Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My Time at MoCCA Fest!

I went to MoCCA Fest for the first time this year and I went as a volunteer. Volunteering is an awesome, fun way to support your show and your comic addiction all in one. I highly recommend it as a unique way to see the show. While you won’t have as much freedom than if you went as just a fan, there are a lot of benefits to volunteering. You meet and work with amazing people who are as passionate as you are about geek culture. You also get to see the show in a way fans never realize. The work that goes into these festivals and cons is insane and crazy and not always organized, but the passion is always there and it shows in every worker that is there. The show also provides you with great incentives. For volunteering I received a free pass to the show, meals, a t-shirt and a ton of free books at the end. If you are going to volunteer though, please honor your commitment. These organizations only succeed because of volunteer support and dropping out at the last minute is unfair to them and the other volunteers.

I was working on the programming team, which meant a few things. There was a lot of technical setup, some actual responsibility in making sure that the panels r
an smoothly and the panelists were happy, and the opportunity to see a lot of awesome panels. I promise, I did work, but it was great to see panels I never would have gotten to see if I was on my own. Plus, I got to meet and hear some amazing people at the panels including Jerry Robinson, Jackson Publick, R. Sikoryak, Bill Plympton, Al Jaffee, Kate Beaton, Sarah Glidden, Lisa Hanawalt and Jeffrey Lewis. Even when I was standing outside of the panel guarding the door, I got to meet Greg Houston, an illustrator for NBM. While at the time he was just looking for caffeine, we chatted, and I have had the chance to look at some of his work and it is fantastic. I really hope to learn more about his upcoming projects soon.

The most entertaining panel I attended was The Cross Hatch Carousel. It was a live comic reading starring Kate Beaton, Lisa Hanawalt, Jackson Publick, Julie Klausner, Jeffrey Lewis and R. Sikoryak with my Programming boss Brian Heater moderating. For all of you thinking how can reading comics out loud be entertaining, you just have no idea.
The excitement that they brought to the reading really made it fun. Also, the comics were just super funny. Because of this panel, I actually cornered R. Sikoryak (He told me to call him Bob! Squeee!!!) and made sure that he put me on his mailing list for the next reading. I will make sure to bring Wysefyre and Getsuyobi for all of the fun.

The most interesting panel I attended was the Batman, The Joker and Beyond: The Career of Jerry Robinson. I loved hearing all the side stories about his work. Two tidbits stuck in my mind. Mr. Robinson’s brother was a champion bridge player and his family played a lot of cards. When he was up one night working, the idea struck him for a new villain and he grabbed a deck of cards from them and The Joker was born. The second tidbit was in the creation of the sidekick for Batman. Despite popular belief, he didn’t name Robin after himself. When they were working on a name for this character, Mr. Robinson thought back to his favorite story, Robin Hood, and that’s where we got the Boy Wonder from. It was neat to learn about comic history from someone who was there living it.

Despite my busy panel working schedule, I did get a chance to walk around the show a bit. I got to meet a ton of interesting people. I actually hit up a lot of the same places that Wysefyre and Getsuyobi went. I swung by Jeph Jacques to pick up my own copy of Questionable Content after reading Getsuyobi’s copy. I also visited Pronto Comics and Lush Comics and had a blast talking with those two publishers. We really hope to bring you more from them soon. I stopped by the Evil Twin Comics table to say hi to Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak, who was sharing the table on Sunday. I got a copy of Greg Pak’s Vision Machine, which was a fantastic story. I encourage you to read it and I will be posting more about it soon. I got an awesome necklace from Amy Lynn Duengfelder’s table. She had some fantastic stuff and I am looking forward to really exploring her work. At Richard Codor’s table, I picked up a signed copy of the Joyous Haggadah, which is totally getting me in the Passover spirit. I also saw some great Star Trek, Star Wars and X-Men artwork at Justin Peterson’s table but at that point I was out of cash and totally kicking myself. His website is on my list to visit next payday! Same thing happened at Braden Lamb’s table, where I saw some terrific Star Wars art. Serves me right for being conservative at the ATM. One thing I did miss on the floor was the freebies and discounts that a lot of the volunteers were getting from the vendors. I was so focused on the tables I wanted to see that I missed out on some good deals but maybe next year!

I really enjoyed the feel of the show. It was a group of creators that really wanted to just hang with their fans. Yes, Wysefyre is right that there were creators that didn’t sell themselves correctly, but this is a nice change from a big con. I really didn’t miss the tables and tables of back issue sellers and was totally happy to be in a giant Artist Alley. Next year, you should join me as a volunteer if you can because it is a great experience for a great organization.

Let us know what you thought of MoCCA, did you love it, hate it....

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