Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mocca 2008

This past weekend, Dave and I went to NYC for Mocca 2008. Rosie stayed home with Grandma for the 2 nights we were away (the longest we've both been away from her).
On Friday, we drove to Toronto and flew in to LaGuardia. There was apparently a lot of congestion at the New York aiport, so our flight was 2 hrs late which was too bad as that really cut into our bumming around the city time.

We stayed right near the Puck Building at a neat "boutique" hotel in Soho. The best part about it was that it had a rooftop patio which was a nice oasis in the middle of the city. That night for dinner we got takeout at the nearby Whole Foods and ate it overlooking the city.

Saturday we walked over to the show with friend and tablemate Frank Cammuso and his wife Ngoc. We had registered the night before so got to bypass the big line to get in. We were on the first floor luckily as it was nicely air-conditioned all weekend long. The folks on the 7th floor roasted under the skylights in the heat wave and I was glad to not be up there.

Things were slow to get started with the hall not really being full until 1:00 PM. This was my first ever Mocca and after hearing so many great things about it, I have to say I was a little discouraged with my sales. Usually I have pretty steady traffic and I was hoping since I was new to NYC I might do pretty well. This might have actually played against me though as I'm kind of unknown in the city. There was just so much good stuff on display to compete with people's attention.

There didn't seem to be a "book of the show", I kept looking at what was underneath people's arms and it really varied (or it was free stuff). Also it did really seem that people weren't spending as much as usual with a lot of people just picking up a few things or simply browsing. There was a lot of speculation of how this would bode for San Diego.

On Sunday, things did pick up. I think a lot of people had done their browsing and started buying. I think a lot of people bought their "big" books on Saturday as well like the Michel Gondry comic, the Lynda Barry book, the new Jason book, Chiggers, etc., so they were picking up smaller stuff that caught their eye on the Sunday. At 3:30, we had to leave the show a bit early to catch our flight back to Toronto and the timing worked out well for us as at about 3:15, show organizers started evacuating the building because of a fire alarm. It meant that I literally threw the contents of my table into my suitcase and we walked quickly out of the building. Gentleman that he is, Frank helped us with our bags and hailed a cab for us. We hopped in and left hundreds of people on the sidewalk in the burning sun as fire engines wailed all around us. It was a very surreal ending to the show.

All in all, I did about 20% of the sales I did at TCAF - still my best and favourite show. SPX is a solid #2. I don't know if I would go back to Mocca, I might like to try Indie Island first. Mocca does take place in NYC though which is awesome but also expensive. As usual, the best part of the show for me was chatting with friends and meeting new ones.

Here are Highlights of the Weekend:
  • Hanging out with Frank and Ngoc.
  • Meeting Lark Pien and Thien Pham and enjoying a great Thai dinner with them and the group.
  • Seeing and chatting to US-based pals Cecil Castellucci & Jillian Tamaki.
  • Catching up with the with fabulously talented Toronto crowd (a big contingent of which came out for Mocca): Jeff Lemire, Willow Dawson, Stef Lenk, Tyrone and Alana McCarthy, Mariko Tamaki, Blake Bell, Jeet Heer, and the inimitable Steve Manale.
  • Talking to R.Sikoryak and his wife at Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly's rooftop patio party.
  • Drinking belgian beer with Dave on our hotel rooftop overlooking the NY city skyline.

Comics Purchased
Usually I buy comics throughout a show from the money I make from my sales. Since sales were lower this year, I bought less stuff sadly...

  • Freddie & Me - Mike Dawson. This is THE book I wanted to pick up at the show. I really like Mike's stuff.
  • Knights of the Lunch Table - Frank Cammuso. Of course I had to pick this up! I read it on the plane on the way home and it's really meaty with great artwork and storytelling.
  • Laika, Missouri Boy and Notes for a War Story all from First Second.
  • Mini-comics by Jeff Lemire.
  • Full Night Moon - Lark Pien.
  • Vertigo had free advance copies of every new book in their Minx line and I picked up Emiko Superstar and Janes in Love (Also read on the plan ride back. A great GN, I liked the first one and this one is even better!).

If I had more money and room in my luggage I would have picked up something by Will Dinski & Super Spy by Matt Kindt. Ah well, it's hard to get everything you want...