This week, I was fortunate enough to travel to New York City (on my school’s dime with excused absences, no less!) I spent most of it sampling every sushi place I could find but I also did nerd things a-plenty.
- Nintendo World
Formerly the Pokemon Center of Time Square, now Nintendo World. It was good, geeky, filled with a zillion cute plushies. (There’s not much more of merit to say about it; it’s just a really neat store.)
- Midtown Comics
A two-story tall comic store. It might not sound like a big deal to some people, but as a person with little to no access to comic stores of any kind, this was heaven. I ended up buying tons of comics more than I expected to because the plan for them had been to wait for the tradeback volumes to come out because I didn’t have a comic store nearby when lo and behold they were there in front of me.
- Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art
The MoCCA was having featuring artists from ZAP! Comix, as well as the Center for Cartoon Studies.
First of all, it was fucking incredible to see the original artwork from Robert Crumb and others. ZAP! started a revolution in comics, truly, and was the first step to shaking off the Comics Code Authority. In the meantime, however, they produced some of the most vile, sexist, racist drivel in the name of freedom of expression. The linework was unparalleled, though the subject matter made my stomach churn more than once. (There was masturbation and ejaculation, the world’s most racist portrayals of black women, rape, and more.)
There was also an amazing page from ZAP about the Grateful Dead album AoxomoxoA, a personal favorite of mine. The cover art was done by Rick Griffin, a regular ZAP artist.
The CCS gallery featured Robyn Chapman, Gabby Schulz, T. Edward Bak, Chris Wright, Alec Longstreth, Max de Radigues, David Libens, Blaise Larmee, Julie Delporte, Connor Willumsen, Nicole Georges, Sophie Yanow, and Noah Van Sciver. I got to have a Skype call with Alec Longstreth for a class earlier this semester, so that was neat. As with the ZAP exhibit, I was struck by the unpolished nature of some of the pieces, framed on bristol board with hand-written annotations in pencil on the sides.
- Valiant Comics headquarters
This was the really cool best-thing-to-see. A quick email to Valiant (who I’ve written about briefly) was all it took to get a tour of their facilities (read: one extremely cramped office building) set up. The staff there (several editors, marketing people, and the publisher) were extremely polite and took time from their schedules to chat with us about what they did in their job. The office was, as said, immensely full of boxes (especially since we went on a Tuesday, and Wednesday is New Comic Book day, when things are released in stores). There were promotional items, boxes of backlogged comics, posters, and stacks of paperwork everywhere. In short…I fell in love with it.
It was everything I hoped to see of a comic production area–a small crew, working their asses off on something they cared about. It wasn’t fancy and I fucking loved that. They also gave us (myself and two other students) a bag of free comics–including one the day before it came out–and told us we were welcome to email them with any questions we had about the business. It was incredibly inspirational and increased my faith for the comic industry to be more than just a money machine.