Beyond Comics: MoCCA Festival at Lexington Armory

With over 250 exhibitors, videos, artist signings and lectures, the Lexington Armory became a place where different people, mediums, places, and ideas intersected.

In Features Main Article 2 by Amanda Scigaj 2010-04-16 print

From intricate designs to tongue-in-cheek ephemera, all kinds of drawn and digitized work was at last weekend’s MoCCA Festival. In it’s ninth year, the festival is the key fund raising event for the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, which curates artist exhibitions in addition to offering programs for children and adults. For those unfamiliar with the comic and cartoon art genre or ‘scene’ (including this editor) stereotypes can abound, and I could make an anecdote about dimly-lit storefronts and a certain corpulent clerk with questionable social skills, but in reality it’s anything but. With over 250 exhibitors, videos, artist signings and lectures, the Lexington Armory became a place where different people, mediums, places, and ideas intersected. [Photos by Andres Jauregui]

Mini portraits by Neil Jam

Organized into rows of tables, the MoCCA festival blended high-end publishers like First Second (a division of Macmillan) to small-timers who are their own editorial, production and marketing staff. Many tables weren’t comic purists; exhibitors offered up posters, patches, apparel, even jewelry to those interested.

T-shirt designs by Dark Igloo

Mark and Dave of Williamsburg-based company Dark Igloo worked on a literal amalgamation of characters. Combining attributes of all our favorite characters of lunch box dreams, they created one frankenstein for doom and redemption each. Coming from Astoria, Jessie DeStasio got his start in manipulating action figures at the age of seven putting ketchup on Luke Skywalker. After spending seven years in the toy industry, he creates his own action figures like ‘Sound Dave and Friends’; Transformers’ Soundwave character turned white collar drone–lay off and let him enjoy his Bud in peace, okay?

Jessie DeStasio with some of his action figures

Obviously comic and graphic art are not a localized movement, and neither was MoCCA. California artist Mike Bertino shared table space with friend Dave Nuss of Revival House Press in Oregon to showcase his new comic Trigger, as well as Revival’s release Shit Beams on the Loose. Scandinavia has seen a growing popularity in comics and graphic novels, and was represented by several publishers and artists at the festival, including a panel discussion billed as a ‘Scandinavian Comics Primer’.

Excerpt from 'Pushwagner's Soft City', a Norwegian comic http://www.nocomprendopress.com/utgivelser/bok/soft-city/

art by Mike Bertino

Brushed aside by many, comic and cartoon art is incredible in it’s depictions, whether it be the Pekar observations on everyday life, or something much more fantastic. As someone who has largely ignored the genre for many years, I’m excited to pick up a few things in the coming future. Check out the MoCCA website or the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival for upcoming exhibits, classes and information.

Concert photographer Andres Jauregui blogs about music for Crawdaddy, and about other casual concerns at dutchvowels. He is still lightheaded from meeting Charles Burns.

Amanda Scigaj

Amanda Scigaj. Amanda Scigaj grew up in Buffalo, New York certain that football ruined her childhood. Since moving to Brooklyn in 2007 she helped build DIY venue Bodega, ran art shows, and became music editor for libertine publication Chief Magazine. She currently splits her time between the production department of a publishing company, and as a freelance writer. In her free time she likes to record hunt, learn random factual information, and is really trying to finish that Robert Moses biography. » See other writings

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