Sunday, June 15, 2008

First a teasey kind of announcement:

A group of Western Mass. bloggers – of which I'm proud to say I am a part – have been working a collaboration which we hope to debut in the next few weeks.

Some of the best known bloggers in the area will be part of the group and we'll all reveal more in the coming days.

Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Artists Festival

I've not been to a comic book show in many years. Like fans in my age group the show that really started the whole movement was the now largely forgotten annual NYC events put on by the late Phil Seuling – the man who was also responsible for establishing the direct market for comic books.

My tastes in comics has always been pretty broad and as I've aged – 54 and counting – I've become much more interested in either classic comic strips or efforts by independent artists. The MOCCA show was perfect for me as it showcased all sorts of very talented indie folks.

The show did have one major drawback – no where to sit. The best conventions I've been to have some area that is to take a load off your barking dogs. The show's other weakness was having it split over two different floors – the first and seventh. The seventh floor was beautiful but the roof was nearly all skylights and that made it pretty oppressive in the 100 degree NYC weather.

One thing was very apparent at the show: the presence of women both as comics consumers and creators. Back in the good old days, comic book shows were completely dominated by guys. A woman walking around could cause fanboys to drop whatever they were looking at and stare in that way that male dodos must have looked at the last females dodos right before extinction.

The times when fanboys were most likely to suffer heart attacks was during the costume competition when women would come out dressed like Red Sonya or some other character with mesh bikini tops.. The flash bulbs – remember those? – would be popping.

Hey look they're still doing it! The last time I saw something like this was in 1976. It's nice to know that some things in life – horny guys, T &A and women willing to wear steel mesh outfits – never change.

Just for the record, I had a girlfriend and I never took a photo of some redhead in a Red Sonya outfit. Honest.

There were women displaying a wide range of comic books they created as well as fangirls, God bless them. No one was in costume, though. I thought that was a step in the right direction.

I met Ted Rall at the show, one of my favorite political cartoonists and bought his amazing book on Central Asia. Anyone interested in foreign affairs needs to read this book. Buy it!

Being a Western Mass. patriot, I was happy to see New England represented at the show with Trees and Hills artists, a collective of cartoonists from Mass., Vermont and New Hampshire. This is a cool book as it as a music CD as well.

I've got to admit I find too many comics anthologies running about 60 percent good stuff and 40 percent crap. Secrets and Lies though is well worth the $20 and is 90 percent good stuff! Full of talented up and comers, the book also features new work by my buddy Steve Bissette, who has slowly re-entered comics through his teaching gig at the Center for Cartoon Studies. That's right folks, it might be a sign of the End Times that Bissette is drawing comics again, so enjoy it while you can.

Order Secrets and Lies from its publisher Catetanyo Garza right here.

© 2008 by Gordon Michael Dobbs

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