Well, some sticks were cleared, some paints were applied, some lettering was done, some cleaning was done, but not a huge amount of any one of those. The weekend was a little lost, as Jim Doller and I went to MOCCA. Had a really good time, too - if there's ever a person to go to a comic convention with... fuck it, if there's ever a person to go to any convention with, it's Jim. He's always got goals and a strategy in place to meet them.
This time around, his goal was to finally get a chance to chat with Frank Miller after he stupidly (Jim's own choice of words) ignored one back in the 90's, as well as to get Miller and David Mazzuchelli to sign something. I had thought that would be a difficult proposition, since it wasn't that kind of convention, but Jim is able to approach these icons without any hint of bad attitude and (and this bit is important) any hint of the self-loathing I usually project, so they always respond positively. I contributed my bit by recognizing Mazzuchelli on the floor. My exact words were, after walking past a pale, gangly guy with big glasses, bigger hair and a day-glo pantsuit, 'That guy looks Mazzuchelliesque.'
The MOCCA Con was held at an armory on Lexington Ave., between 25th & 26th Streets, so we got to watch various National Guard regiments march around while we waited to be let in.
My own reasons for going were fairly diffuse. If by 'fairly diffuse,' you read 'none whatsoever,' that is. I'm generally not a con guy - but given that the last three conventions I attended were pretty fun experiences, maybe I should rethink that. I hadn't really considered going, but with Yesenia away and a nice day out, and not wanting to hang around the house all day and also having to be at a dinner party in Fort Washington later in the afternoon made me realize that my reasons for not going were far lousier than any reasons to go, so I went.
Kalliope asked me about it - and if I saw Kate Beaton - after the fact, and here's what I wrote to her:
"Very crowded, after a while (Jim & I got there an hour before it opened, and the line kept coming in even by the time we went back out for lunch two hours later. A lot of fun - I'm now looking forward to SPX.
I hadn't realized Kate Beaton was going to be there. Jim and I did the rounds four or five times, and there was only one table that had a line. The last time around, we both wondered who the line was for - it was a little difficult to see, since the line was blocking the guest. Then we passed by, and I was looking for literally a second - from about fifteen feet away, at this point - and I realized it was Beaton while simultaneously, she looked away from who she was talking to and scowled right at me, like, 'yes, can I HELP you?!' Nice.
Best moment was the panel we (verrrrrrry luckily) attended, in the small, crowded basement room - Paul Pope, Frank Miller, Kyle Baker, Jaime Hernandez and Dean Haspiel (kind of the ringer of the bunch). Very entertaining and enlightening, and Miller went a long way towards redeeming himself in my eyes.
I didn't have a lot of spending money on me, and I spent it sort of stupidly - Fantagraphics had a table, and they had a bunch of stuff I 'needed' - 'Ganges' 2 & 3 and 'Tales Designed to Thrizzle.' If I'd thought it out, I would have waited and bought that stuff at their website and spent more on some smaller artists, but I have to say, there wasn't a lot there that really distinguished itself - too many younger cartoonists are now drawing in an approximation of the Craig Thompson style. That is, simplified design and heavy use of blacks, all in thick brushwork. I'm sure that all of it would be good on its own, but a roomful of it is no good for the cartoonists or the consumer, really.
We went out for those Vietnamese Baugettes. Awe. Some."
The one spanner in the day came when Jim and I were supposed to meet up with John Nora. By the time John texted me that he'd gotten to the convention, Jim and I were down in the basement, quite literally two people away from getting into the aforementioned panel.* The signal - unsurprisingly - was too weak to let me send a text back to John to let him know where we were. I felt badly, but I also knew that he'd understand there was no way in Hell I was going to leave that line. Thankfully, the panel was brief, and John's astute enough to have guessed where we were.
Afterwards, my advice got us stuck in traffic going east on Houston and north on the FDR, perhaps karma for allowing me to be smug about being right about a whole host of other issues during the day. Jim dropped John and I off at Homeira's apartment for a dinner party with a guest list consisting entirely of middle-aged mathematicians, but I had a good time anyway, and I hope John did, as well.
All in all, a good day.
*The panel was about 'Personal Visions in Superhero Comics' or somesuch bullshit like that. I have to say, I am impressed with the equity with which MOCCA views creators both in and out of the mainstream. In the basement outside the panel room were posters from previous years, with a Todd MacFarlane Spawn looming over a neon MOCCA logo, facing off against a Kim Deitch Waldo poster on the opposite wall. More than anything else, that's convinced me that comics have finally come of age - when there's no longer any need to attack people working in different aspects of the medium to prove a point.
PS: There's only one person among the Rambler readership who'll be able to attribute the source for today's title, and I'm interested to see if they get it.