Brooklyn Aftermath


Monday, December 7, 2009

Thanks to everyone who came out on Saturday. It was an exceptional day despite the weather. I wanted to give a special thanks to Bill Kartalopoulos for running such a great slate of programming.

I wanted to note a few things, partly in response to Heidi’s posts on the event.

According to very unscientific polling, sales were very strong, with as least one publisher saying it was his best sales day ever. My own sales were extremely strong. People seemed to be there to find and buy things. We do hope to move it somewhere next year that would allow us to have programming and exhibitors in a single space.

I think in many ways the most successful aspect was the community feeling. Now, I don’t know at least two-thirds of the exhibitors socially, and I don’t necessarily think a lot of us have much in common artistically. It’s not a scene or some kinda exclusionary clique. The shared thread, I think, is a sense of wanting to represent ourselves without having an artificial frame imposed on us. That, and, of course, mine and Gabe’s taste in comics.

I also want to note that it was/is both of our wishes to make this as aesthetically diverse an experience as possible, and we contacted numerous Marvel/DC/Dark Horse artists, as well as local back issue dealers, but with no success. And I can understand why — it’s a bit out of left field for those outside of whatever we’re calling our sphere. We sincerely hope that next year’s festival will feature certain cartoonists whose work has helped shape superhero and fantasy art, as well as some grand comic strip artists. This goes to our goal of bridging the gaps between (as Santoro might say) the various branches of comics.

And this relates to Heidi’s astute mention that Gary Panter in Brooklyn was like Jack Kirby in San Diego — a kind of spiritual godfather. That is true, but it’s also true that Kirby exerts a huge influence over many of the cartoonists in that room, as does Chaykin, Simonson, and many other “mainstream” (increasingly non-mainstream, really) artists. I guess what I’m saying is that Jack Kirby is our Jack Kirby. After all, one of the busiest tables was Frank Santoro’s back issue bins, in which he highlights such gems as Larry Hama’s brilliant G.I. Joe # 21 (my own “book of the show”) and selections by Michael Golden, Trevor Von Eeden, Carl Barks, Steranko, Kevin Nowlan, et al. Frank’s careful selection is a kind of mini history of comics unto itself. And to me, that’s the crux of it: This generation is looking far and wide for inspiration and finding it in unlikely places. That may be partly why the crowd seemed so jolly and generous: It was a limited selection, but anyone curious enough to come could find something to their liking without having to wade through too much “other stuff”.

Anyhow, the day was great fun and even thought provoking. A couple bits of business: We will be posting the Saul/Panter talk here in a couple days, and by the end of the week PictureBox will have a bunch of new products online, including the new Jimbo mini, CF’s new zine, and Leif Goldberg’s 2010 calendar.

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26 Responses to “Brooklyn Aftermath”
  1. blaise larmee says:

    <3 this post
    wish i was there

  2. Evan says:

    Me, too. I didn't know about the show until a few weeks ago. Would have probably set up. Unless Dan was con-blocking me here.

  3. Elgin Subwaysurfer Bolling says:

    I couldnt believe my incredible luck about finding out about the event days before!! It was so awesome that the horrid weather ADDED to it!! It was encouraging to see so MANY HARDCORE creators/fans/publishers at the event. I especially loved the panel discussions, and wnt come to create some comics!!

  4. pat aulisio says:

    i had a great time there and actually made a lot of money and sold out of some of my comics. i was surprised at the amount of people for such a shitty day, i actually got rid of my freebie comic i made 100 copies of by 3 oclock! cant wait for next year

  5. Mark P Hensel says:

    I'm with blaise and Evan, wish I could've been there, the Fest sounds like it was awesome!

  6. Ad-hater says:

    My gf and I actually came from Boston for the festival on the Lucky Star bus (they're the one with the tripping dragon logo) and then back the same night into a snowstorm. Wonderful event, interesting set of vendors and the panel discussions were generally great. I wish a few of them could have gone on longer. I'd have to say that Ben Katchor narrating his own strips was a particular highlight.

    I did find myself gravitating toward the Santoro collection, observing that it was a homeopathic dose of a regular comics convention, but even at a regular con it would have been an interesting bunch of comics to go through.

    I never made it to San Diego when it was still in the 10-20,000 range or smaller. But now…? Yikes. For years, comics cons on the east coast often meant Creation Con, which was a bit of a bummer. I always wondered if a small, fan-oriented event was possible and this festival seemed to demonstrate that it was indeed. I'm glad to hear of the "outreach" efforts as well. I've generally subscribed to the "we're all bozos on this bus" theory of things. As you said, we all love Jack Kirby.

  7. Benjamin Marra says:

    Dan and Gabe, Congrats on the awesome festival. I had an excellent time and walked away with some quality material. I hope you guys will make it an annual event. I especially enjoyed listening to Panter and Saul speak. It would be great to have the mainstream represented alongside the alternative work at future festivals. I seem to think there may be some of the mainstream found in NYC as well.

  8. Frank Santoro says:

    My sales were better than 2 days of MoCCA or 2 days of SPX.

  9. sdestefano says:

    It sounded terrific. Wish I could've made it, but I'll look forward to next year's event for sure.

  10. knut says:

    I disagree with the idea of bringing mainstream stuff, or even mainstream-genre indie stuff into this show. I liked the fringe-aesthetic focus of this show, why water it down with commercialistic art?

    I'm in favor of the full divorce of the mainstream and alternative comics industries. Dan is right that Jack Kirby is still our Jack Kirby, but appreciating history is one thing, dealing with the baggage of contemporary mainstream comics is another thing.

  11. Ad-hater says:

    @Knut – the festival already featured R.O. Blechman who is very much "mainstream", though not in the Marvel-DC sense.

    I would love to see guests from across the spectrum: New Yorker-type cartoonists, older superhero artists (e.g. Ramona Fradon – I think this would be a perfect festival for someone like her), animators, weird commercial artists (e.g. John Pound), etc.

    Just a thought.

  12. knut says:

    Yeah, I guess the larger it gets the rules of the game evolve, but I just found it nice to see a great venue for fringe comics. Fringe artwork always needs to exist in any medium and it always needs a venue.

    I just don't see the sense of inviting Glenn Miller to play The Five Spot, ya know?

  13. Frank Santoro says:

    My usual roll call of swag that folks give to me. More soon.

  14. Tom Devlin says:

    Thank god we've all rediscovered Chaykin and Simonson. There were some bleak years when nobody mentioned Beta Ray Bill or Time Squared.

  15. Tom Devlin says:

    Oh, and congrats on the show. It sounds like it was amazing.

  16. Chris Cammett says:

    For me, it was without a doubt the most enjoyable comic fest I've ever attended. Gabe, Dan & Bill get the MVP awards for best "Little Comic Con to Make the Grade". All the panels I saw were great, and Dan's exhibition of original comic art added to their 'down-time' atmosphere immensely. Gary & Peter were funny and inspirational. Bill's 2D panel was intelligent and Frank's ineffable Golden Ratio scene was a fitting closer. Also, I cannot adequately describe the heartwarming contrast of leaving the viciously wet & cold [practically vacant street] to splosh down the basement stairs and deftly step over a huge puddle beneath a surprising heap of umbrella's strewn about doorway, only to initially open the door and not see the exhibitor room unreasonably empty… but completely jam packed! It was like the comic world's version of entering Willie Wonka's Chocolate Room. I don't believe I've ever seen so many comic creators that I like packed into such a concise space. And if that wasn't good enough, afterwards it was off to Mug's Ale house for their Belgian Beer Fest and then a few hours perusing the jaw-dropping curios at the Newgarden Museum. Hats off to Desert Island & PictureBox. Well done!

  17. w says:

    Dang I wish I could have gone. DANG!

  18. Tom Spurgeon says:

    Please make sure Bil Keane attends the 2010 show. Thank you.

  19. Dan Nadel says:

    I can't entirely tell who is being sarcastic and who is not, so far gone am I. Seems to me Bil Keane would be a fantastic guest to have. And, I think omitting artists like Chaykin and Simonson from the larger discussion about comic art is a mistake. Might be tough for people who were inundated with the stuff to admit, but you're going to have to broaden the discourse eventually.

    The point is, I suppose, I don't consider the lineup at the Festival "fringe" at all: There were best-selling authors, New Yorker cover artists, Guggenheim grant recipients, a painter whose retrospective has traveled to major North American museums, etc. etc. This is, if not blockbuster mainstream (Iron Man), pretty damn close to artworld and literary fiction mainstream. So… get over it. It's not about status so much as it's about taste and ideas.

    And @ Evan: I'm sorry! Next year I'll keep you in the loop much much earlier on.

  20. knut says:

    We trust ya Dan.

  21. Frank Santoro says:

    oh Tom Devlin was being sarcastic. I can never tell with him.

  22. Barc Mell says:

    From my estimation, Devlin was being sarcastic about Chaykin and serious about thinking the show sounded good.

    Your Devlin interpreter for today,


  23. Frank Santoro says:

    I'm posting my reports over on the Cold Heat blog cuz Dan's post looks so good up there that I dare not disturb it. I'll post a complete wrap-up on ComicsComics soon, but until then:

  24. Evan says:

    Dan — thanks, I'd definitely love to set up. Congrats on the great feedback, btw.

  25. Tom Spurgeon says:

    I wasn't being sarcastic at all.

  26. Dan Nadel says:

    Too late, Tom. We're enemies now.

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