The webcomics blog about webcomics

Anne’s MoCCA Recap (Or, Things That Are Funny Mustaches!)

There are loads of MoCCA recaps out there (go look at the funny mustache picture on that last post) to read and see. I thought I might take a slightly different tack with this week’s column. It’s less about the hi-jinx and more about what gets people through the door. When I got on the train in New Haven on Saturday morning, I wondered how long it would take before I saw someone else heading to MoCCA. Not very long after, a guy got on the train a wearing a Diesel Sweeties t-shirt, and at the Prince Street subway stop I saw a kid in a Books Rule t-shirt.

I’d never been to MoCCA before, and I actually found it kind of overwhelming; it was hot and crowded and loud, and, of course, great fun. Admittedly, I walked in a little rattled, discovering the person just ahead of me in the entry queue, who I’d not seen in years, was the last boy to break my heart (the beer I was handed somewhat shortly after lessened this weirdness substantially). I managed to navigate my way upstairs to the 7th floor to the Trees and Hills table before finding a map to the place.

Spread out over three rooms of varying sizes, plus another room seven floors above the main floor, MoCCA felt kind of like SPX but larger and more chaotic somehow. Maybe it was because everything seemed kind of on top of everything else (literally and figuratively, I guess, with this year’s addition of the 7th floor tabling space), or because the tables were close together or the lighting low. But the traffic on the main floor didn’t seem to slow at any point when I wandered through. However, it had a similar vibe to SPX; there were still folks walking about who didn’t have tables but wanted to trade minicomic print versions of their webcomics, and there were loads more people in attendance than listed in the program, what with all the folks sharing tables. And, of course, there were just folks looking to trade, including Suzanne Shaver who did this cool comic called The Cat Nap, and Kenan Rubenstein’s TICK, which is this amazing high-production values comic done up to evoke the feel of a calendar.

Interestingly, most of the major names in webcomics were all placed spitting distance from each other in the far end of one room on the main floor; I don’t know if that was a request on their collective parts or if the MoCCA organizers just thought it made more sense that way or if that’s just how it happened in past years. It has advantages and disadvantages, or course, kind of across the board for everyone involved. Part of what made the Boston Zine Fair so much fun was because, basically, I was tabling across or next to five different people I knew. For fans, it’s an advantage, obviously. You wanna see webcomics creators? Well, here’s about 12 of them in about a fifteen-foot radius from where you’re standing; where d’ya wanna start?

The downside was that it was a total bottleneck when I stopped by and I actually skipped a couple of tables because I just couldn’t get to them and it was totally crowded and overwhelming. I should have gone back later, but by the end of the day I was pretty well burned out. By the end of the day I’d seen about everyone I’d wanted to see (except for Pat Lewis, who I missed somehow, and the above caveat), picked up a number of new books, discovered that there is in fact a webcomic I like less in print than online (bit of a shocker for me to discover), and got a nod from Morgan Spurlock as he walked by (admittedly, I was standing there distractedly thinking, mouth agape, Woah! That’s Morgan Spurlock!–there are people who can attest to it). And I got to meet Jeffrey Brown, who I worry thinks I’m kind of a freak.

Still, it all got me wondering about how much of that kind of stuff is part of the attraction of events such as MoCCA. Much of my enjoyment came from meeting other artists and talking to them, and seeing what kinds of things they’re creating (silkscreened covers seem perpetually popular). I enjoyed catching up with other minicomics folks who I know and meeting some new folks, like Sarah Morean, who I’d only known before through their work. It’s always inspiring to me to see how other people assemble their comics and how they’re printed and so forth, and to be able to ask the folks who made ‘em how they did it. For webcomics, as with any other media, it’s good business for creators to come across as nice, acknowledge their readership, and so forth. But as artists, it’s also likely cool for these creators to talk shop with people who like and know their work (I write this mostly because I find it to be true in my own experience).

One of the things to which I was most looking forward was walking around sort of incognito (though after Gary’s recent post I might not be able to sneak about quite so much) just to see what folks look like. Even though there are a number of webcomickers who are fairly involved with their fan base, there’s still a world of difference between having a conversation on a blog versus a conversation and interacting with them face to face, or even just seeing what they look like in person. Now, this is clearly not something particular to the Internet or to webcomics, though I think it has a particular resonance for webcomics. I’m still thinking through why, but I suspect part of it has very much to do with the delivery system—there’s an immediacy to reading a webcomic (especially daily-updating ones), but there’s also the simultaneous remove of it being on the internet (which gives the work in question a much less tactile, if also not less tangible, feel). Folks joke about things on the internet being “less real� somehow, even though there’s loads of evidence to the contrary. People are loathe, somehow, to admit that they met online. Even works like “friend� become stratified (as in, “You friended me on [insert name of social networking site here]�).


Ambrose Burnside was at MoCCA? Now I totally feel bad for skipping it.

[…] another hills and trees cartoonist, (and tick’s first public admirer) anne thalheimer, was in town with an array of charming little minis, covering such varied and […]

[…] another hills and trees cartoonist, (and tick’s first public admirer) anne thalheimer, was in town with an array of charming little minis, covering such varied and […]

[…] another hills and trees cartoonist, (and tick’s first public admirer) anne thalheimer, was in town with an array of charming little minis, covering such varied and […]

[…] another hills and trees cartoonist, (and tick’s first public admirer) anne thalheimer, was in town with an array of charming little minis, covering such varied and […]

RSS feed for comments on this post.