Have you ever been trapped in a boiling hot gymnasium full of comic connoisseurs? I certainly haven’t…at least, not until this past Saturday.
“Is it always like this?” one comic-loving father asked me as a pushy crowd rushed passed him. “I don’t think so,” I said back, grateful for the table protecting me from the masses of children, teens, parents, and assortment of hipsters roaming the floors with wild and excited eyes.
This year’s Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival, in short, was an event to be remembered. With an all-star guest list of artists including Chris Ware, Charles Burns, Roz Chast, and our very own Art Spiegelman, it is no wonder that crowds came sprinting to the Williamsburg venue.
TOON Books, thanks to the help of our friend Bill Kartalopoulos, had a table at the front of it all. Kids, parents, and even older comic fans couldn’t help themselves from stopping and admiring the color and design that filled our table. As one woman was eyeing Frank Viva’s poster for A Trip to the Bottom of the World with envy, I asked her if she had any kids. “Nope,” she said, “this is just stunning.”
Our table soon filled with young boys and girls stretching their arms across our books, turning pages and touching covers. Parents with babies in Bjorns snatched up titles like Little Mouse Gets Ready and Jack and the Box anxious to get their little comic fans started early. When they found out the artists of the books were right next to them, things got even more exciting.
Trade Loeffler, artist of the hilariously smart Zig and Wikki books, had everyone smiling as he drew his characters for children of all ages and chatted about his favorite comics. TOON books all-star duo Dean Haspiel and Jay Lynch stole the show as they sold their book Mo and Jo Fighting Together Forever like wildfire, while of course making everybody in the vicinity laugh uncontrollably.
Our final event, a signing by Art Spiegelman, brought in a line that stretched out tables beyond ours. Avid fans waited patiently to meet their idol as he drew a detailed and personalized sketch for each. Art certainly made a lot of friends, whether it was the 8 year old Eva with her copy of Jack and the Box, underground comics follower “Sir Real” with his newly purchased special edition print, or even a long lost cousin. Yes, it was certainly a day to remember.