June 11th, 2009

smokin'

Sickbed's Better Than A Deathbed/MOCCA Wrap-Up

Been knocked out since Monday with the flu. I'm feeling better now, at least I can work again, I was zonked the first two days and mostly stayed in bed and slept. It figures I'd have to get sick to get a decent night's sleep. We're far behind on work now, owing to MOCCA and both of us being under the weather. Which has been gloomy, if anyone cares. Emily is going nuts because she's feeling fine and is bored, poor thing.

Fallout from my MOCCA post: mostly being called some names, including "churlish" by one blogger named Sean Collins, for suggesting the Armory looked like a gym. Oh, my! Churlish! Prithy, I must make haste to a nunnery! I do hope he hurled his ye olde English epithets at the dozen or so other folks who invoked the same dastardly heresies about a big, old gloomy building (gym, flea-market, another blogger named Tucker Stone said it reminded him of a place from his youth where they held ye olde wrestling matches). So, have at thee, I slap thy face with a kid glove. He also called me a professional parade rainer or something like that. They always discount the nice things you say for the bad, yes, they do. However many upbeat MOCCA reports I've written in the past, however many times I've plugged the show and invited folks to attend, one bad review, I'm the Rainmaker. Boom, crash, head indoors, here comes the good time hammer to ruin everything for no reason at all. As if what I said made life harder on anyone than the lack of air conditioning or organization at MOCCA. As if what I said wasn't true, or within reason. Looked like a gym show to me, looked like a gym show to plenty of people who were there. Looks like it in a lot of the pictures folks posted from the event. Give me a break, thee.

Sorry about all the bullshit Thor talk, but I'm a sucker for writing that crap. I'll probably do it onceth or twiceth more before I'm doneth. Yeah, that was awful. Sorry.

Tucker Stone also made some remark about me that involved my biting the heads off live chickens at the Puck Building. I stopped doing the geek thing at the second SPX, so where he's coming from, I don't know. But it's nice to see my name tossed around on all these smart blogs. It's not the reason why I write about convention experiences, but since I never put out any new books, I guess it counts as some sort of PR. What ho!

Otherwise, I was going to post about some more stuff that bugged me about MOCCA -- some of the more nonsensical rejoinders to the complaints about the show ("It's NYC in the summer! It's supposed to be hot! Get over it!" As if the heat was all there was to it. "Comics are awesome! The parties were awesome! Whooo!" Ah, to be young and drunk again...), what I felt was the complete mishandling this year of the charity sketch tables, and the real problems with the refund policy for tables - oh, hell, let's go with that last one because it's a real mess and people will actually have to deal with this if they want to exhibit.

So, here's the refund policy as stated on the sheet they gave out at MOCCA:

- $50 non-refundable deposit.
- 10% processing fee on cancellations before October 2009 (so, that's $90, not $50)
- After February 5th, 2010, non-refundable deposit rises to $100 per table
- After April 16th, no refunds
- Refunds will only be issued when the canceled tables are re-sold

Um, okay. I think these are steep, maybe that's just me. And I don't know the old refund policies, because they were never so terribly interesting that Sarah had to point them out before we wrote out our check at the end of the show, so I can't compare. They obviously have their reasoning. I understand the event is a fundraiser, and whatever they can make goes to the museum. Okay, got it.

But here's what gets me: THEY HAVE NO DATES FOR THE NEXT SHOW. How can you expect people to reserve a table for the following year if they don't know when the event will be held -- and then slap them with these refund policies if the announced dates conflict with their lives? What if the show ends up on your anniversary? Mother's birthday? Vacation? Whatever? What if it ends up in July, or who knows when, because of NYC scheduling and the way things can go? How can you hold people to that refund policy without that information being available? 

Also, am I reading this right? If you wait to cancel until November, and do so before February -- you avoid the 10% processing fee? Does that make sense for them? Or am I missing something? It looks to me that a reasonable person could assume there's no 10% fee after October, and the $100 fee doesn't kick in until Feb, so...um...I dunno. Don't cancel until November, folks. Then argue with them some. Maybe you'll save a few bucks.

Here's another thing -- paying for a table is no guarantee of placement. Meaning, your table has no set space. meaning, how do you tell for sure whether or not they've re-sold "your" table? Okay, they would go by the date of the table being reserved. Sure, makes sense, right? But so many folks put in for the table on the last day of MOCCA, so that would be a "tie", if you get me. Who would know how it would actually be worked out? Call me paranoid, I'm more worried about mistakes than conspiracy, but I don't trust folks well enough to have them tell me whether "my" table has been re-sold or not when I have no way of knowing what "my" table was and who got it. I'm cynical that way, especially after seeing how things ran this year.

Anyway, another reason for me -- me, I say, me, I, not you, I'm not trying to churlishly rain on any parades here -- not to invest $400 bucks for a year with so many unanswered questions floating about the next show. And if I'm beating up on a show I normally love, then I'm not the only one. There's a lot of back and forth on this year's show out there on the world wide interweb, I'm far from the only one who wasn't impressed. Hot venue, overall disorganization (a volunteer posted in the comments section of my previous post that they were confused -- I mean, what the huh?), lack of PR, miserable website, bad information, unnecessary instructions, late opening, and now no set event dates coupled with a table increase and a wonky refund policy. You tell me. Did I rain on that parade, along with a few dozen others if not more, or did the parade kind of rain on itself just a little bit?

Also, why would anyone open a show late because of late books? Hasn't anyone discussed the lack of tickets and badges -- our row had badges but tohers didn't when we arrived -- seem more the cause? We saw plenty of books on tables when we got there, they can let people inside to wait for books, don't you think? If they could let them inside.

Here's the bottom line: Support the small press. Support comics. Keep an open mind. But call out stuff that is messed up, not working or just plain sucks. If MOCCA was arguably broken this year, it can be fixed. Let's hope for that, and keep our eyes out to see how things go. But people should be made aware of the problems because some folks are considering exhibiting, and a bad show can hurt you financially. A bad experience can sour you on further experiences. People should know the negatives as well as the positives about comics, about everything, because that's how you learn to avoid what might not work for you. If you want to make comics for the long haul, if you're passionate about comics and creating them, that's awesome. But  let's be realistic here, even if it hurts a little. Not everything's great. We should talk about that stuff, too. It might make a difference for someone just starting out.

And for the last time, bloggers -- THERE WAS NO FIRE AT THE PUCK BUILDING LAST YEAR. Stop saying that fer chrissakes.

Talk to you kids soon, gotta go make stuff.