So as not to overwhelm, I'm going to split up my recap of the 2008 MoCCA Art Festival by day, so stay tuned for further posts and be sure to hit those "Read More" links to read the full report from each day.
This year's experience began on the evening of Friday June 6 at the Museum's gallery space on Broadway at the exhibitor reception and early check-in, where enthusiastic volunteers were distributing badges:
Here's the full skinny from our pals at the Beguiling (almost certainly Canada's finest source for comics and graphic novels):
The Beguiling specialty bookstore is proud to present two great graphic novel events this June, appealing to the vast breadth of graphic novel aficionados in the city of Toronto! The first event features acclaimed Norwegian cartoonist JASON-currently serializing his newest work in The New York Times Magazine-as he comes to Toronto to launch his new work POCKET FULL OF RAIN. RAIN is a collection of early works by Jason, defying genre and style and showing his development into the internationally acclaimed author he is today. Jason will be interviewed on his life and career in an audio/visual presentation by The Beguiling's Peter Birkemoe at The Central, located directly adjacent to The Beguiling, on Tuesday June 10th at 8PM.
Then, the following week, The Beguiling will be working with The Toronto Public Library and The Merril Collection to officially launch THE WORLD OF STEVE DITKO, the first-ever biography of the reclusive co-creator of SPIDER-MAN! Toronto author and comics historian Blake Bell has exhaustively researched the life and career of Ditko, and it's on every page of this lavishly illustrated book. Bell will be on hand to launch the book with an audio/visual presentation of Ditko's artistic career on Wednesday, June 18th at 7PM at the Lillian H. Smith Library, 239 College St. (at Spadina).
In addition to the book launch and presentation, we are proud to announce that U.K. television and radio personality Jonathan Ross, who debuted his hour-long "IN SEARCH OF STEVE DITKO" documentary on the BBC last September, has granted us the rights to show the documentary at the Toronto event! This will be the first official screening in Canada, and attendees will get to view it for free!
This multifaceted anthology collects over 25 stories from the first decade of Jason's career, including his remarkable calling card, the novella-length thriller "Pocket Full of Rain," which has never before been published in English. Like a number of his initial stories, "Pocket" is actually drawn with realistic human beings instead of blank-faced animal characters — a true revelation for Jason fans. In fact, this book showcases three distinct styles: his earliest "realistic" drawing style (used to unsettling effect in some particularly creepy stories), an intermediate "bighead" cartoony style that still features humans (used for both humor and drama), and the "funny-animal" style he's now best known for.
The book reveals a young cartoonist experimenting with styles, working through his obsessions (love, loneliness, film, Hemingway) and paying tribute to his cartooning heroes (Wolverton, Moebius, Pratt). Also, croquet-playing nuns, sentient cacti, autobiographical drunken escapades, lists of people who deserve to die, and a color gallery featuring God cheating at Trivial Pursuit.
Join the acclaimed European master cartoonist JASON for a pre-MoCCA kickoff party, art show, and world premiere of his new book, POCKET FULL OF RAIN.
WHO: JASON WHAT: Opening reception, book signing and MoCCA pre-party WHERE: Rocketship 208 Smith St., Brooklyn, NY 11201 • 718.797.1348 WHEN: Friday, June 6, 8PM
Join cartoonist JASON for a rare North American exhibition of original art and the world premiere of his new collection, POCKET FULL OF RAIN.
One of the most acclaimed cartoonists of the last decade, Jason is a multiple Harvey and Eisner Award-winner whose work Publisher's Weekly describes as "Cross Ingmar Bergman with Walt Kelly and Raymond Carver and you may have some idea of what Norwegian cartoonist Jason's work is like... one of the medium's finest storytellers.
National Book Award winner Sherman Alexie says, "Jason's work is poetry. Beautiful and frightening. Redemptive and hopeless. He is the Kafka and Keats of the comic world."
JASON was born on the 16th of August 1965 in Molde, Norway. His acclaimed Eurpoean comic book series, MJAU MJAU, first gained him international recognition, including an appearance in the French publisher L'Association's epochal COMIX 2000 project, and publishers from other countries began picking up his work, including Fantagraphics in the U.S.
Jason's graphic novels include the autobiographical HEY, WAIT, the classic murder mystery THE IRON WAGON, the two-color Frankenstein parody YOU CAN'T GET THERE FROM HERE, and the full-color thrillers WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?, THE LEFT BANK GANG, I KILLED ADOLF HITLER, as well as THE LIVING AND THE DEAD and most recently, the swashbuckling sci-fi comedy THE LAST MUSKETEER.
Rocketship will premiere Jason's latest English-language book, POCKET FULL OF RAIN, collecting a selection of his earlier work, including the graphic novel "Lomma" and several early short stories.
After sojourns in Denmark, Belgium, and several cities in the U.S., the peripatetic cartoonist currently makes his home in Montpellier, France. In addition to the Rocketship event, Jason will be appearing Saturday and Sunday at the MoCCA Arts Festival at the Puck Building in Mnahattan's Lower East Side.
The reception for the artist will begin at Rocketship on Friday, June 6 at 8:00PM. Admission is free to the public of all ages. MoCCA attendees and exhibitors will also be able to pick up their badges at the event as well.
Are you reading Dash Shaw's BodyWorld? Jog is. And he reminds me to tell you that you should, too, because it's free and good! Speaking of free and good, are you reading Jason's Low Moon in the New York Times? Same deal.