by L. Nichols
As many of you reading this blog (or any other indie comics blog) know, this past weekend (April 9-10, 2011) was the MoCCA Art Fest. This year I tabled with Darryl Ayo, Jorge Diaz, and Eric Colossal. (Darryl took all these photos)
Every year the thought of MoCCA brings me joy. MoCCA was the first comic show I ever attended as a creator (4 years ago now?). It’s in my home city, my favorite city. I really love the fact that it moved to April. I mean… everything is there that should make it awesome, yet every year I am more and more disenchanted with it. This year was the first year I didn’t automatically sign up for a table next year. I think I am more in love with the idea of MoCCA than the reality of it.
I’ll be honest, I sold more this year than I have sold ANY other year. But it was still not enough to make it worth my time and money to get a table for next year. The prices are too high for the table to make it worth it for me. And the high price at the door (I heard lots of people complaining about that as they walked by) means less sales, too. One or the other I could deal with, but both just leaves a bad feeling all around.
That being said, I really did enjoy my time at MoCCA this year. So many people stopped by to say hi. Some new faces, but mostly old ones. People recognize me and ask for my new stuff. Good feelings. Good vibe. I also had a lot of fun drawing portraits of people for a small price. And the quality of the new people (and their work) seemed better, too! That’s always great to see. It seemed like some of the organizational issues of the past few years at the Armory have been ironed out some. Things seemed to flow better. Still, there are things I think could be improved upon. Better signage on the street to bring in passers by. Nametags that are made by actual cartoonists (like SPX does) instead of the super cheap looking ones. And, really, the price.
But people have kind of beat that dead horse for a few years now, it seems. Hardly seems worth my time to throw in any big punches. Maybe I will just go for my own explanation of why I don’t plan on having a table next year. MoCCA for me has become a place where I see the people I know and rarely any new faces. And, honestly, I think SPX does a better job of giving the feeling of cartoonist summer camp happy fun reunion time. I want to find new faces, new friends, new fans, new audiences. I’d rather take my $$ and take a road trip to Philly for the Philly Alt Comic Con, or spend a Saturday at Pete’s Mini Zine Fest. Maybe for a bigger adventure, MIX or ECCC or APE or Stumptown (or TCAF if I ever get in). I could travel AND table (and stay with friends I haven’t seen in a long time) for a rough equivalent of what I pay for MoCCA. And I would see new people, new faces. Hell, I’m even trying to get a table in Artist’s Alley at NYCC this year! About the same price as half a table at MoCCA and a TON more traffic. I want to see new faces. I want to see new things. And, I guess MoCCA just isn’t doing that for me.
So I guess this is it, MoCCA. You probably won’t even notice I’m gone. I promise I’ll come back and visit, though. I think it might be nice to be on the other side of the table for a change.