The webcomics blog about webcomics

Mostly MoCCA, Part One

Welp, we know why there wasn’t an xkcd on Friday; it’s because Randall Munroe was getting ready to unleash one of his toys on us in the form of xkcd #1663, a slow-moving utterly unique garden simulation where you get to position lights (including color and beam width) and see what grows. It may take hours to see stuff pop up, and no two runs will be the same. For reference, that image up top is from a stock reset of the toy, no messing, after about two hours.

It will take approximately forever to determine all the mechanisms of Garden, but right now it appears that yellow light is required for the short shrub-trees, tall spires, and birdbaths; blue light appears to be necessary for octopuses. Oh, and whatever browser glitch that caused my three-lamp, three-color, balanced layout to reset itself back to stock: you suck.

The rest of this post is the first part of Fleen’s roundup of this weekend’s MoCCA Festival, which I attended on Saturday.

  • As I mentioned in my pre-show discussion, a lot of the established webcomics crowd doesn’t do MoCCA anymore; I walked into the Metropolitan West facility¹ — a somewhat modern and spare space compared to last year’s Chelsea location² (then again, the sightlines were pretty good and the climate reasonable; it only really got stuffy for a short while in mid-afternoon, as the rain was ending and lots of damp bodies started to crowd the aisles) — only knowing one person that I expected to see on the floor: Evan Dahm.

    Evan’s deeply artistic, artfully-presented books are a natural for the MoCCA crowd, and he reported the show was going well. He let me know that he’s just approved the proofs for the second Vattu book, and we had a great conversation about the minutiae of that story, its ultimate length (four books), other projects he’s got in the pipeline (nothing I can tell you about at the moment), and our dogs. Mostly our dogs, truth be told.

  • Next to Dahm’s table I met Kathleen Kralowec, whose comics are maddeningly bright and intricate, the result of watercolor and marker and absolutely no fear of working in materials that don’t take kindly to mistakes. Check out The Lion And The Roc for a good example of what she’s capable of, and if you see her at a show be sure to pick it up in print, because it’s astoundingly gorgeous.

    It was about this time that I started talking up Pat Race’s Alaska Robotics MiniCon; assuming the first one breaks even and Race is crazy enough to run a show again next year, hopefully a lot of up-and-coming creators are willing to make their way to Juneau.

  • A mild correction, lest I leave you with the impression that I made a beeline to Dahm’s table first thing; he was fairly close the rear of the second floor, and while I did start there and work my way down, the first creator I encountered was actually Molly Ostertag of Strong Female Protagonist. We chatted briefly about how hers is the one story-centric webcomic that I cannot read update-to-update, or even chapter-to-chapter; I need to have big chunks of story to dig into, so I was thrilled to hear that the Kickstarter for the second SFP collection will launch this summer. Hooray!
  • I met Bill Roundy at MoCCA last year, and we spent a fair amount of time talking craft cocktails. As it turns out, he remembered me and we continued our discussion about the revival of a once-classic cocktail that had largely fallen by the wayside due to the discontinuation of a key ingredient.

    The Brooklyn is a delight (and strong!) mix of rye, maraschino, vermouth, and Amer Picon — a French aperitif that isn’t made any more. My regular bar found you can do a reasonable substitution with Torani Amer³ and flamed orange peel, but people that remember the old Amer Picon say it’s not quite the same.

    But there’s now a distillery that’s sourced the original ingredients and methods, and people who remember the old Amer Picon say that Golden Moon’s Amer Dit Picon is pretty much identical to the original; Roundy (being a man with his head screwed on straight) rightly sees this as a reason to celebrate, and hopefully The Brooklyn will become popular again.

    He may have had a flask for personal consumption with sharing offered to friends and fellow cocktail enthusiasts. I may be in a position to say that Roundy’s mixing skills are excellent. And it’s not up in his store yet, but his print Still Life With Potential Brooklyn (similar to these) is handsome and will soon be a gift to my regular bartender.

More on MoCCA 2106 tomorrow!

Spam of the day:

Commodities’ “Head-Smashed-In”

I hope that this has something to do with putting commodities barons on the receiving end of the famed Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump and reenacting how it got its name.

¹ After a 20 minute wait in the rain; give a venue security dude a short haircut, suit, and an earpiece and he’s gonna be forcefully shouty when he announces attendess have to leave the vestibule. Which on the one hand, fine, I can absolutely see that having the entrance crowded directly in front of one of the fire exits is an issue.

But on the other hand, it would have been much better to go with Ladies and gentlemen, I’m very sorry, I know it’s raining, but the City won’t allow us to have you stand here in front of the fire exits. If you’re not an exhibitor, please line up along the side of the building and try to stay dry instead of Attention, listen up, you have to leave the building now, unless you’re an exhibitor. Nobody is getting in until you all leave; you must line up in that direction [hand stabby gesture towards the USS Intrepid] now.

That second bit is not an exact quote, but I believe it captures the tenor of the announcement accurately.

² Which featured lots of natural light and roof access; on the other hand, the Chelsea site had a small footprint and required the use of a tight, steep stairway to navigate the upper three floors. MetWest only had two floor, and it was more spacious set of stairs, so that was nice.

³ The owner of the Torani company — they make all those flavored syrups you see in coffee bars — missed Amer Picon, so he came up with his best-effort recreation, which is the only alcoholic offering of the Torani company.

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