Comic Arts Brooklyn, an annual indie and self-published comics and graphic novel festival held November 11-12, got a lot bigger after relocating this year to the campus of Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.
The show, previously held in a Brooklyn Catholic school gymnasium for the last four years, has moved its exhibition floor into the Brooklyn art school’s spacious athletic fieldhouse (the Pratt Cannoneers athletic logo loomed over the show floor), in addition to making use of nearby classrooms and auditoriums to hold panels, presentations and workshops.
More photographs of this year’s CAB 2017 can be found here.
The move has allowed CAB—which is a curated invitation-only show for exhibitors—to significantly boost the number of participating publishers and artists, according to CAB 2017 founder and organizer Gabe Fowler, owner of the Desert Island Comics, a Williamsburg, Brooklyn comic book store.
Fowler said this year’s show grew about 150%, with the move to Pratt allowing him to increase the number of exhibitor tables from about 70 to 122 tables this Year. “And the increase in the available square footage is even greater,” Fowler told PW, pointing out that this year’s show used only about 4/5 of the fieldhouse floor, leaving a sizeable area to absorb future growth.
The show is free to attend and although CAB does not provide figures on attendance, CAB 2017 looked as popular as ever. Despite the vast hall, throngs of fans filled the space all day. Indeed, many exhibiting publishers, such as Uncivilized Books publisher Tom Kaczynski, praised the widely spaced aisles and easy access to tables—a much different scene from the chaotic crowding and jammed aisles of the old venue.
“The new space is great and business has been good,” Kaczynski said, an observation repeated by pretty much every publisher PW spoke with. Crowds of fans were still thick on the floor even by the late afternoon. The show floor and panels ran until 7pm on Saturday.
Most publishers contacted by PW said book and merchandise sales were strong.
CAB may be a small press show, but it has big time guest artists, among them such acclaimed cartoonists as Jules Feiffer and Bill Griffith. Earlier in the day there were appearances by acclaimed comics artist Chris Ware (Building Stories), who showed off Monograph, a new, beautifully designed hardcover oversized memoir, full of his early work and his own commentary on it. In addition Emil Ferris, creator of the hit bestseller My Favorite Thing is Monsters, was interviewed onstage by Partisan Review managing editor Nicole Rudick. Other guest artists included Ron Wimberly, Jane Mai, Peter Kuper, Miss Lasko-Gross, Paul Karasik and Mark Newgarden.
Among the exhibitors, Conundrum Press publisher Andy Brown was showing off The Case of the Missing Men by Kris Bertin and Alexander Forbes, a goofily intriguing sendup of teen murder mysteries, and BDQ: Essays and Interviews on Quebec Comics, a prose anthology of critical essays edited by Brown. Artist Haan Lee was promoting Noodle Fight Vol. 1, a new and vividly conceived graphic novel by Lee that is set in an illegal fight club, coming from Bergen Street Press in 2018.
J.P. Coovert and Stephen Floyd of One Percent Press, a small comics press based in Buffalo, showed an impressive selection of literary and slice of life works. And the hall was also full of such well known small press comics publishers as New York Review Comics, Fantagraphics, Massive, Retrofit Comics, Beehive Books, in addition to numerous artist tables.