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What was likely the busiest New York Comic Con ever, this year’s highly anticipated fall extravaganza, once again, drew an energetic array of Graphic Universe authors, illustrators, agents, and fans to Big Apple’s Javits Center.

A frenetic scene at the Graphic Universe booth at the heart of Comic Con

All the way from Denmark, came Lars Jakobsen, creator of the greatly enjoyable GU series Mortensen’s Escapades. Lars’ talent was on full display Friday as he illustrated and signed images of his eponymous time traveling main character. He feverishly drew so many original vignettes in the hour that he could have probably completed a new volume.

Eager fans lining up for autographs from Mortensen’s Escapades author-illustator Lars Jakobsen (left) and Guinea PIG author Colleen AF Venable (right)

The next day, and perhaps the most frenetic of the weekend, saw two memorable GU signings. First, the prolific author Dan Jolley provided autographs for several of his recent titles—The Girl Who Owned a City and My Boyfriend is a Monster series. It was followed that afternoon by the Eisner-nominated dynamic duo of author-illustrator Colleen AF Venable and Stephanie Yue who captivated the crowd with their latest Guinea PIG title Raining Cats and Detectives.

Graphic Universe author Dan Jolley handing over a signed copy of his book (left); Little White Duck Illustrator Andrés Vera Martínez with Lindsay Matvick, Lerner Senior Publicist (right)

Sunday was designated “Kids Day’, which was a perfect fit for the Illustrator-author husband and wife team of Andrés Vera Martínez and Na Liu who showcased their starred reviewed book Little White Duck. Fitting because their delightful young daughter, Mei Lan, was there to sign books too. And I must say she demonstrated an early gift for the activity.

Kathleen Clarke, Lerner Trade Show Manager with Robyn Chapman, Graphic Universe Editorial Assistant (left picture); Convention goer chatting with Carol Burrell, Graphic Universe Editorial Director and GU author Dan Jolley (right)

In addition, Spanish agent and friend Eduardo Alpuente, who represents many GU contributors (illustrators, colorists, and letterists) overseas made several appearances at the GU booth. The most memorable one was when accompanied by a friend, Alberto, a master magician, who mesmerized us with an impromptu card trick.

A young Guinea PIG fan (left); One of thousands of eye catching costumes at Comic Con; and Lars Jakobsen posing as Mortensen (pictured right) with Kasper Bent Rasmussen, Assistant Cultural Officer of the Royal Danish Consulate General (left)

And, of course, the convention couldn’t have been carried out without the tireless efforts and well-honed skills of the Lerner staff, including Lerner VP, Director of Marketing Terri Souter, the very pregnant Senior Publicist Lindsay Matvick, Lerner Trade Show Manager Kathleen Clark, GU Editorial Director Carol Burrell, and GU Editorial Assistant Robyn Chapman.

 (above) A variety of fans gathered for autographs at the Graphic Universe booth

In an adjacent hall was “Artist Alley”, a venue where independent artists showcased their works.

Carol Burrell, Editorial Director, participating on a panel discussion (left); A quiet moment at the GU booth with The Little Prince display in foreground

It’s always my pleasure to mention the ever-charming Guinea PIG, Pet Shop Private Eye series, and now I have two more reasons to do so. This week, the much-respected website, ComicsWorthReading.com has posted a glowing review about not one, but two of the latest Guinea PIG books—#4 Fish You Were Here and #5 Raining Cats and Detectives.

Just coming off a 2012 Eisner Award nomination for #3 The Ferret’s a Foot, author Colleen AF Venable and illustrator Stephanie Yue have worked their magic again with these two sprightly titles.

About this series the reviewer declares, “This is so much a world I want to be part of, from the wide-ranging friendships and cozy community of the animals to the charming neighborhood shops.”

In Fish You Were Here, The absent-minded pet shop owner, Mr. Venezi’s has finally found an assistant to help at the store. At first, Viola seems so perfect that Mr. V barely needs to be there. In fact, one day, Mr. V doesn’t come back at all. With resident detective Sasspants and her gumshoe assistant Hamisher teaming up, they manage to fish out the answers to this mystery. The reviewer praises Hamisher as having, “lots of funny lines and silly ideas that are quite entertaining.”

In Raining Cats and Detectives, the latest about a missing bookstore cat, the reviewer says,The gags fly fast and furious, with all kinds of creative combinations surprising me.”

The reviewer states that she’s “enjoying the Guinea Pig: Pet Shop Private Eye series so much that the books have joined my permanent collection.”

To think that her permanent collection may contain Shakespeare, Tolstoy, and Hemingway, this isn’t bad at all.

This great photo, and many others, are by Jody Culkin and part of “Photo Mania: MoCCA 2011” in Publisher’s Weekly.

For another look at this year’s MoCCA Fest, I give you Danny Lerner. Danny just joined us at the Graphic Universe office. This was his first MoCCA Fest, so he bring a unique perspective to the event.

The 2011 Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) Festival was held on April 9th and 10th at the historic 69th Regiment Armory in Manhattan. The event offered an arsenal of color and inspiration, brimming with authors and illustrators, publishers and fans of comics and graphic novels.


For Graphic Universe the event was productive and lively. Several Lerner authors and illustrators were on hand for signings and promotions including the talented author/illustrator duo of Colleen AF Venable and Stephanie Yue who brought us the popular series Guinea PIG, Pet Shop Private Eye. Also, gifted and versatile artist Yuko Ota, illustrator of both The Secret Ghost and Detective Frankenstein (from the Twisted Journeys series) was in attendance.
Although small in size and scope compared to the behemoth New York Comic Con held in October and the even bigger San Diego Comic-Con, the MoCCA Fest offers a unique opportunity for Graphic Universe to scout an exciting crop of up and coming artists who just might become the next future success stories in the comic world. And Graphic Universe is eager to play a vital part in that process.

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