In over 8 years of living in Brooklyn I was finally able to do my first con in Brooklyn and it was fantastic. I was going to put up this video of Biggie and Tupac I found but I just started sobbing watching it, thinking about how they were both gone. Any ways….
Comics Art Brooklyn is a relatively young show, a continuation of a previous incarnation that was itself just a few years old. It really is (as the label on the can suggests) a nexus of art and comics. Where MOCCA feels like an art-loving UWS day trader on a power lunch, CAB is the black metal loving barista tagging anthropomorphic pizza on the side of a bank building after work. Cooler, less established, less concerned about being established.
There was a great gender mix behind the tables, lots of queer cartoonists, but I couldn’t help notice how white the show was. Not just exhibitors but attendees as well. Has west Brooklyn’s plague of gentrification reached fever pitch? As much as I hate New York Comic Con, it always attracts the most diverse crowd of any comics event. It would be nice to translate that into the world of indie comics but that’s a daunting project that I’m sure has a thousand complex sides and is much bigger than the comics world itself..
Some people said sales were mixed but mine were great. My table mate Jude Killory said this was the best con sales-wise. The place was flooded with debuts and a virtual treasure chest of really great books, minis, prints, shirts and patches. There were less tables this year which helped with crowd control but as much jaw dropping art as usual.
I only went to two panels; Roz Chast with Art Spiegelman and Raymond Pettibon. Though they seem like odd ends of a spectrum, they’re really similar. Both focus on societal issues (often domestic). Both began work in a medium seen as disposable (magazines, flyers) and are each sort of clacissists inspired by fine art or old guard cartoons/comics who each became iconoclasts and now themselves becoming the old gaurd.
Both are now getting recognition for work that was once dismissed: Chast by established New Yorker cartoonists early in her career by cartoonists and readers (now she’s sort of the quintessential New Yorker cartoonist) to being celebrated with a new award-winning book. And Pettibon, being the first thing many think of when “punk art” is mentioned, xeroxed show flyers, Black Flag’s ubiquitous logo to selling drawings for tens of thousands of dollars to moneyed collectors. He mentioned that punks don’t want his work, even for 5 bucks (!).
I wished I’d seen other panels but I’m sure they’ll crop up online somewhere. Also, Julie Doucet was there! Holy shit, talk about an iconoclast! Her new collage stuff is fantastic.
If you still haven’t checked it out, pencil it in next year. It’s free so you just have to get there. The tables are reasonably priced (unlike MOCCA), the show is well run and it’s nice that its just one day of tabling. Get in and get out. This might have been my favorite show of the year. Now it’s time to till the field and plant some more comics seeds. Here’s to next year’s crop….