Here are the first of the MoCCA show reports from the First Second crew. More to follow!

Calista – :01 Editor

As usual, MoCCA was a big warm fuzzy for me. Seeing familiar faces, meeting new friends, and generally enjoying the feeling of being in a room with hundreds of people who share many of my enthusiasms. I also enjoy book shopping! This year I was really happy to get, among others, copies of Raina Telgemeier’s SMILE, Hope Larson’s MERCURY, Mike Cavallaro’s SAVIOR 28, Dash Shaw’s BODY WORLD, and THE ART of JAIME HERNANDEZ, all signed by their respective kick-ass authors/artists.

Colleen Venable – :01 Design Guru

Alternating working between three tables—:01, Graphic Universe, and one for my own minis—I probably walked around the floor for a total of 5 minutes. BUT being MOCCA, with such an abundance of great comics, 5 minutes was long enough to come across some amazing art. The latest PAPERCUTTER, issue #12, may have one of my favorite covers they’ve ever done, which says a lot considering the quality of their art direction. It’s consistently one of the best anthologies around. #12 features: Nate Powell, Rachel Bormann, Joey Alison Sayers, Mark Campos, Dalton Webb, and Nate Beaty. I was also really happy to get my hands on the latest issue of NURSE, NURSE, Katie Skelly’s sci-fi drama that makes the designer inside of me squeal with it’s unique approaches to layout and hyperactive use of patterns. While her comics are so charming, it was Megan Baehr’s hand sewn dolls that made my wallet want to jump out of my bag. I challenge you to look at these and not smile:

Another anthology worth noting is the free newspaper print CABOOSE created by and starring the community in White River Junction, VT, home to the Center for Cartoon Studies. It reminded me of Roald Dahl’s “Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life”: a small town you get to know in small glimpses, puzzle pieces put together in your own mind to form a picture. I really hope this is Issue #1 of a much longer run of newspaper print anthologies from this community. I also hope other cartoonists take note. With the rising prices of small press tables and increase in print technology, it breaks my heart to see less and less handmade books at shows like MOCCA. Everyone is going for sleeker, more refined, P.O.D. and printing serves doing small runs, and some of the charm of the indie D.I.Y. comics world is diminishing. I want to see more handsewn books, more handmade bellybands, more ultra-tiny-minis with cheap photocopy paper inside and construction paper covers sold for $1 to spread the world about someone new and talented. I don’t want everyone to try and force their books look “professional” because there is a fine line between looking professional and having a D.I.Y. comic become a cold object…one that loses the connection between itself and the artist. CABOOSE has teeth. Quite literally. In a world going more and more towards super glossy coldness, it felt really wonderful in my hands.