Well, that was fun. Fun doesn’t begin to describe it, actually. Good, encouraging, friendly, busy, exhausting, interesting… Keren Katz and I had a great time, to say the least.
This was the first MOCCA thrown by the Society of Illustrators, so there was a lot different: big red curtains dividing the aisles (which cut down a lot of anxiety – someone pointed out this was the first time they could actually hear each other during the show, since the curtains acted like a sound buffer. The curtains also made it easier to focus on the tables, since they weren’t competing with the rest of the con spread out in the background). There was a gallery with incredible art: original Mike Mignola! R.Sikoryak! and two of my classmates, Maëlle Doliveux and Natalya Balnova! There was food! Cafes and little tables for people to sit and decompress without fleeing the building.
Best of all, there were so many people to talk with. One of the best things these cons do, when they work well, is define and reinforce an idea of community. Which is to say, make you feel like you’re part of something. Connie Sun put it well:
I felt like there were more people coming over and chatting, both friends and unfamiliar folks, than in previous MOCCAs, much like what happens at SPX. And that was the best part. It’s sappy, but if you told me 5 years ago that I’d go to MOCCA and see so many great friends and people I admire to talk to, I wouldn’t have believed it.
Some other highlights: table-neighbor Emma T. Capps (who is 16-yrs old and fantastic). Running into Dan Strauss and Jon Lewis (it’s been too long). Getting gorgeous books like Carrier Pigeon Vol.2 Issue 4 and B&F by Gregory Benton among others. Talking to Pat Dorian about his Grand Comics Festival (coming up in June). Meeting Mo Willems (!) and several other comics/picture book heroes who made my head explode. The Comixology/The Beat afterparty and talking with all the nice people who came by to look at the table. Keren sold her collections of short stories (along with a don’t-miss-guide-to-the-top-stones-in-Jerusalem) and Alexander Rothman sold his newest poetry comic, Evidence.
Another surprising and amazing thing was that Andrew Jackson Throws a Punch won a MOCCA Award! That was crazy. It was great to see my friend, Kenan Rubenstein win one too for his gorgeous Last Train to Old Town.
So, in conclusion: thank you!