated over at Jim Campbell‘s table. In addition to various comics, he had the Numark PT-01 set up, playing his 45-sized records, which were actually recorded at 33 RPM speed (to maximize play time, no doubt). I purchased both Paper Fleet‘s ‘Trapped Inside’, along with a split 7” between Ancient Justice and The Ottomen. These came with uniquely handprinted covers and xeroxed comics inside, relating to the songs on the album itself.
Such were the items of note that I managed to get my hands on. Along with some beautiful mini-comics by Nate Doyle, Rosemary Mosco, Mark Burrier, the team at Calavera Comics (who couldn’t make change of a $20, but gave me an awesome poster to make up the difference), and the countless other artists who took the time to talk to me even though I couldn’t buy anything. The MOCCA Fest was an inspiring, comfortable, and well-run success. It comes with my full endorsement, and if I’m lucky, I might even have a table set up there next year. Be sure to swing on by and shower me with adulation and dollar bills.