My How the Time Flies... Is That a Song? (MoCCA)

So in the time since I last updated this blog a lot has happened:

1. I found an incredible girl named Clare who grew up in Manhattan and promptly fell in love with her. She is my partner and the love of my life. The whole nine yards.
2. I wrote my final huge college senior thesis (the Senior Project) about text in comics: I concentrated on the famous mini-series Watchmen and the Sshhh! collection of Jason's comics work and the difference between text in balloons, text in boxes, text in an absence of a container, and text in the depicted physical reality of the space. And it was 125 pages when I printed it out and it was "remarkable" and I was awed.
3. Oh yeah, so I now have a B.A. in Literature.

Didja get all that?

You know what's way more important than my life? Comics! That's right, comics!*

I went to the wonderful MoCCA Fest this past weekend. Just like last year, the Museum of Comics and Cartoon Art pulled out all the stops to make it an exciting and important two days of panels from excellent creators and enjoyable interactions with artists and writers in booths on the floor and just like last year I met a ton of interesting people and had a great time.

A few of those people particularly, I feel, need shout-outs because their work is outstanding and they are unknowns (at least they were to me). They are Kenan Rubenstein and Lance Hansen.

Kenan Rubenstein has mini-comics which (get this!) FOLD-OUT to tell their story on a canvas that slowly increases in size as you fold the paper out toward flatness. I'm not sure this is original to Kenan, but even if so I think his short Prologue has perfected it as the story expands toward deeper and deeper meaning as you un-fold and finds a twist at the final full-page reveal. Brilliant.

What is undoubtedly original is Kenan's more major work, TICK. TICK is what Marvel used to call a "widescreen comic", but it uses the format with far more meaningful results: the comic is built to visually mimic a calendar and the story fittingly takes place over a year. The story is about companionship and how we as people interact with the natural world. It's beautiful. Kenan Rubenstein is at:

Lance Hansen has a delightful little comic called HaySeed #1, which absolutely exudes the air of an artist who understands his medium. The book is full of quick comedic and cartoony short stories that I wish I'd come up with, including a two-page story called "sex" that I can assure you will not be able to predict in any way! This work is fun and clever and gorgeous.

Lance's bigger piece is another collection of short pieces, but this time in a single inter-connected ongoing story and one of a more serious tone. Don't Cry is a wonderfully drawn, wonderfully written story about being a big brother when you don't understand what growing-up is about yourself. Francis, the main character has a great particular view on things, which leads the reader to sometimes funny and sometimes poignant moments. Getting inside his head is a joy. Lance Hansen's work can be found at:

There was also a single fantastic comic called Photograph by Nicholas Breutzman. It is short and it is weird, but it packs quite a wallop! It depicts two twenty-somethings in the awkward few hours after they wake-up next to each other and two flashbacks to their respective pasts that try to make sense of it all. Nicholas Breutzman has a site as well at:

I also met Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey (creators of Action Philosophers!) and bought directly from them all the issues out so far of their series Comic Book Comics, a mini-series re-telling the history of the medium. A fantastic idea that they are executing quite well. Enlightened me to a few things I had only vaguely known. They agreed with me that once done the series will make a great compliment to the work of Scott McCloud, most notably his brilliant Understanding Comics. I can imagine the perfect Christmas present bundle for the non-comics fan of the future: the collected Watchmen, Understanding Comics, and the collected Comic Book Comics!

And, finally, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Mike Cavallaro, the creator of the wonderful comic-book Parade (with fireworks) and the artist of the amazing The Life and Times of Savior 28 a comic written by one of my first major influences J.M. DeMatteis (whose influence on my life is obviated by the fact that I can spell his name without checking). Mike was extremely welcoming and kind and it was an honor to meet him because Parade (with fireworks) was one of the only comics I could get my Dad to read and because The Life and Times of Savior 28 is one of the best comic-books coming out right now!

That's all for now. Thanks folks!

P.S. ~ Did I mention what Spidey's up to these days!!? NO!? Check it out! It's crazy! Best Spider-Man stuff in almost a decade. I would know I've been reading it for twice that time.

* [In the secret code, for those of you playing at home, JON GORGA'S LIFE = COMICS. That's right ladies and gents he tricked you. Thanks for playing!]


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