First Up, Adam Staffaroni
This year's festival runs tomorrow and Sunday, June 23-24 at the Puck Building (293 Lafayette at Houston) in New York City from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm.
I've a few more interviews to post, including an expansive one with CCS senior and Sundays co-editor Joe Lambert. I'll be posting throughout the coming three days, at odd hours (as my parents are visiting us this weekend), so keep an eye out here throughout the weekend.
The Sundays crew was working their asses off yesterday, lovingly hand-binding copies of the oversize Sundays anthology. I popped in three times during the day and evening to sign and add a sketch to every copy that was ready for the trimming machine, so they'll have some copies on hand with signature and sketches from yours truly for sale.
I also bopped back to CCS around 10:30 to drop off some non-alcohol beverages for the troops; the basement production studio was also brimming with activity. Robyn Chapman, Gabby Schulz, Adam Staffaroni, Emily Wieja and more were hard at work on their respective MoCCA comics and mini-comics -- copying, silkscreening, folding, stapling, binding, creasing -- and every book and print looked extraordinary. What a rich harvest of comics!
Back to Sundays: get to their MoCCA table early, though, as their Herculean efforts still mean there are limited quantities of Sundays to peddle, and this one's a keeper. I took my copy home and spent some time with it last night: the book is a beaut, and I'm really glad I've got a page in there.
I also went home with a batch of new comics, all marvelous stuff. JP Coovert's latest (literally!) is Adrift, and it's a gem, one of JP's best -- as is Alex Joon Kim and Jessica Abston's accordion-fold poetic wonder Medusa a new high-water mark for Alex (and Jess, this is my first taste of your poetry; it's excellent!). I coaxed signatures out of everyone, and shared the booty with Marge when I got home. Bryan Stone (whose interview will be up later today) handed me a copy of his Ominum Gatherum 1, a tasty and tidy sampler of Bryan's year one CCS highlights. A box from Sam Gaskin had arrived at CCS with my name cited on the exterior ("Make sure Steve gets one of these!"), which is all Jess and Betsey (manning the CCS office) needed to convince me to open the box, and lo and behold, there was a generous sample pack of Sam Gaskin's newsprint edition of his Xeric Award-winning Pizza Wizard, along with Pizza Wizard pins -- more bountiful harvest for MoCCA! Congrats, Sam! It looks tremendous, and I love it.
It's going to be quite a MoCCA show, folks, with the CCS 'Wave' alone to consider. No doubt, there's much more awaiting everyone who attends -- have a great show, one and all.
Again, I won't be there -- my convention days are over, folks -- but my work will be. As noted this past weekend here, if you're looking for my comics work, there's a good sampler of work old (at Rick Veitch's King Hell Press table, in the brand-new Shiny Beasts collection) and new (a two-pager in the Trees & Hills anthology, aliens and trippy alien encounters in "Area Stoned" in Sean Morgan's Capsules anthology at the CCS tables, and the new Tyrant one-pager in Sundays -- ask for one of the signed copies, if supplies last!). Please note: the box of Accent UK's anthology Zombies arrived stateside today, so that book will be available at MoCCA at the CCS table. Plenty of new Bissette comics for you at the show!
Here's the first interview of the day. It's short and sweet, but don't judge the man or the cartoonist from the brevity of this particular exchange.
Adam Staffaroni is among CCS's pioneer graduating class, and he's been a real anchor for the CCS experience thus far. He's teaching comics (even as you read this, at one of the many New England summer comics camps), too, and I had the pleasure of working with Adam in that capacity this past winter.
Adam's presence will be felt long after graduation, too, as Adam is keystone and co-founder of
SB: Where do you herald from, Adam, and what got you into the comics medium as a lad?
ADAM STAFFARONI: I grew up in Connecticut, went to undergrad at Dartmouth and then floundered a couple years before coming to CCS. I always loved the comic strips in the daily newspaper, they were really the only part of the paper I cared about reading every single day. I didn't get into comic books, though, until I was older, and my second or third comic was Spider-Man 2099 #5, and the art in that got me hooked on comic books.
Rich Tommaso and Andrew Arnold, mercilessly mocking an ever-stoic Adam (all photos: Emily Wieja)
SB: When did you start making your own comics?
ADAM: I always enjoyed drawing, and had been drawing comics/superhero type cartoons ever since I was 4 or 5, playing with chalk in the driveway when one of our neighbors came over and drew a superhero on the driveway. I thought it was the coolest thing in the world.
My first real comic was a project for my senior year Spanish class (1999). It was about two teens dog sitting, and the dog stops a bank robbery by beating up a dozen armed gunmen. I really didn't make any comics after that until my CCS application.
SB: So, you were at Dartmouth -- and then -- well, what brought you to CCS, just across the river?
ADAM: I was considering getting my Masters in English studying comic books, and found the NACAE [The National Association of Comics Art Educators] website when I was researching trying to find schools that offered such a program. Through the NACAE I got in touch with James Sturm, and started paying attention to news about a comics school he was starting because I recognized the name.
SB: What are you bringing to MoCCA? It’s the debut issue of your CCS thesis project, Staff --
ADAM: Staff #1 is my personal anthology. It starts with Chapter 1 of a fantastic adventure story involving a lumberjack named Askem Paka. It also includes my work on my Roosevelt Park weekly comic strip, and "I Know Joe Kimpel: the Beginning." I plan for this to be an ongoing series featuring whatever comics work I'm producing at any stage in my life. "Askem" will be a continuing story, and issue 2 (due in the fall) will start my most abitious project to date, "Running in Place."
SB: Good luck at MoCCA, Adam, and I can’t wait to see Staff #1!
More later today and all day tomorrow and Sunday...