MoCCA 2008 (and a Haiku)
By stern on Jun 10, 2008
[Warning: links may contain content that is strong-R, not work appropriate and definitely frowned upon by someone's parents. I know you'll click from home]. Finally got to meet Meredith Gran of Octopus Pie creative talent, as well as Jeph Jacques of Questionable Content. I was truly bummed I missed Randall Munroe of xkcd because he may be the only other person in the world who makes jokes about NP-completeness, and yet he does it professionally.
A few things struck me this year: It was much more crowded than last year, which I take to be a good sign for the self-publishing Internet comic crowd. Richard Stevens was doing a brisk business in themed socks; I ended up coming home with stickers, buttons, a Jacques sketch, an Octopus Pie book, and a hardbound copy of Rutu Modan's graphic novel Exit Wounds. It was something of a Woody Allen movie setting, with my father (an artist) and sister (a fairly stereotypical New Yorker) accompanying me as we kept running into Jewish themed work and I dreaded that we should feel guilt over having so much fun with the material: Rutu Modan's work, Hereville (a comic about a young Orthodox Jewish girl), talking to Miriam Libicki (and buying a copy of Toward a Hot Jew, her comic treatise on the Israeli soldier, all puns intended) and leafing through a copy of Joan Sfar's Klezmer comics (later purchased via amazon.com after I regretted not purchasing it at the show). My take-away was that comics provide another medium for telling short, powerful stories; the graphic novels popularized by train-bound Japanese salarymen convey more than just a simple train of thought. One of the exhibitors, Marek Bennett teaches the value of comics as educational vehicles.
Comics aren't serious business, of course, because they're comics, and even Michael Chabon's story about the comic book lives of comic book creators can't make them mainstream. I think that's why they appeal to closet system administrators like me. But I was left the with distinct impression that as an art form ideally suited for online syndication and serialization, one that benefits tremendously from relaxed copyright enforcement (Diesel Sweeties, Octopus Pie and xkcd are all available under Creative Commons licenses) to drive recommendation and readership, and the quenching of our thirst for graphical content with creative use of space and color to convey context as well as information, self-published web comics are in their infancy - the start of another golden age of things parents still don't approve of.
FM dial temps
Gran, Jacques, and R. Stevens pix
Missed Randall Munroe.