Last weekend was the Toronto Comics Art Festival – a “celebration of comics and graphic novels and their creators, which culminates in a two-day exhibition and vendor fair featuring hundreds of comics creators from around the world.”. Summed up, TCAF is an event where comic creators and lovers from around the world come together to celebrate and adore all things comic-related. And it’s wonderful!
This was my third year attending and the show continues to impress, getting bigger and better every time. Thankfully it’s yet to ever waver in the consistency of it’s spirit – this is an event free from the Hollywood and mainstream influence that shadow over comic conventions such as NYCC. Thousands and thousands of people, all crowding (quite calmly and politely) into a library. It’s all about the comics and the creators, and there was no shortage of art to buy and people to talk to.
Some brief highlights!
The event had two manga guests – Taiyo Matsumoto and Gengoroh Tagame. I didn’t have much personal interest in Taiyo Matsumoto’s work, but I was thrilled that Tagame Gengoroh – a pioneer in the bara genre – was being flown in to help promote his new book, The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame. I attended his panel and signings and enjoyed what a friendly and out-going individual he was, and how much fun he seemed to have talking about his work.
On the floor, it was exciting to see Chromatic Press‘s booth set-up with lots of goodies promoting their current and upcoming projects. Plus the staff are all completely charming and hard-working individuals who I have nothing less than well wishes for! I was sad that both rem and Jen Lee Quick – who work with the new publisher, and happen to be two artists whose work I adore – were unable to attend the event despite initial plans. Maybe next year?
Panels I attended were Is Comics Blogging Over?, Comics Adaptation and Judge a Comic By Its Cover. All three were enjoyable, from the thoughts to chew on in the first, the talented comic creators speaking at the second and the great graphic design talk of the third. Fawn Lau and Chipp Kidd were particular delights at the design panel.
It would take a long, long time and a lot of scrolling for me to list and discuss all the amazing artists, creators, professionals and industry-buffs I got to speak to but shout-outs to Laur Uy, Svetlana Chmakova, Fawn Lau, Dave Roman, Raina Telgemeier, Alex Woolfson, Lianne Sentar, Lillian Diaz-Przybyl, Rebecca Scoble, Jill Astley and the manga-blogger group of Erica Friedman, Ysabet MacFarlane, Eva Violin, Robin Brenner and Deb Aoki who always take care of me when I trip over myself in their presence. A big shout out also to my travel buddy Molly McVicker and TCAF director, Christopher Butcher who not only puts on an amazing show, but also welcomes me with a smile, books and bargains at The Beguiling every time I visit.
And lastly, at the country’s largest comic-specific show, you can bet I bought a lot of one thing – comics! In a perfect blogging world, I’ll be writing about my favourites in greater detail in future installments of Showcase. So, holding onto the assumption that I will actually do that, I’m just going to list the comics I bought and links where you can find more info on them and their talented creators:
Sfeer Theory (Vol.01-02) - Jayd Ait-Kaci/Alex Singer
That Which Wills (Vol.01) - Jayd Ait-Kaci/Alex Singer/SJen
Artifice – Alex Woolfson/Winona Nelson
The Sketchbook of Sfe Monster – Sfe Monster
Astronaut Academy – Dave Roman
Magic Restore – Dennis Lo
The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame – Gengoroh Tagame
Nemu*Nemu - KimonoKitsy Studios
Who is AC? – Hope Larson
A Wrinkle in Time – Hope Larson
Mercury – Hope Larson
Chiggers – Hope Larson
Shrub Monkeys – Katie Shanahan/Shaggy Shan
Demeter – Becky Cloonan
Pancakes – Kat Leyh
Outfoxed – Dylan Meconis
Poison Candy (Anthology) – Bento Comics
Sherlock Holmes – Svetlana Chmakova
Fame and Misfortune – Kel MacDonald
Namesake - Isabelle Melançon/Megan Lavey-Heaton
Loose Ends - Vanessa Satone
Johny Wander (Vol.01) – Yuko/Ananth
The Long Kingdom – David Namisato
As We Were/Strange Someone – Kel MacDonald
The short, short version of this post – TCAF was great! I love visiting Toronto too which is a great city with so much to do, eat and see (like the ROM!), and there’s no better reason to go than the Toronto Comics Art Festival.