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Beyond the Longbox: MoCCA Fest 2015

Photo by R. Gandhi

Since 2002, the MoCCA Festival has been one of the premiere events in NYC for small independent comics. But even a convenient little categorization like “independent comics” belies the wide breadth of variety and ingenuity from the artists and creators exhibiting at this show. There are the old guard, people whose roots can be traced back to Zap Comix and Raw, artists breaking away from superhero and sci-fi stories, and other artists reinventing those tried and true stories in new way. Webcomics have now become such a prevalent part of the comics scene that now you have authors that got their influences not from the print comics from years past, but from the trailblazing authors that put their comics online.

mccloudgandhiMichel Fiffe was there showing the second collection of COPRA, a reimagining of 1980’s era Suicide Squad in indie-style trappings. Molly Ostertag and Brennan Lee Mulligan showed their own twist on the cape genre, Strong Female Protagonist, while publisher Youth in Decline had the comically dark Snackies. Understanding Comics author Scott McCloud was signing autographs and showing his new book The Sculptor with First Second Books. And then there are your stapled together zines that take their own weird approach, like the comics of Will Laren, who does one page comics of strange, wrinkly, and bizarrely colored people spouting nonsensical dialog.An all around odd mix, but that combination of different kinds of comics is what makes MoCCA a great show.

We met up with a few authors to ask them what comics sparked their own creativity.


MoCCA has gained something of a reputation for how much it moves from location to location. Originally starting off in the Puck Building, then moving the the 69th Regiment Armory, MoCCA 2015 was at Center 548 in Chelsea, adjacent the High Line. But all this is a moot point since Publishers Weekly has reported that MoCCA will have to move yet again due to Center 548 getting new owners. But wherever it winds up in 2016, MoCCA will remain a convention I hold near and dear.

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