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Mostly MoCCA, Part Two

Yes, there are other things to mention, such as the news that TCAF announced another six guests (including Gene Luen Yang), and Christopher Hastings is getting another Marvel miniseries. Those are good bits of news, go revel in their newness.

  • Probably nobody on the floor of MoCCA Fest has had as precipitous an upward trajectory as Noelle Stevenson; I first met her two years back when Lumberjanes #1 was fresh on the shelves and Nimona was not yet nominated for the National Book Award or optioned for the big screen. I asked her how she follows all of that up and she mentioned she has a book in development with HarperCollins called Four Wizards¹, as well as a second project she can’t talk about yet. I told her something I told a number of creators — I can’t wait to see what she’s doing in five year, ten years, because she’s just getting better.
  • Despite the presence of a booth helper with a name tag reading Gina Gagliano, the beating heart of :01 Books (and the woman who sends me enough review copies to drown an average-size ten year old) was repping the imprint in Houston during MoCCA weekend; no matter, as the booth was in the good hands of Danielle Ceccolini.

    Ms Ceccolini came on board in 2014 to replace departing book designer Colleen AF Venable; print lead times being what they are, it’s only been in the last six months or so that I’ve seen Ceccolini’s name in :01’s offerings, so we’re just starting to get a sense of how strong her designs are (especially given that a number of her designs have been on continuing series — such as The Olympians or Glorkian Warrior — that had an established look and feel).

    Case in point: Faith Erin Hick’s The Nameless City (out today), which sports an absolutely gorgeous design to go with the engaging story. If you ever wanted to read a graphic novel (for, let’s say, tweens and up) that reminds you of all the best parts of Jeff Smith, Hayao Miyazaki, Gene Yang, and Kazu Kibuishi in one book, this is the one for you. Or rather, the first of three for you, since it’s a planned trilogy.

    Between that deal, the numerous Yang offerings each year (including the Secret Coders series with Mike Holmes, second volume due soon), and the Science Comics line, it seems like :01 is on track for a good deal more ambitious a release schedule than their recent history of 18 – 22 books a year. It’s a hell of a lot of work for four people, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see that they need more hands to keep their well-deserved reputation for quality.

  • Ken Wong was somebody I’d intended to go see on the floor, as the description of his origami comics — comics where the physical, three-dimensional presentation becomes part of the story — intrigued the hell out of me. As it turned out, I walked by his table somehow not noticing the enormous ORIGAMI COMICS banner, but my eye was caught by the cover of what turned out to be the single nerdiest comic I’ve ever read: Bonetti’s Defense — I Know Something You Don’t Know About Swordplay In The Princess Bride. It’s exactly what it says on the cover: a picking-apart of the slight dialogue (and careful choreography) of the epic duel between Inigo Montoya and the Man In Black on top of the Cliffs of Insanity.

    Drawing on what I’d always assumed to be throwaway names (in the screenplay and the original book), Wong finds the historical Bonetti, Capo Ferro, Thibault, and Agrippa and talks about why their teachings are appropriate to the scene in question. And because anything nerdy that you’re nerding out over can never have too much nerding, he finds likely historical referents for fencing masters McBone, Sainct, MacPherson, and Morozzo. Wong even figures out who the most probable inspiration for the Dread Pirate Roberts was.

    It’s not necessary to read Bonetti’s Defense to enjoy everybody’s favorite movie², but it gives a sense of satisfaction to realize how much William Goldman, Rob Reiner, swordmaster Bob Anderson, and everybody else cared to make things right even if only one guy in Brooklyn would ever realize how right they were.

  • Not far from Wong’s table, I did the I was going to look for you and didn’t realize you were here and something on the table caught my eye deal a second time, when I came across Azure. In this case, the catch-my-eye factor was provided by a stack of onesies with dinosaurs on them.

    I’m very sorry to say that I can’t find a link on Azure’s site for these because they are adorable and my gosh, did I just have a grand-nephew born like ten days ago? I believe I did, and young Collin is going to be well-equipped with a dinosaur onesie and small prints with dinosaurs on them because you can never start a love affair with dinosaurs too early.

  • There were students everywhere. I saw tables either officially representing schools, or filled with students who came from particular schools but not in an official capacity, including (but likely not limited to) Parsons, FIT, Pratt, SVA, Syracuse, CCS, Moore, and at least one high school club.

    The students themselves ran the gamut from shy and retiring to immensely outgoing; from art student chic to lacking even one piercing or visible tattoo; their work fell into every conceivable genre and style, from I’m mostly inspired by what’s on Crunchyroll this month but haven’t quite figured out anatomy yet to a noir mystery starring snails³.

    But there was one (from the far lands of Minneapolis) that stood out from her contemporaries; her work had an assurance, a confidence that I wouldn’t have expected from one so young (and who had only been doing comics for about three years). One whose work I realized I had seen before and (foolishly) had not bookmarked at the time. One who has Big Things happening in the immediate future, and whose future work I am looking forward to as much as Noelle Stevenson’s, one who I think is going to make as big a splash in the industry as Stevenson, Hicks, Telgemeier, or Larson.

    But I’m over 1000 words as it is, so come back tomorrow and we’ll talk about Rosemary Valero-O’Connell.

Spam of the day:

Diffuse threats with this recently released technology

You mean I should make them ever less and less concentrated, until they are spread over such a large volume as to be indetectable? Or given the rather rah-rah tactical machismo of your imagery, did you mean defuse? Either way, it’s just a damn flashlight, bunky.

¹ Or possibly 4 Wizards, or For Wizards; it was noisy and I didn’t ask her to spell it.

² Oh hush, you know it is.

³ The same creator’s other works were all shiny and sparkly, which prompted me to suggest that to my knowledge, nobody has yet combined noir story structures with the Lisa Frank aesthetic and she should get right on that.

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