This past weekend was Toronto Comics Art Fest – one of the best comic shows in North America for meeting and greeting comic artists and checking out their work. It was my second year to attend and I loved it. And who can possibly leave a show as magnificent as TCAF without an armful of comics? Certainly not I! The ability to buy directly from creators is an experience that blows my mind, I adore it and TCAF offers the perfect fix.
Bento Comics – a collection of artists whose works you can read online then have published print-on-demand – had a new anthology available: Peter Pan and the Language of the Dead. I was giddy to see it, as a fan of Bento Comics’ anthologies and a huge Peter Pan junkie. The theme combo was brilliant – it was so unnerving but at the same time fascinating. Wonderful!
Another anthology collection I picked up was Cautionary Fables & Fairy Tales which includes a story by one of my favourite artist/writer combos, Katie and Steven Shanahan. It’s a pretty hefty book with a bunch of artists new to me. I’m looking forward to discovering some new creators to follow.
Becky Cloonan premiered her new self-published short, The Mire, and I was quick to nab a copy. I haven’t read it yet but just the print quality and a quick flip-through shows it was worth each and every penny. Fellow Haligonian Jordyn F. Bochon also premiered a print collection of her comic, The Terrible Death of Finnigan Strap. Two other Halifax artists present whose works I couldn’t miss were Mike Holmes‘ – who had copies of his creative multi-style self-portrait art book, Mikenesses – and Kate Leth who debut her collected comic, Ultimate Kate or Die.
A lot of artists at the show were selling print editions of their web comics so I took the opportunity to buy a bunch. I don’t typically read comics on the web but when an opportunity to try them out via print arises, I go for it! I bought a book of Octopus Pie, Earthsong (Vol.01) and In The Air (Vol.01). Of the three I’ve read In The Air so far and it was great! I hope I enjoy the others just as much, and it’s fun knowing there’s more to read online should I be unable to wait for more to hit the printers.
There are a few web published comics that I read each week though, and of course I couldn’t possibly resist purchasing the print versions of those. The print editions of Starfighter (Vol.01) and Teahouse (Vol. 03) were both gorgeously reproduced and will now sit proudly on my BL shelves (once I’ve finished oogling them for hours). The colourist of Teahouse, Christina, was also selling hardcover books of her web comic (which I also follow regularly), Fox Sister.
Vertical Inc had a booth at TCAF and I was able to pick up a few volumes of manga from them too. For new volumes, I got Flowers of Evil (Vol.01) – very twisted! – and GTO: 14 Days of Shonan (Vol.02). An older book I’d been having trouble finding was Osamu Tezuka’s MW, which I’m now happy to have in my hands.
Outside of TCAF, I visited The Beguiling where I always know I’ll find a stack of goodies to buy. I was giddy to find a missing volume of One Thousand and One Nights (Vol.07) and an out of print copy of an old comic favourite of mine, My Faith in Frankie. Then it was boys’ love stock up time with Right Here, Right Now (Vol.01-02), The Desert Prince, Black Sun (Vol.02) and, in currently joint ownership with my awesome roommate, four volumes of bara manga. Not easy finding this stuff! Well… unless you’re at the Beguiling. Thanks, Chris!
Thus sums up my Toronto Comics Art Festival purchases for 2012 – all fantastic! It’s a great show that I look forward to attending again next year and I hope others do as well (and let me know!).