The Five Points Festival
A Quick Re-Cap by Bob Reyer
Hey Troops, your Cranky Old Uncle Bob is here to tell you about a new expo that you’re going to want to visit the next time around, and that’s the Five Points Festival, whose debut outing was this past weekend at Pier 36 on New York City’s historic Lower East Side. Presented jointly by Clutter Magazine, LeftField Media, and Midtown Comics, this show promised and delivered on an intriguing celebration of…well, I’ll let them tell it: “…art and its creators–whether they make comics, toys, beer, or Korean vegan tacos.”
Now, to some, those things combined might seem like an odd stew, but just as the old “Psychotronic Film Guide” by Michael Weldon crafted a satisfying olio from movie genres as seemingly disparate as science-fiction, horror (plus the crappy–but beloved–50’s drive-in versions of them!) , JD and rock’n’roll, spies, and exploitation of all kinds, the folks behind the Five Points Festival carefully blended their vendors and guests into a glorious melange.
As part of a trio with dear friends Melissa Megan (of Talking Comics, Meganerd Media, and Sirens of Scream ) and Carolyn (Eisner Award nominee) Cocca, we discovered that the Pier 36 hall was spacious and thoughtfully laid out, with “pods” of interests; that is, Artist Alley was at one end of the building, with Midtown Comics’ booth at the other, connected by a “ladder” where the two outside aisles ran from toys into art into comics and then back around in much the same fashion, all supported by “rungs” of various interesting vendors and creators!
No matter where we looked, there was something on a table that would catch one of our eyes, whether vintage or new toys, an interesting display of books, a fabulous poster or painting, or some amazing craft-work such as the sculpture of Galactus seen to the left! Alongside those, there were also quite a few comics vendors on hand, first and foremost show sponsor Midtown Comics (who set up a petite version of their store’s trade paperback section!), some with fine selections of rarities, as well as a few who specialized in giving great bargains on more recent back issues, collections, and reprint volumes.
Artist Alley was a real treat, in that not only did the Five Points Festival bring together an A-List of creative folk, but due to the spacious layout of the area, the aisles were never so congested that you felt that you had to beg off continuing a conversation with a creator in order to let people sidle past. The roster of artists and writers ran the gamut from Big Two to Kickstarter projects, as well as being as diverse a group as you could imagine, with veterans like Joe Staton, Dan Slott, and Peter David alongside younger pros such as Alitha Martinez, Khary Randolph, Cliff Chiang, Chrissie Zullo, and Mags Visaggio. Additionally, Midtown Comics had some high profile signings at their booth, with a colony of Bat-men in Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, and James Tynion IV (referred to as “Tinion” by a fellow creator–we didn’t have the heart to correct him!), as well as Bryan Lee O’Malley of Scott Pilgrim and Seconds.
Melissa had two “gets” that she needed to accomplish, and nailed both! Almost immediately, she scored a great Annie Wu Black Canary print whilst Ms. Wu was effortlessly creating a commissioned sketch, although her second mission, securing an autograph from Sean Murphy (Tokyo Ghost, The Wake) on a book purchased from his table had to be put on hold, as he was off having a massage at the display at the front of the expo! (Mrs. Megan did get it eventually, have no fear!)
Nearly next door to Mr. Murphy’s area was the talented Tana Ford, late of the gone-too-soon Marvel series Silk, and her creator-owned book, Duck. We all had a very engaged and animated conversation with Ms. Ford, who regaled us with how she and writer Robbie Thompson managed to end Silk on a note they were happy with, even if it was bit cramped.
For me, as it often is, the highlight conversation was with Brandon Montclare & Amy Reeder of Rocket Girl and Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur. Brandon spoke excitedly about the success of MG/DD in other markets, as well as hinting at some big things in the offing for Lunella Lafayette, as well as the return of Rocket Girl to the shelves later this year! Whilst chatting, I couldn’t help but pick up the initial trade of that fabulous series, as even though I own the single issues, I had to have a book with the Official Rocket Girl Stamp of Approval!
As advertised, the Five Points Festival had an outdoor “wagon train” that featured a selection of NYC’s award-winning food trucks, and between us, we sampled Korean kimchi “tacos”, empanadas, and mac’n’cheese bites (all of which were fabulous!), and there were also vendors of Lebanese cuisine, grilled cheese sandwiches, BBQ, and steaks. By Sunday, the selections of beers wasn’t super-extensive, as some had already been tapped, but selections from breweries such as Brooklyn’s Six Point Brewery, Brooklyn Brewery (we had a great Summer Ale!), Coney Island, Bronx , and Lagunitas across the weekend would have quenched any discerning thirst.
For a brand new expo, the Five Points Festival did everything right; with a bold concept presented in a great space that was beautifully laid out (and kudos to all the Five Points employees, who were aces!), a diverse list of guests, and a well-selected set of vendors added to the great food and drink, you could feel the vibe of a Greenwich Village/Mott Street/Williamsburg block party, and it doesn’t get better than that!