I, Pat Lewis, was recently in New York to attend the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) Festival. Here are my thoughts on the trip, the convention, and lessons learned:
ARRIVAL:

My friend Kristin and her boyfriend were nice enough to let me stay at their place in Brooklyn. This is me in their Park Slope neighborhood.

I arrived in town a few days before the festival, so I'd have time to play tourist and take in some of the local culture.

The Toys "R" Us in Times Square has a gigantic T-Rex right by the Legos. Yeah! Terrify those kids!

NBC Studios. Home of the NBC Experience Store, where you can buy merchandise from all your favorite NBC shows, like--no, wait, they cancelled that one. Or--nope, that's gone, too. How about--no, that one hasn't been any good in years.

The single best item for sale at the NBC Experience Store. If you're lucky, Screech himself will autograph it for you when he rings you up.

I didn't just do lame tourist-y stuff while in Manhattan (though I did a lot of it). I also visited the little-known Museum of American Illustration on East 63rd Street. Pretty cool stuff there. And, it's free!

Kristin, me, and my friend Chee-Ming, enjoying all-you-can-eat sushi the night before MoCCA. All I will say is that "All-You-Can-Eat Sushi" is a very dangerous concept, my friends. Very dangerous, indeed.

THE FESTIVAL:

Andy Runton, Derek Kirk Kim, and Alex Robinson
Top Shelf cartoonists Andy Runton (Owly), Derek Kirk Kim (Small Stories), and Alex Robinson (Box Office Poison). Derek offered me some good advice about applying for the Xeric grant and selecting a quality printer for my comics.


Seth
Canadian Cartoonist "Seth" (Palookaville) presenting his slide show "20 Short Stories about Cartooning." He talked about his own experiences and related anecdotes about some of his influences, including Schulz, Arno, and Thurber, as well as some (at least in America) lesser-known cartoonists.

My favorite part, though, was hearing his reaction to having his "old-timey" clothing and mannerisms mocked in Johnny Ryan's "Angry Youth Comics." I'll admit that, shortly after the presentation ended, I headed to the Fantagraphics table downstairs and bought that issue.

Seth
Here's Seth later on, signing at the Drawn & Quarterly table. He looks remarkably like the actor Steve Buscemi.


Alexa Kitchen
The World's Youngest Professional Cartoonist, Alexa Kitchen (with mother Stacey). Proud papa is comics publisher Denis Kitchen.


Jim Mahfood
Jim Mahfood (40 oz. Comics), keeping it real. What does that mean, anyway?


Craig Thompson
Craig Thompson (Blankets), signing his books at the Top Shelf bar. He had a huge line of adoring fans all weekend.


Raina Telgemeier
Raina Telgemeier (Take-Out) had to be one of the nicest people at the whole show. I sketched this caricature of her during the "Friends of Lulu" panel on Sunday morning:
Raina (caricature)

Friends of Lulu
...And here they are. The Friends of Lulu were kind enough to step up and give a last-minute panel on New York women cartoonists.

I wish these pictures could capture how beautiful the Puck Building is--the exhibitors were on the ground level, and the panels were in this great space on the seventh floor, which was showcased in the hit movie "When Harry Met Sally." Hey, if it can make Billy Crystal look good...


Patrick McDonnell
Patrick McDonnell, creator of the comic strip "Mutts," signing and sketching at the MoCCA table.


Bob Mankoff   Roz Chast
New Yorker Cartoon Editor Bob Mankoff (left, obviously) introduced cartoonist Roz Chast (right, even more obviously), winner of this year's Art Festival Award. I love my mother, but Roz Chast's kids have a pretty kick-ass one, as well.


Kaz
Hey, look, everybody! It's Kaz!


Alternative Comics
It's always a party at publisher Jeff Mason's Alternative Comics table.


Derf
Here's Derf (The City), at the Slave Labor Graphics table.


Jeffrey Brown
Jeffrey Brown (Clumsy, Unlikely), drawing in my sketchbook behind the Top Shelf bar.


Chester Brown & Adrian Tomine
Chester Brown (Louis Riel) and Adrian Tomine (Optic Nerve), signing at the Drawn & Quarterly table.


Bill Plympton
Animator Bill Plympton was on hand. Sunday afternoon, he debuted his newest short film, "Guard Dog," at the animation screening.


Steve Brodner
During his panel, illustrator Steve Brodner brought down the house with a story about an irate phone call he received from one of his caricature subjects: Martha Stewart. Everyone should thank Fantagraphics for putting out a book ("Freedom Fries") of his stuff this fall.


Justin Madson
Justin Madson (Happy Town), after a long day of selling. I need to ask that guy where he buys his shirts.


Kyle Baker
Nobody draws like Kyle Baker, who put in some serious time doing sketches as a MoCCA fund-raiser. That's a cool "Green Lantern" he's drawing in this shot. Man, I should have sprung for a sketch.


R. Stevens
R. Stevens (Diesel Sweeties), with one of my minis in the foreground.


It's me
And here's me, Pat, shamelessly promoting my stuff. I was pleasantly surprised at how many people at least partially recognized me, either from a past convention, or from spotting my t-shirt or comics.

A lot of people asked why I didn't have a table at MoCCA. I guess I figured the fees were too high--certainly more than the amount of money I could expect to make from selling minis there. But after talking to the other exhibitors, I definitely returned home inspired to be more of a presence at future shows, and to get back to work on more comics and goodies to sell at them.

Though I didn't get pictures of them, Neil Kleid and John Kerschbaum gave me a lot of great advice about applying for the Xeric, too, and Batton Lash offered tons of praise and enthusiastic encouragement, which really meant a lot to me. Thanks, guys--see you all at SPX!



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