Saturday, June 6, 2009

Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art 6/6/2009

James Montgomery Flagg, creator of the famous, I Want You For the U.S. Army poster featuring Uncle Sam.

Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art 6/6/2009

I am going to the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art festival today, 6/6/2009 at the 69th Regimental Armory in Manhattan. The show starts at 11:00 a.m. so I can get up and relax for a bit before I go. I am looking forward to this. I have gone to every one of these shows.

When I got there, there was a long line to get in. The place was packed with people. I mostly walked around and looked at the different tables. I saw some interesting books and merchandise. Criterion is coming out with a new dvd for Akira Kurosawa's Rashomon.

I also saw a new paperback of edition of Marjane Satrapi's Chicken With Plums. There were a lot of really interesting new alternative press comics. A number which stood out were Skyscrapers of the Midwest by Joshua Cotter, I Saw You... Comics Inspired by Real Life Missed Connections by Julia Wertz, Bayou by Jeremy Love, Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow by Brian Fries, and About Dogs by George Booth. George Booth is a very excellent cartoonist.

David Berona is coming out with a book called Wordless Comics in around 2011. I reviewed David Berona's other book, Wordless Books a while ago. DC Vertigo is going to release its first DC novel. There have been novels produced by other publishers with DC characters, but this will be an in house novel. Bill Willingham is writing a novel based on his Fables graphic novels series called Peter and Max in October.

It was kind of fun wandering around looking at all the different independent publishers; Top Shelf, Fantagraphics, Bodega, Fanfare, DC Vertigo, Last Gasp, NBM Publishing, Pantheon, One Percent Press, and many others. I was surprised at the number of individual producers that had their own tables at the conference as well. There were a lot of people who were just producing a few comics on their own and selling them. I think this has become much more possible because of the internet and the easy ability to get things printed on demand.

There was also a Scandinavian and an Eastern European table for independent comics. The variety of comics was very nice. They even had the dinosaur comic I sometimes see on Wikipedia called Qwantz Ryan North has the comic printed as a full length book.

I went to the panel Selling Good Comics In A Bad Economy from 3:00-3:50 p.m. It featured a number of producers, Alvin Buenaventura from Buenaventura books, Mats Johnson from Gallago, Tom Neely, Brett Warnock from Top Shelf, Julia Wertz from, Dylan Williams from Sparkplug Comics, Chaired by Heidi McDonald of the Beat ( something produced by Publishers Weekly. A lot of the panel had come from Book Expo America the week before.

I am not going to write everything they said. I learned a few ideas from the panel. The first is that the independent comics industry is not that big, so the downturn in the economy has not affected them as much as larger industries. There was a general consensus that they had to find some other way than Diamond to distribute their comics because of the economic downturn.

The panelists pretty much agreed that if you want to be in comics you have to attend a lot of shows and be prolific and consistent. Brett Warnock wants his artists to produce a lot of work and go to shows to promote themselves. Julia Wertz said that she goes to a lot of shows, so did everyone else on the panel. They also say that they get a lot of their sales from the internet, it is important to have a website. Tom Neely says it is like the music industry. You go on tour if you are in a band. A few of them mentioned that they were helped by Tony Shenton one of the few independent sales representatives in the industry.

There were a few mentions of blog reviews helping sell comics. Apparently, the internet has been very helpful for the independent comics industry.

What surprised me was that no one had figured out what to do about Kindles and Iphones for comics. The Kindle ereader is not conducive to comics art. Also the Iphone is a fast approaching thing which is on the radar but not figured out. There was a brief mention about almost all the old Marvel comics being scanned into bit torrent as pirated works.

I liked the panel. After the panel, I went across the street from the 25th street armory to a small vietnamese sandwich shop called Baogette which was pretty good.

I rarely buy anything for myself at these things. I might go back and order a few things for my library which I saw. I plan to ask DC Vertigo for a few advanced reading copies. They had them at their table. I got several free comics from DC Vertigo, and got a signed copy of Madame Xanadu. I also bought a poster from this years show for $5. It was an entertaining show.

There was the usual collection of knick knacks, a catalog from Fanfare, several postcards, a catalog from Zudu comics, and several business cards. I am a paper magnet sometimes.

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