2011 MoCCA Festival Report

In which I talk about this year's MoCCA Festival, and the fact that while I loved seeing people and meeting people and buying books, the festival itself leaves a bit to be desired.

I mean there was a great selection of books. Some people say, well, there were only a few good books, but that works for me. People can argue that there were no great books debuting at MoCCA, but with so many just plain good and interesting ones, it's hard to argue too much. Maybe I'm a jackass, but every show I attend, I end up liking just about everything I pickup, but by that same token, while the books are good, they're not necessarily great. That doesn't bother me at all.

In the end, it was worth attending just for the people. It's going to something like MoCCA that I remember what I miss in not working out of an office, in not having people around that I can talk with about work. I mentioned a long list of people in the course of the article who I spoke with and hung out with over the course of the weekend. That's what made it worthwhile. It's been interesting to read the comments and reports from other people who came to much the same conclusion.

Pondering what that means and what will come next.


Talking with Daniel Clowes about "Mister Wonderful," "Wilson" and more

Daniel Clowes is one of my favorite cartoonists and has been for years. He's not just someone whose work I've enjoyed and respected, but his work in "Eightball" played a major role in my interest in comics and the development of my aesthetic sense. One of the things about his work that continues to make him one of the best and most interesting cartoonists of his generation is how his work has changed and evolved. It's always fascinating to see where Clowes will go next.


Thanks to Heidi MacDonald for The Beat's Elaine Lee shout out

The Beat is one of the best news blogs in the comics field and I was glad to see that Heidi MacDonald made note of my recent interview with Elaine Lee about the epic graphic novel Stardust, writing new Honey West stories, radio plays, theater and more. In truth I had a whole other list of topics to chat with Elaine about that will have to wait for another opportunity. Elaine is just as smart, witty and intelligent an interview subject as she is a writer. We could definitely use more Elaine Lee-written comics in the world.


Nick Cardy: Silver Age Comics Legend and World War II Veteran

Mr. Nick Cardy is one of those artists who made comics worth reading in the "Silver age" of comics (which for those who don't know is considered to be 1956 to circa 1970). During that time, Mr. Cardy illustrated "Aquaman," "Teen Titans," "Bat Lash" and other major titles. He drew hundreds of covers for the company before transitioning to doing movie poster artwork. I spoke with the man recently about his new book, a collection of artwork that he did while serving as an assistant tank driver in Europe during World War II.

Mr. Cardy was everything that an interviewer could ask for -- funny, thoughtful, still sharp and a great storyteller -- and I can only hope that I'm in as good shape when I'm 91.

This interview also contains possibly my favorite exchange in any interview of mine:

What did it mean to be an assistant tank driver?
If the driver has to go to the bathroom, you watch the tank. [Laughs

Launching a Digital DoubleFeature

I spoke recently with Four Star Studiomates Tim Seeley, Mike Norton, Josh Emmons and Sean Dove about their new project, a self-published 99 cent all-ages digital comic. It's the kind of project I'm  a little surprised that more professional cartoonists haven't put together. A low cost pair of short stories with lots of extras for a low price point is a good deal for people who like the creators involved or who just think it sounds interesting. With the proliferation of tablets, I think we'll be seeing much more of this in the future.

Looking at Tove Jansson's Fair Play for The Daily Beast

I'm thrilled to be writing for The Daily Beast and just as thrilled that I got to write about the great Tove Jansson. For those of you who don't know, she is the Swedish-Finnish writer and artist behind the Moomins, a great series of children's novels and comic strips (which would go onto be multiple films and cartoon shows and a cookbook and a theme park and...) Her picture books and collections of the comic strip that she and her brother created are published by the great people at Drawn and Quarterly. In her fifties, Jansson retired form the Moomins and children's books to write books for adults. The New York Review of Books Classics imprint has been putting them in print here in the States, first The Summer Book, then True Deceiver, and now Fair Play. The book was a joy to read. All her books are. When I pitched my editor the idea of writing about the book, I half-jokingly described Jansson as the "anti-Steig Larsson," and while I think it's true, it's hard to detail what makes the book work so well and yet convey just how charming a book it is. Go read it. It'll become quickly apparent. I promise.