MoCCA, the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, held its annual fundraiser MoCCA Fest at the Lexington Ave Armory in NY on April 9th, 2011. Whether its animation, anime, cartoons, comic books & comic strips, political illustrations, editorial cartoons, caricatures, graphic novels, sports related cartoons, or computer-generated art, MoCCA strives to preserve, study, and educate everyone on cartoon art. Promoting the understanding and appreciation of this medium as well as its cultural and historical impact has always been MoCCA’s main mission. This year was the big 10th Anniversary for MoCCA, and to celebrate they invited over 10,000 guests to be a part of the celebration.
Just like the museum, MoCCA Fest is all about the artist and the art as opposed to the commercialism of bigger cons. MoCCA is mainly considered an indie con and the starting point for all cons in NY. This being my first MoCCA, it was amazing to see the amount of talent under one roof. It was the place to see up and coming artist as well as industry vets. While the same can be said about every artist alley at a comic con, you won’t find as much originality anywhere esle. Artist who aren’t published have a better environment to introduce to the public some amazing original ideas that would be overshadowed at regular comic book conventions. While some comic book stores do carry some indie titles, you can’t any more indie than MoCCA.
There were two floors to the MoCCA event, the first floor being held in the large gymnasium area belonged to the artist, the second the floor is where all the panels were being held. Being able to walk around wasn’t as bad as most cons. There were the occasional traffic jams, but instead of a jam being cause by a cosplayer it was the result of a crowd over looking an artist’s work. The lack of cosplay did not stop Brooklyn’s own Paige Pumphrey(Paigey!) from donning her Wonder Woman outfit on Saturday. So not only was her incredible work up on display, but you got to see a fantastic Wonder Woman outfit. Other artist included: Jennifer Crute who showcased her illustrated autobiography “Jennifer’s Journal; The Life of a SubUrban Girl” which depicted all the good and bad times she went through in life so far. Lena H. Chandhok promoting her “Abominable” and sharing a table with her was Paul Swartz with his book “Meet the Monsters: The Quirks of Creatures A to Z”. Xeric Award winner Ben Costa along with his award winning comic “Shi Long Pang, The Wandering Monk” and his “Team Iron Crotch” T-shirts.Industry veterans included: Chris G, the creator of G-Man and Mini Marvels; Jacob Chabot, creator of The Mighty Skullboy Army and X-Babies; Cliff Galbraith, creator of the Rat Bastard Comic and Shopasaurus & Friends(1978). The Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation , as part of Will Eisner Week, 2011, presented a screening of their award-winning Documentary “Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist,” followed by a special panel with the film’s makers, Andrew D. and Jon B. Cooke. They also brought with them the coveted Eisner Award to the show. The second floor of festival was where all the panels were taking place. Panels such as “MoCCA Presents: Carousel” where a group of cartoonists and voice actors performed live readings of comics. Other panels included “Gahan Wilson: Playboy & Beyond” a look at this artist’s career, “Teaching Comics” a panel about what makes comics worth teaching with guest from the School of Visual Arts, Jessica Abel and Tom Hart as well as Bill Kartalopoulos from Parsons and moderated by Karen Green from Columbia University. The Comic Book club also made an appearance and held a panel on current topics in the world of comic books. MoCCA is a great event for those in NY looking for a starting point to the con season. You gain a great deal of understanding and respect for the artist behind the work that we so love and adore. It’s a 2 day event that takes place every year in Brooklyn, and the proceeds go towards a great cause.