Comic Arts Brooklyn, an annual indie and self-published comics and graphic novel festival, marked its return to the campus of Pratt Institute on November 11 with a change in its schedule and a boost in exhibitors. .
The show was held on a Sunday for the first time and attendance appeared strong, according Gabe Fowler, who organizes the show along with with Matthew James Wilson.
Although CAB does not provide attendance figures, Fowler said the number of exhibitors grew to 248, noting also that many of the 130 or so tables are shared by multiple exhibitors. Asked about the show’s ongoing relationship with Pratt, Fowler laughed.
“My expenses are up but I love the results. We’ve got crowds of people up and searching for books and looking at experimental art on a Sunday morning for the first time.” Fowler said he has also added programs to attract foreign artist-exhibitors and selected groups, offering them free tables if the invitees pay for their travel. “I want to do more of that in the future.”
Fowler is the owner of Desert Island, a Williamsburg-based indie comics bookstore, and founder of CAB. The comics festival moved to the Pratt Institute campus last year and the show is now co-presented by Desert Island and the Pratt Institute.
For a small one-day show, CAB attracts an impressive lineup of literary comics artists. Programming featured a public conversation between cartoonists Jim Woodring (Congress of Animals) and Lauren Weinstein (Goddess of War). And there were panels focused on artists Olivier Schrauwen (Parallel Lives), Ariel Schrag (Part of it), Julie Doucet (Dirty Plotte) and Mark Newgarden (How to Read Nancy).
Exhibiting publishers told PW that sales were good with crowds (including families) swarming across the sprawling Pratt institute fieldhouse by late Sunday morning. Avi Ehrlich is the publisher of Silver Sprockett, an indie comics publisher that publishes and distributes the work of Liz Suburbia (Sacred Heart from Fantagraphics, and Silver Sprockett's forthcoming 2019 sequel Egg Cream) also exhibited at CAB last year. He said “sales are good and it’s been a good experience.”
Other exhibitors included the Portland comics store Floating World Comics, which presented Amnesia, new comics publication by the mysterious and highly regarded artist Al Columbia, who was on hand signing; Hartley Lin, author of Young Frances, a 2018 PW Best Book graphic novel, Charles Burns (Last Look), Ignatz winner Richie Pope (That Box We Sit On), and Jane Mai (So Pretty/So Very Rotten) and many others.