The Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival 2010: A Rebuttal

Categories:  Events

As I stated yesterday, I very much enjoyed this past weekend’s Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival. I touched a bit upon the concerns over show curation, stating that, while I do understand the sense of exclusion felt amongst artists who were not asked to take part in the proceedings, I also had no problems with the existence of such a show in a city like New York City, where there are a plethora of festivals whose tabling system is based solely on a first come, first serve basis.

Earlier this morning, I received an e-mail from a local artist I respect stating that I was, perhaps, missing something. There may be something in that assessment. After all, I approached this particular show largely from the perspective of an attendee and largely liked what I saw—and all of those I surveyed who were exhibiting had, it seems, equally positive experiences. Gabe, Dan, and Bill really pulled together a wonderful and vital show.

Given the show’s attendance, it seems unlikely that anyone will write off the concept of a curated show as a failed experiment, and as more and more shows begin to spring up around metropolitan areas already served by a number of comics festivals, it’s likely that more and more organizers will opt for a similar model.

So with that in mind, I present a rebuttal from a cartoonist who, while not asked to participate in the show, did attend the event as a member of the public.

I would love to hear some thoughts in the comments section below. I realize how often these things tend to devolve into shouting matches when argued in the confines of a Web forum, but I do think that, if we take the show as a model of sorts for the future of comics shows, we can certainly have a serious conversation without any of the name calling.



I think that the cartoonists who were shut out of the proceedings of Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival were upset because this IS their niche. It’s not the guy who draws Green Lantern who’s saying “HEY, NO FAIR!” It’s people who are peers wondering why they were forgotten or ignored.

This is the fundamental problem in Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival. The show was well-run and a good deal of fun, but it doesn’t represent the art comics scene. What the show organizers originally said is that they were going to have an application process from which they would choose the final exhibitors. Many cartoonists were actively courted by the festival organizers and asked to apply once the exhibitor information became public.

Those cartoonists were surprised and angered when it turned out that the organizers decided to simply pick a number of cartoonists and fold their arms across their chests and say “don’t you know what ‘curated’ means?” The organizers said they would do one thing and ended up doing another. Lots of people felt burned and anecdotally, several stayed home. Some have sworn off anything to do with the festival or its organizers.

The most problematic aspect is that the festival (or any festival or convention) is in a position to lead the general discussion of the art form. People who attend the festival receive the implication that what is seen at the show is “relevant” and important. There are a lot of working, contemporary cartoonists in this specific niche of comics who are therefore, by omission, implied to be irrelevant. Now, cartoonists and indie comics junkies will know that isn’t the case, but how about the casual attendee or the occasional alternative comics reader? The show sends a message that certain people are important in 2010 and other people are not as good or not as relevant.

Unfortunately, the comics scene–especially the indie comics scene–gives off the impression of being led by groups of people who see it as a social arena more than an artistic arena. Privately, I’ve spoken to plenty of cartoonists who were furious about the way the show has been handled, but didn’t say anything because they cannot afford to get involved in some intra-comics fighting that could damage their reputation or ability to advance.

Arguments in comics seem to get ugly fast and seem to damage careers in ways that aren’t worth it. So it becomes another lost opportunity to connect with readers, another path closed off, another symbol of the internally-focused comics scene. Another neon sign that says “we don’t want you, you’re not cool.” It’s one thing to run a festival with a narrow focus. It’s a different thing entirely to run a festival with that narrow focus and only invite one’s friends, or persons of relative celebrity, excluding the possibility of actually reviewing and curating work.

Anyway, that’s what people who were frozen out were saying about the festival.

The festival itself was very enjoyable.

35 Comments to “The Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival 2010: A Rebuttal”

  1. Robert Boyd | December 6th, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    I have the luxury of looking at this from the outside. I have no vested interest. That said, since only a small number of cartoonists make a living at comics, I wonder why this anonymous cartoonist is writing as if the stakes are so high? Are they really that high?

    “People who attend the festival receive the implication that what is seen at the show is “relevant” and important. There are a lot of working, contemporary cartoonists in this specific niche of comics who are therefore, by omission, implied to be irrelevant.”

    I think this is hugely overstated, but let me ask a question–who should have been removed from the show so that the ones who had been excluded could be included? You see the problem here, right? With limited space, any exhibitor brought in would mean another exhibitor excluded. Since you have a problem with the curation here, how should exclusion and inclusion been decided? You don’t get to include everyone.

    “This is the fundamental problem in Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival. The show was well-run and a good deal of fun, but it doesn’t represent the art comics scene.”

    So? It represented what the people who put it on wanted it to represent. If you have a better notion of what the art comics scene is, why don’t you host a festival? It’s a lot of work, but it’s not impossible. Indeed, the barriers to entry for holding this sort of festival are really low. I realize this probably sounds like classic “if you think you can do better, go for it!” But actually I’m serious. I think there need to be more festivals like this in geographically distinct locations. I certainly don’t think that this festival defined art comics–I think there is plenty of room for dialogue in the form of competing festivals, which could be built on all kinds of different selection and presentation concepts.

  2. zik | December 6th, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    It is not Dan Nadel’s and Gabe Fowler’s responsibility to put on a show that will represent every single type of indie comics out there, nor do I think it was their intention. On the other hand, I do empathize with the “social circle” critique, as I have experienced it first hand at similar shows like SPX and APE, and could completely see a curated show like BCGF being even more obvious in their preferential treatment toward those who happen to be their friends instead of artistic merit. But I cannot honestly say that I would not do the same thing.

  3. Jenny Gonzalez-Blitz | December 6th, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    While last year I was a participant in the show (with the House of 12), this year my husband and I simply went as attendees, which was fine. We enjoyed ourselves. While I’m not sure what Gabe and Dan’s criteria is for who gets put in the show from year to year, I understand that it’s their show and the space the church offers is considerably more limited than the Armory. If they prefer to do their show by invitation, I suppose it’s in their rights, though obviously a casualty is that a lot of indie cartoonist’s work won’t be seen. All in all, it’s unfortunate that NYC currently offers indie cartoonists either the option of paying the increasingly exorbitant fees of the more established festivals, or hope to be included in a curated one. By which I don’t want to point a finger at any specific organizers–I think there’s definitely a problem of skyrocketing expenses of venues and other spaces in NYC. It’s possible that the only option may become more smaller shows in intimate venues, but these of course would not be able to accommodate everyone in the comix community.

  4. Cheese | December 7th, 2010 at 12:48 am

    House of Twelve were early adopters of BCFG in 2009. I don’t think that the organizers were under any obligation to invite us back, but it was kind of odd that they didn’t. There are a number of NYC creators I know who feel the same way: not particularly pissed, but y’know… miffed. I guess it’s my own belief that local comics shows should be about the local community.

    Here’s my issue with the BCGF curation model, as opposed to say the Tcaf model, in which everyone is screened, not-so-much hand picked. It’s two-fold:

    The Nobody
    The great thing about indie shows is coming across that one table with the lone kid hawking his first mini. That first opportunity to discover someone who could potentially turn the industry on it’s ear is the real thrill of indie comics, at least for me.

    The Rent is Too Damn High
    MoCCA is overpriced. At $400 a table ($250 for a half) it’s the most expensive indie show in America. BCGF is substantially more affordable, opening the door for The Nobody. I honestly saw BCGF as a replacement for MoCCA; a show that holds truer to the ideals the wayward museum show has lost over the last few years.

    There’s something to be said for the ‘clique’ complaint. I am sure some folks were invited to BGCF because of their relationships with the organizers rather then, to quote Bill K., “to present the state of the art form,” (the next line of that quote, “as Gabe, Dan, and I see it,” sort of quantifies it). That’s going to happen. As a publisher of anthologies, I always defer to my pals first before taking outside submissions. I can understand how someone could perceive the Ho12 group, either through our books or our monthly comic jams (see plug below) as being equally cliquish (although it’s always been my personal policy to be as open as possible).

    In the end, what’s done is done, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to all the exhibitors who made the show a resounding success, with many of them being close friends I of course wish them the best. I would only hope that next year the organizers reconsider their invite-only policy, as I personally feel it splinters the very community the show was created to foster.

    Plug time: The Ho12 collective includes Eisner nominees, Ignatz winners, Harvey nominees, several Xeric winners and creators published by Fantagraphics, Top Shelf & Buenaventura — a wide array of talented cartoonists spanning a vast portion of the indie comics spectrum. Not to forget, through the monthly New York Comic Jams ( we’ve been a focal point of the indie-comics community in New York City for a decade. Currently we are hard at work producing a bi-monthly anthology series for Comixology’s Comics app. Check out for more information.

    PS – the above argument of, “If you don’t like it, do your own show!” is ridiculous. I think we can have a conversation about the various models of running a small press comic book show without everyone throwing their own conventions.

  5. Robert Boyd | December 7th, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    “PS – the above argument of, “If you don’t like it, do your own show!” is ridiculous. I think we can have a conversation about the various models of running a small press comic book show without everyone throwing their own conventions.”

    OK, I knew this might not fly as an argument, so I withdraw the suggestion. (I still think that more festivals are better, though.)

    I think the failure to pick up new talent is the best argument against a curated show. But that deficiency could be easily solved if anyone were allowed to apply for the festival, but only those chosen by the festival organizers (or even a jury) could display.

  6. Cheese | December 7th, 2010 at 12:55 pm

    “But that deficiency could be easily solved if anyone were allowed to apply for the festival, but only those chosen by the festival organizers (or even a jury) could display.”

    That’s how TCAF has been run, and how BCGF had said this show would be run. That’s one of the more popular gripes, that the selection process was changed without telling folks.

    The problem with more festivals is over-saturation. There are a limited amount of creators in any region and a limited amount of customers too. Having an indie show a month would break the bank of small press types who often see ‘making table’ as a success, it would also get tired in the eyes of potential customers. NYC is a pretty comics-friendly town. There are events, book release parties and in-stores all the time thanks to a wide array of indie friendly shops and local organizers. Regular, competing conventions would end up splintering the base more, cutting everyone’s ability to succeed.

  7. gabby | December 7th, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    in my tiny little biased opinion, two crude phrases seem enough to cover this whole weird issue: rec rooms are only so big.
    and i thought gabe made the most of the space he had. wasn’t everyone just wrining their hands over how extortionate bigger-venued, deeper-pocketed cons have become? this seems to be the only realistic solution, outside of a rupert murdoch sponsorship.

    2.if you don’t like it, make your own con.
    seriously. anyway, that seems to be the philosophy behind the BCGF, and it doesn’t look THAT hard or expensive to pull off. your reward for making your own con is, you get to pick the cartoonists you like. luckily, gabe seems to have pretty good taste (hi lynda barry! hi gary panter! hi dozens of other comic creators i’ve admired for the past 20 years!). and considering how despotic this con’s organizing is, it seems to have been roundly enjoyed by most of the attendees/exhibitors — at least, judging by the reviews i’ve already read on the internet, which are almost bizarrely free of the usual (& usually deserved) post-con rants about air-conditioning this, organizer-fuckup that.

    it was free, it was well-curated, it was well-attended. where’s the beef, again? maybe i just missed some secret bit of behind-the-scenes cartoonist drama somewhere about BCGF, but the way i see it is this: we can either complain about MoCCA/SPX/the 100 other comic cons that exist primarily to further impoverish the already-starving small-press comics community, OR, we can actually support and encourage smaller cons that offer an alternative.

    the next time i want to pay $666 for a chance to sit in a marriott convention room next to that same wall-sized Doctor Ninja/Toupy Doops banner, i know where to send my visa/mastercard. in the meantime… maybe we can just relax and enjoy a room full of decent comics?

  8. gabby | December 7th, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    (uh, nothing against doctor ninja or toupy doops. i just have banner envy.)

  9. Alixopulos | December 7th, 2010 at 2:42 pm

    I guess my quibble with the critique that a local show should showcase local talent is that every show is a local show to somebody. There’s perfectly reasonable emotional reaction to not being invited to something, but that’s not necessarily a substantive flaw of the show. I didn’t go to BCGF, and wasn’t invited, but it seems like anecdotally it was real success, so I think it’s incumbent on one who cares about the artform to consider in the abstract, “Am I happy that a showcase like this exists somewhere on earth, regardless of my own place within it?”

  10. Alixopulos | December 7th, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    im pulled by honestly held elitist attitudes towards art and egalitarian tendencie towards everything else. I think there should be both curated shows and wide open shows. But even the “wide open” shows are curated, it’s just on the down-low. Some artists get special treatment, preferential table placement, favors and dispensations thrown their way based on seniority, celebrity or amity.

  11. Liz Baillie | December 7th, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    I have no problem with curated shows, I think there should be more of them! TCAF is a great example. Nevertheless, it’s just plain shady to claim to be offering “applications” when you’re just going to go picking whoever you already know anyway. To put up the facade of “oh, we’ll give everyone a chance to apply and pick who we like from the applications” but then never bother to do so is disingenuous and I think that’s what really makes the people who got shut out feel shitty.

    Personally, I don’t know the organizers and I’m pretty sure they have no idea who I am either. I never expected or desired a BCGF “golden ticket” because honestly, I can see the type of creator they’re going for at that show and I know I’m not it. I have no problem with that. I went as an attendee in 2009 and was kind of bored, obviously it’s not the show for me. The whole shady business of pretending to accept applications when no such applications ever existed just sort of took my general disinterest to the next level.

    I do think there should be more shows like TCAF though – genuinely curated shows that allow anyone to apply (but they hand-pick from the applications), are indie-focused, that are free to the public in a centrally located area and are reasonably priced for the exhibitors.

  12. Cheese | December 7th, 2010 at 4:11 pm


    Why should I have to hold my own convention just because I disagree with the way this one was organized? That seems a bit over the top, especially for a city that already has four indie friendly comics shows a year. I think maybe just giving King Con my table money next year will do.

  13. Susie C. | December 7th, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    I think the lack of clarity from the outset is the real issue here — I’ve spoken with cartoonists who were invited by one organizer, only to be uninvited by another. I don’t really care if someone wants to have a private party, just be honest about it.

    Anyway, I still like the BCGF better than 95 % of conventions because it’s free.

    What I find most troubling here is the expectation of an endless positive feedback loop. Artists should be able to provide critique without fearing retribution from the clique — otherwise how can we hope for anything to improve? I don’t think “it happens all the time” (here in the case of preferential treatment) is a reason to not discuss something.

  14. Robin Enrico | December 7th, 2010 at 4:33 pm

    Desert Island carries my minis. They sell pretty well there. I have spoken to Gabe on many occasions. And yet I didn’t even bother to apply for the show. Why? Because it’s HIS (and other’s) show. If they want me to exhibit they will let me know.

    I don’t take this as a slight at all. Lord knows I do enough shows every year to be pretty burnt out on them. And I’ve done enough shows over the years to know that you will never really have that mythical big show where you make a ton of money and some how get famous.

    I’m honestly glad there are more of these small time shows popping up. BCGF reminded my a lot of both Expozine and the Philly Alt Comic Con, which I DID do this year, and had a great time at. Now, both those shows function a little differently; but had much the same vibe. In that there wasn’t that desprate “how am I going to make my table cost?” feeling in the air. And above all, I really feel that there need to be more shows where attendees can get in free. I’m tired of selling my books to what often feels like the exact same crowd.

    My only regret was that I showed up late for BCGF and didn’t get to hangout and chat as much as I would like to. But yeah. I am with Gabby on this one.

  15. Alixopulos | December 7th, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    Susie, so should there only be a positive feedback loop around your negative feedback? How can your negative feedback loop ever hope to improve unless people feel comfortable criticising your complaints without fear of reprisals?

  16. Liz Baillie | December 7th, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    So… no one should criticize anything? I’m kind of confused at what you’re getting at.

    In this case, the criticisms are EXTREMELY minor. I mean, really. No one’s got Gabe’s face on a sign with a Hitler mustache drawn on it here. Some people are annoyed because the organizers said it would be a curated show for which applications would be accepted, but it was an invite-only show. I don’t think anyone would say there’s something inherently wrong with doing it invite-only… just that they be honest about it. I know more than a few people who were planning on applying (some of whom were exhibitors the first year) who felt a little burned that they lied about it. I think it’s fair to bring that up, because the lack of clarity left a lot of people feeling shitty, and there was no reason for it.

    Obviously most everyone who went had a great time and the exhibitors all seem to report great sales. It’s clear that BCGF perfectly fills the “art comics” niche and it’s about time there was a convention catering to that, especially in Brooklyn. The show clearly fills a much-needed void.

    Every convention seems to have one little thing or other that could use improvement or clarity, and this one is no exception. I honestly don’t understand why they didn’t just plainly say they were an invite-only show from the start – that’s what they did last year, right? I mean… it’s just confusing and only leads to rumors and hearsay.

  17. gabby | December 7th, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    My very un-nuanced point was this: it seems like BCGF was created at least partially as a lower-budget RESPONSE to the increasing shittiness of NY cons like $$MoCCA$$ and King Con. I’m willing to forgive a lot of this rumored “shadiness” because all I can see at the moment is Gabe (& whoever else got involved) taking positive steps to making the con they want to attend, rather than just sitting around whining about how cons suck (which is what I do). What can I say, BCGF suited my tastes. I guess that means I’m part of the In Clique! Seriously though, I was glad that BGCF went as well as it did, and maybe it’ll inspire other people to make more similar conventions or other comics-that-don’t-suck-related activities. From my perspective, the idea of this making Desert Island some kind of Death Star of untoward intentions just comes off as… kind of irrelevant. All I know is I didn’t have to pay anyone to get in, and met a lot of really awesome cartoonists.
    -gabby the stormtrooper

  18. gabby | December 7th, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    You’re clearly appropriating the “positive-feedback loop in comics” concept for your own purposes. I think that diminishes the chances of referring to that phenomenon in the many instances in comics where it genuinely applies. Complaint is a limited resource.

  19. Alixopulos | December 7th, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    Ha ha yes, I am saying that no one should criticize anything. Ok, no. In my whimsical way, saying that criticism is as much fair game as the thing being criticized. That’s just a conversation, right? You seem bugged that anyone would have take issue with “EXTREMELY minor” critiques, but if they’re worth bringing up, aren’t they worth engaging with?

  20. Tom Spurgeon | December 8th, 2010 at 4:38 am

    I remember when Dave Sim had a Spirits of Independence tour and the way it worked was that the people that were pledged to the tour somehow got to exhibit inside the room rented and those who weren’t could set up out in the hallway and Jim Blanchard took a look at the two locations and set up inside the room but no one told him he couldn’t because everyone was scared of him.

    Curated shows have their positive qualities, but there are inherent criticisms and these are them. There are problems with other models, too. The success of the show in future years will likely depend in part on successfully negotiating the potential problems that arise in these areas, or in hitting the positives for more people than any negatives that may arise for other people. It’s not a super-complicated thing and no convention experience pleases everyone, with the possible exception of some of the furry cons and that one based on the movie “Somewhere In Time.”

  21. Margo | December 8th, 2010 at 7:29 am

    Thanks so much for writing this crit. It completely hits the nail in the head (down to “not wanting to damage your career” while trying to be critical). I completely agree that a curated show is not a bad thing. As long as it is advertised as such from the get-go, and probably not called a show that is “exemplary of brooklyn,” as th title suggests.
    I love the “make your own show, then” rebuttal. I did make my own show; thanks.

  22. Robin Enrico | December 8th, 2010 at 9:17 am

    @Liz B. I agree with you that saying it is open application and then rescinding that is kind of a jerk around. I wasn’t part of that process this year, so I can’t speak for it. Although I was last year and got turned down, but I wasn’t too miffed when I got the whole “curated” thing. But yes. More transparency all around is ALWAYS appreciated.

    @Gabby. I will only refer to said convention as $$MoCCA$$ for here on out.

  23. Ian Harker | December 8th, 2010 at 10:42 am

    As somebody who works closely with the organizer of the Philly Alt Comic Con I can say with a 100% confidence that the idea of launching your own show is NOT ridiculous. Pat’s done the show now 2 years in a row with no advanced capital and almost no industry connections and walked away with happy exhibitors, happy attendees and probably a month’s worth of personal income.

    You can find cheap venue space and table rentals for about the same amount of money as it takes me to raise in one month on kickstarter for an issue of my tabloid.

    I love BCGF as a curated show because it’s an extension of Dan & Gabe’s vision as editors. It’s like a living anthology. Cheese, when I suggested you to do Cheese-con I totally wasn’t joking. Do it in Jersey City. You’re an editor, you know what you like, show people what you like.

  24. Neil Brideau | December 8th, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Yeah, thank you Brian, for being able to bring this issue up from a somewhat neutral position.

    I think Margo makes a good point. Calling it the BROOKLYN Comics and Graphics Festival suggests an inclusive sense of community that a strictly curated show has difficulty producing. If this were called the Desert Island Comics and Graphics Festival, or the Picturebox Comics and Graphics Festival, the over-all feel might be more “strictly professional” in which the decision to pick all the exhibitors makes business sense.

    Indie comics -for better or worse- is a medium of self-expression (more so than mainstream comics). The stories we tell, and the themes and issues we deal with are persona relevantl. So its totally understandable that people’s feelings will be hurt not only being left out, but feeling like you didn’t even have the chance to be left out.

    According to all the reports of those who attended, the show was a real success, every table featured amazing artists, a lot of them debuting exciting new work. Some questions that I think are worth asking are:

    1. Are the costs of hurt feelings in the half professional/half personal arena of indie comics worth it?

    2. Is such a model sustainable, or will the selection begin to get stale (seeing Dan and Gabe’s same oeuvre year in year out), and -as stated above, which was my biggest issue with the show- lose out on helping harbor new comics artists by being accessible to folks no one has ever heard of before?

  25. Austin English | December 8th, 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Feeling that the show is about what’s ‘relevant’ and your exclusion means that you are not relevant is in your head. BCGF does not dictate what your art is about. You do.

  26. Robin Enrico | December 8th, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    I think Neil is getting at the heart of a lot of issues in indie comics theses days with his “Are the costs of hurt feelings in the half professional/half personal arena of indie comics worth it?” question. I don’t really know the answer to that one. But I like what Austin said.

    If you are an artist, in a way, it shouldn’t matter what other people think about your art. You should be doing it first and foremost for yourself. And as there are so many more avenues to reach audiences these days (internet), being part of one convention or another shouldn’t really matter. Why anyone’s feelings would be hurt by not getting to be a part of this show is rather baffling to me.

    I also don’t think that the show has ANY responsibility to be representative of the Brooklyn comics scene. Even if I feel it did do a decent job of doing so. I honestly agree with the whole “start your own con” idea. Wasn’t the point of printing our own mini that we did need anyone’s approval to get our art out there in the first place. Why are people suddenly so desperate for approval from outside sources?

  27. Mike | December 8th, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    “Somewhat neutral” my ass. Heater was actively involved in TWO other cons this year, folks.

  28. bheater | December 8th, 2010 at 2:37 pm

    Actually, three cons, Mike. I posted my opinions in the other story (and in the intro a bit)–I never claimed to be approaching this subject without a point of view. I had a cartoonist approach me with concerns, and I posted them up.

  29. Alixopulos | December 8th, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    The show took place in Brooklyn. That’s about much as much reason as anyone needs to call it the “Brooklyn Comics & Graphics Fest.” I mean, that is one especially arbitrary thing to cite as a mistake on the organizers part.

  30. Robert Boyd | December 8th, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    Neil Brideau wrote: “Calling it the BROOKLYN Comics and Graphics Festival suggests an inclusive sense of community that a strictly curated show has difficulty producing.”

    I just don’t see this. Comics conventions have been naming themselves after their location since the 60s. I don’t think most attendees automatically assume a show named after the town where it is being held is somehow a “locals only” show. I didn’t. I came in from out of town for this show. This is the only comic convention outside of my home city, Houston, that I went to this year. I wanted to go to a good alt/indy/art comics show. TCAF and SPX were considered, but both conflicted with other things I had planned. I had heard the Brooklyn show was good, it fit my schedule, so I decided to check it out (and I’m really glad I did). Based on what I read about last year’s show, based on their promotion of this year’s show, and based on the fact that a non-Brooklyn artist drew their poster, I certainly made no assumption that it would be a heavily “local” show per se. I think my assumption in this regard was reasonable and perhaps typical.

    “1. Are the costs of hurt feelings in the half professional/half personal arena of indie comics worth it?”

    I have no idea. It was worth it for me to attend. I might not come back next year (maybe I’ll try TCAF instead), but I would definitely keep it on my very short list of out-of-town festivals to consider.

    “2. Is such a model sustainable, or will the selection begin to get stale (seeing Dan and Gabe’s same oeuvre year in year out), and -as stated above, which was my biggest issue with the show- lose out on helping harbor new comics artists by being accessible to folks no one has ever heard of before?”

    I think this is an issue they will definitely have to deal with. But their model isn’t set in stone. It might be a good idea to bring in a “guest curator” as a consultant to keep things fresh, or to go through through an application/selection process. But it seems likely that no matter what they do, some people who want to exhibit won’t be able to. So some “hurt feelings” are inevitable.

  31. Austin English | December 8th, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    It also bears noting that Desert Island has an AMAZING policy for in store events, hosting release parties for almost any group of kids with a new zine. I think they do more for the ‘community’ with that then any other comic store in NYC.

  32. Cheese | December 8th, 2010 at 4:03 pm


    Drunk and riled up, Cheese-Con sounds like a good idea, but the reality of it is it’d be 70% the same show as BCGF or $$MoCCA$$ or PAAC for that matter, with a velvet rope lounge for booger and poop jokes.

    Ho12 has a new series of events coming early 2011 in league with the CBLDF, we’ll have to make due with that.

  33. J.T. Yost | December 10th, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    The bottom line, in my opinion, is that Gabe & Dan put on a great show. They used the money from selling tables to fly in some really amazing guests. I, for one, enjoyed seeing people like Lynda Barry, Jordan Crane and Renee French who don’t get to the East coast that often. They didn’t put the show on to make money, and I think they did really well with the limited space.

    If you didn’t get a table at BCGF (like myself), then get one at MoCCA, SPX & King Con (like I do!). Also, not having at table at BCGF frees you up to ATTEND the show…and it’s FREE!

  34. Dustin Harbin | December 13th, 2010 at 10:36 am

    You guys. You should all be drawing more comics instead of bitching about why you did or didn’t get picked for the teeball team, good gravy. I got to table at the show through the good graces of Anne Koyama. I’m sure I wouldn’t be “picked” otherwise, for any number of reasons I can imagine. Who cares? There are so many shows on the calendar, way too many to worry about the ones you can’t do. Whatever it was that Gabe and Dan and Bill did with BCGF, it worked–that was a great show, really enjoyable, and really coherent in terms of the guests and the attendees those guests drew. If some feelings got hurt while the sausage was being made, that’s the cost of doing business. If they handled the “you’re out” notifications poorly, then maybe they’ll get better at that. Or maybe not! Worrying about stuff like this is like actually looking to see if your hand is bigger than your face.

  35. Cheese | December 14th, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    I love the idea that there’s no room for nuance. Either the show was perfectly run and the entire comics industry should line up and dole out BJ’s to Gabe, Dan and Bill, or… I should spend more time making comics? What does that even mean?

    There is considerably more griping about the griping then there is actual griping, and it’s also a lot more mean-spirited.