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MoCCA 2019, Part 1

[Editor’s note: This has only the slightest bit to do with MoCCA, but it’s time-sensitive. Zach Weinersmith & Bryan Caplan’s graphic novel on immigration releases in October, but it’s available for pre-order starting today. As in the past, Weinersmith is angling to prevail on the Amazon algorithm and offering up rewards for those that do preorder.]

Today’s theme on the happenings at MoCCA Festival 2019 is what people are working on, on account of I ran into a lot of people working on a lot of things. This isn’t necessarily chronological, so don’t look for a consistent passage of time.

  • Before I even made it inside on Saturday morning, I ran into Magnolia Porter and Tom Siddell (both of whom are killing it on their respective comics right now), and they’re working on their new, shared life as married folks. It’s a long way from the UK to Brooklyn, but they’ve got tablet, network, and each other. You will seriously not ever see anything more adorable — I am including sleepy puppies trying to keep their heads from drooping in this statement — than newlywed Porter gleefully introducing Siddell to somebody as my husband. I love those crazy kids.
  • In the opening minutes, I also ran into Calista Brill, editorial supremo at :01 Books, who is working on everything — walking the aisles trying to determine who should be on her radar, keeping to the ambitious release schedule (they’ve gone from about two dozen books a year to more than twice that in less than two years), launching at least two, maybe three new lines in the space of a year¹ … they’re on the verge of world domination but too busy to slow down for the customary Mwah-ha-ha-ha!
  • Just as well they haven’t declared victory, really, since Gina Gagliano is less than nine months from Random House Graphic‘s debut year, with twelve books on the slate and announcements reaching out to 2023, if I’ve paid attention. Less than a year ago, she was thrown into a new job without a staff, an office, or time to catch her breath before having to develop things like a marketing budget (for books that didn’t exist and had no deliverable date because she didn’t yet have any creators under contract yet), and now she can see things starting to happen. Preview material for sales folks, printing press time and shipping containers coming together, all the logistics that assure yes, this is real.
  • Evan Dahm is going to be able to show off three, four new books over the coming year; Island Book is just over a month from release, Vattu’s third collection is approaching delivery, and he’s in the final stages of a project for Iron Circus called The Harrowing Of Hell, about what happened to Jesus for those days between crucifixion and resurrection; there’s going to be a collection of shorter works as well. Somewhat appropriately, Dahm will be finishing Harrowing just as Easter approaches; with printing lead times, I’d expect it to release (also appropriately) sometime in the Lenten season next year.

    Asked about what public domain book he’d like to adapt next, he allowed that he’d like to take a shot at The Worm Ouroboros by ER Eddison, but he may be a while before he gets to it; you can’t help but notice that nice, big 1 at the top of the spine of Island Book, so I’m guessing he might be a bit spoken for for the next while.

  • Rosemary Valero-O’Connell is working on saying No for a while. Her debut longform work, Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me (words by Mariko Tamaki; I’ve been reading it obsessively since I got a review copy on Friday), hits in four weeks, and making a 250-plus page book in just about a year, while working on other items at the same time, would tax anybody. After some downtime, she gets to start work on her second longform work, one that she’ll be writing as well as drawing. I’ve said ever since I met her that she would produce astonishing work and just keep getting better; so far, it looks like I’ve been right.
  • Colleen AF Venable² has plenty to keep her busy, too. Kiss Number 8 is so, so good³, and her gig directing art for Odd Dot is starting to pay off. I told her that the ringbound easelback presentation for Code This Game! made me angry, because I wanted that innovation to have existed for my college years; she heaped praise on her staff member (she called him one of my inventors) that came up with that design in 30 seconds with an X-Acto) and I begged her to license it. Apparently, every imprint up and down the Flatiron Building is asking if they can use that innovation (I really hope that includes all their cookbooks) and she’s more than happy to share. She’s just happy, period. Collen AF Venable has the proportional happiness of a spider that’s really, really happy.

    And all of that is before she gets to her own books — she’ll be doing a Maker Comic and she’s got a superhero story that sounds brilliant and hilarious and brilliant again, one that will hit right in the spot that the Minx line failed to capitalize on a dozen years back.

  • I’d never met Tea Fougner in person before; we wound up geeking out over how wonderful Olivia Jaimes has been on Nancy for the past year. She hopes that seeing the tremendous interest shown in a nearly century-old property will make it easier when she argues to her bosses that she needs to be able to revitalize some of King Feature’s legacy strips with bold returns to what made them great.

    The tributes to Popeye are a start, but we agreed that she needs to just hand that strip over to Randy Milholland and then let him go to town. Either that, or she needs to hop to Disney, work her way up to the appropriate place, and then hand Duckville to Milholland and likewise let him go to Duckburg.

You know what? At least four more people to talk about in this context, plus all the new creators I met for the first time, and we’re over 1000 words. More tomorrow.

Spam of the day:

300Mbps Universal Wi-Fi Range Extender

You’re trying to claim if I plug your thing in the wall, it will not only extend the range of my wifi, but magically increase its speed from 8Mbps to 300? Get outta here with that noise.

¹ 2019 saw the start of the Maker Comics line, early next year will see the civic engagement line, World Citizen Comics (of which Weinersmith & Caplan’s book is less a member, more a precursor), and I heard rumors of a history line in the works.

² She gave me her current business card which notes, Yup, That’s My Real Middle Name.

³ Despite some folk asking if it matters that they didn’t read the first 7.

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