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MoCCA Fest '12: The Best and Brightest of Indie Comics

mocca posterWhat started as a chaotic confederacy of artists at the Puck Building in 2002, the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) Festival (April 28-29 at the Lexington Ave Armory) is now one of the best gatherings of independent comic authors in the country.

Punk style zines, former Marvel and DC artists breaking out on their own, young webcomic authors, and more all converge for the 10th year of this landmark event in indie comics.

MoCCA’s Guest of Honor is artist P. Craig Russell. Russell, who has been working in comics since the 70’s, and gained notereity for his art in the story “Ramadan” in the 50th issue of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman in 1993. His line work is evocative of Aubrey Beardsley, which is no coincidence since he has adapted several operas and plays into comic form, including Oscar Wilde’s Salome, while Russell’s sense of visual narrative and rich illustrations recall the cream of the crop from Jim Shooter era Marvel. His latest book is The Fairy Tales of Oscar Wilde: The Happy Prince, from NBM Publishing.

This year's Klein Award (named after MoCCA founder, Lawrence Klein) recipient, Gary Panter, was a visual force emerging from LA’s punk scene of the late 70’s. Panter has done art for bands and musicians Frank Zappa and The Residents, as well as comics featured in Slash Magazine and contributed to Art Spiegelman’s comic anthology, RAW, in the 80’s, and recieved three Emmy Awards for his work as a production designer on Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. Past Klein award recipients include Jerry RobinsonDavid Mazzuccheli, and Al Jaffee.

gary panterOther guests include:

  • Amanda Lafrenais
  • Yuko Ohta
  • Jason
  • Matt Forsythe
  • Dean Haspiel
  • Leela Corman

Looking at previous years, it’s interesting to see how MoCCA has shifted along with the world of comics and become a hotspot for webcomic authors and young talent. Where before indie comic authors looked up to Harvey Pekar or R. Crumb, and was a gathering of those with the mindset of usurping the constraints enforced by the “Big Two” (that’s Marvel and DC, true believers), MoCCA now brings a new crop of artists raised on a diet of anime and Disney aesthetics married with post-internet cultural schizophrenia to make a new era of story-telling and art.

While MoCCA is not solely a web-comic oriented convention, it does an excellent job of bridging the gap between the vanguards of “commix” and the new breed of storytellers.

To learn more, go to

The Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Festival
April 28-29

Lexington Ave Armory
68 Lexington Ave (between 25th and 26th street)
New York, NY

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