I went to the MoCCA Art Fest on Sunday. I had missed last year's and was struck by how much it has grown: not only in terms of being bigger, but also in terms of the balance shifting farther away from one-person indie operations and towards up-and-coming & established art/lit-comics publishers. Vertigo even had a table.
I had a pretty strict budget this year, so I ended up being fairly conservative with my purchases: I mostly picked up books that (a) I had been meaning to get anyway (the King-Cat Classix book, Josh Simmons's House) or (b) I would have "been meaning to get" if I had known about them before the show (Ted May's Injury, Dylan Horrocks's Atlas #3).
The only "surprise" book that I would have bought was this Fletcher Hanks collection from Fantagraphics, but it sold out on Saturday. Paul Karasik, who edited and afterworded the book, seemed a little peeved that Fantagraphics hadn't brought more copies.
I always deal with my share of social awkwardness at this kind of convention. It was a little more awkward this year because, while I like to browse, I really wasn't going to make any impulse buys. Saying "I'm just looking" to someone trying to pitch their work to you seems a little rude to me, even though letting them waste their time also kind of sucks.
With this in mind, my favorite "pitch" was delivered by one of the guys at the Picture Box table: he offered me a little catalog and said something like - "No pressure: look through that and order from our website when you've had time to think it over."
Overall, I still feel very "out" of the art/lit-comics loop. Which is cool - I don't have the desire (or the time, really) to get back into it and MoCCA definitely felt "casual comics reader"-friendly. I was happy to go to the Art Fest, see what was up, and pick up a few things that looked promising.