I spent the weekend holding down the fort with my new comic pals Steve Seck and Sara Lindo. Steve’s from Center for Cartoon Studies, Sara’s from SVA. Our table was against the back wall and while that’s not a problem at all, the show decided to place a series of standing tables in front of our area. This effectively cut off foot traffic so much that we hardly sold any comics all weekend!
This was the view from our table. As you can see there’s a big crowd at the show (this was the last third of the day on Saturday), but there is negligible traffic coming our way. Instead of aisles leading straight to the back wall, there is this asteroid belt of high tables dubbed “the reading area” on the official map. While it does give attendees a place to catch their breath a bit, it completely cuts off the walking flow and redirects casual foot traffic away from our corner. I described the arrangement as a “force field” for how effectively it protected us from the threat of making any sales.
On Sunday, the second day of the show, one of my tablemates actually sold no comics at all until about four o’clock. And all three of us sold fewer comics than we did on each of our respective first shows ever. I sold seventeen comics at my first MoCCA back in 2003 (when it was a single-day affair). I didn’t even sell half of that over the course of two days this year. My comics have gotten better and my name has gotten bigger. This is a preposterous scenario.
Through all of this I had a good time this weekend. I got to meet some internet friends for the first time ever, I got to catch up with and hang out with previously-made friends and I got to slap palms with a bunch of new people. I don’t want to act like this was the Misery of a Thousand Sorrows or anything like that. But we can’t let things like this continue to happen.
-Darryl Ayo Brathwaite.