It’s 7:26 p.m. and I’m sitting amidst a whole lot of hubub at the exhibitor opening reception for the MoCCA Art Festival, the first segment of a comics extravaganza that will bring comic and cartoon fanatics to New York City in droves. This weekend marks the eighth iteration of the Festival, a fundraising event for New York’s Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, a not-for-profit arts education organization. The Art Festival caters to comic book fans of all stripes (for example, the panel schedule includes an award ceremony for superhero legend Jerry Robinson), but the exhibitors list has skewed strongly toward the indie side of the comics market: think biography, webcomics, and bizarreness rather than tights and capes. Since the festival’s start it has become (probably) the largest such event in the U.S., with people flying in from as far as California and Romania to show their wares and meet with like-minded creators.
Full disclosure: I’ve been volunteering with the Museum for more than six years (and am the Volunteer Coordinator of this year’s Festival), so I’m as far from impartial as someone can get about this event. But you can consider it some kind of endorsement that I’m so willing to trade weeks or months of labor to see it proliferate. In fact, there’s so much great stuff to see—check out the panel schedule, exhibitor roster, list of premieres, and some of the festival-weekend parties—that every attendee will show up with a slightly different itinerary in mind. Personally, the few moments I can steal away from coordinatin’ are likely to be spent mooning over Kate Beaton, Tom Gauld, Ryan North, andTor.com’s own Emily Horne and Joey Comeau of A Softer World.
And what about you? If you’re coming to the festival, who are you most excited to see? If you can’t make it, who are you most forlorn over not seeing? What are your indie comics dreams made of?
The 2009 MoCCA Art Festival will take place on Saturday, June 6 and Sunday, June 7, from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on each day at the Lexington Avenue Armory (68 Lexington Avenue between 25th and 26th street). Admission is $10 for one day, $15 for both, or $10 for MoCCA members.