Returning as an in-person event after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the MoCCA Art Fest 2022, an indie comics and graphic novel festival held April 2-3, attracted nearly 6,000 fans to a new venue, the Metropolitan Pavilion, on 18th Street in Manhattan.
Anelle Miller, executive director of the Society of Illustrators, which organizes the annual event, said the rough estimate of the attendance was close to 6,000, noting that the bulk of attendees visited on Saturday. Indeed, on April 2 fans thronged the Metropolitan Pavilion and the line to get into the event extended up Sixth Avenue to nearly to 19th Street. The show had about 142 exhibitor tables. The last festival to be held in-person, the 2019 MoCCA Festival, attracted just under 7,000 fans.
Programming and in-person panels were held nearby at the School of Visual Arts Gallery on 21st Street. Guest artists included Derf Backderf (Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio), R. Kikuo Johnson (No One Else), Ron Wimberly (LAAB), Nora Krug (Belonging), and Rosemary Valero-O’Connell (Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me).
Miller acknowledged that the crowds on Saturday surprised the organizers. “What a great turnout from the public,” she said. “My thoughts are that everyone seemed so happy to be back after all this time—the mood was fantastic. The exhibitors were selling so much merchandise and art—which is of course what we want to happen.”
Publishers/exhibitors contacted by PW were quick to agree with Miller about the mood of the crowd. George Rohac, founder and manager of Organized Havoc, a manager/agent for comics and animation artists, said “we’re all excited to see fans after not seeing people for nearly three years.” Charles Kochman, editorial director of Abrams ComicArts, Abrams' graphic novel imprint, said that "the new venue feels like home, it’s the right size for MoCCA.”
Miller agreed with Kochman about the new venue. She told PW, “we will definitely be back in this space next year—we're looking at the first weekend in April 2023.”
Here are more photographs of the 2022 MoCCA Arts Festival.