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Toronto Public Library presents

TCAF 2015 – The Toronto Comic Arts Festival
@ Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street
Saturday, May 9, 9am-5pm
Sunday, May 10, 11am-5pm
Free to attend
www.torontocomics.com

TORONTO, CANADA—Announcing the Toronto Comic Arts Festival 2015! Over 300 cartoonists from Canada and around the world are on their way to Toronto this May, to celebrate the very best in comics, graphic novels, bandes dessinées, and manga! A week-long Festival of readings, launches, and art events culminating in a massive, FREE two-day exhibition centeredat Toronto Reference Library, May 10 and 11, 2015!

For more than a decade, The Toronto Comic Arts Festival has showcased the incredible comics art being made here in Canada, and invited the attention of the international cartooning community. The 2015 programme continues to build on those successes, with an increase in programming, and a renewed focus on Canadian cartoonists from coast to coast!

TCAF 2015 will welcome a remarkable array of authors! Highlights from the author guests include:

Charles Burns: Creator of Black Hole, considered to be one of the most important graphic novels in the Western cannon, Burns will be at TCAF to celebrate his recently completed new graphic novel series X’ed Out (Pantheon Books). Burns will also illustrated one of the official posters of the 2015 Festival, to be revealed.

Eleanor Davis: An outstanding cartoonist and editorial illustrator (The New Yorker, New York Times), Davis’ recent graphic novel release How To Be Happy (Fantagraphics) was widely lauded as one of the best graphic novels of 2014, and TCAF is thrilled to welcome this her back to Toronto for the 2015 Festival.

Gurihiru: This dynamic cartooning duo (working under one pen name) hails from Tokyo, Japan, and is beloved in North America for their original graphic novels set in the universe of Avatar: The Last Airbender (Dark Horse). They have also created work for Marvel Comics, Disney, and an array of independent illustration work.

Lucy Knisley: A long-time supporter of the Festival, Knisley’s memoirs and travelogues are well-loved across the continent. Knisley attends as a Featured Guest in 2015, in support of her new travelogue/graphic novel Displacement (Fantagraphics).

Scott McCloud: Creator of the essential comics text Understanding Comics, TCAF will welcome McCloud back to Toronto in support of his acclaimed new graphic novel The Sculptor (First Second Books).

Barbara Stok: Hailing from The Netherlands, Stok has an impressive collection of graphic novels to her credit. TCAF is happy to welcome her as a Featured Guest of the Festival in 2015, in conjunction with her debut English-language graphic novel release Vincent (SelfMadeHero), an important and critically-praised biography of Vincent Van Gogh.

Jillian Tamaki: With her cousin Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki’s 2014 TCAF Debut This One Summer  (Groundwood/First Second) took home a Governor General’s Award, a Caldecott Honor, and a Printz Honor. In 2015, Jillian Tamaki will release  SuperMutantMagicAcademy (Drawn & Quarterly), her hilarious new graphic novel.

Chip Zdarsky: Hometown favourite and emerging international superstar Zdarsky (a.k.a. Steve Murray) is welcomed as a Featured Guest for 2015! Best-known for his ground-breaking comic series Sex Criminals (with writer Matt Fraction), spring 2015 will see the launch of his new series Kaptara (Image Comics) with fellow Toronto illustrator Kagan McLeod, and a relaunch of Marvel Comics’ Howard The Duck.

And these are just the first nine featured guests among the more than 300 Canadian and International cartoonists participating in the 2015 Festival.

Featured guests will continue to be announced through February and March, with special guests from France, Italy, Germany, Japan, and the U.S. and Canada still to be revealed!

TCAF 2015 will also feature several programming spotlights, including a special tribute to esteemed Canadian graphic novel published Drawn & Quarterly, on the occasion of their 25th Anniversary.

Additional Programs will be announced in February and March, including the CSSC-SCEBD Academic Conference, Library & Educator Day, Word Balloon Academy, Comics Vs. Games 4, Gallery Showings, Screenings, and much more. Visit TCAF online for up-to-the-minute updates.

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Announcing Toronto Comic Arts Festival 2015

Announcing Toronto Comic Arts Festival 2015 — torontocomics

Announcing the Toronto Comic Arts Festival 2015! Over 300 cartoonists from Canada and around the world are on their way to Toronto this May, to celebrate the very best in comics, graphic novels, bandes dessinées, and manga! A week-long Festival of readings, launches, and art events culminating in a massive, FREE two-day exhibition at Toronto Reference Library, May 9th and 10th, 2015!

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Where we're at

TCAF: The Aftermath

A little over a week ago, I was lucky enough to visit Toronto, and fortunate enough to encounter a room full—a big room full—of happy comic artists and readers.. The event was TCAF, the Toronto Comics Arts Festival, which might just be the best comics festival in the world. I talked to Jim Rugg, to Dash Shaw, and to Michael Comeau—if those names aren’t familiar, it’s a bit of a shame but it wouldn’t have really mattered; we were all there feeling the same kind of buzz in the air, at what was really an exceptionally welcoming show. It’s not just that this, being an alternative comics show, wasn’t filled with the cadre of consumerist nerds that tend to attend a lot of these things—it was a lot of people ready to just hang out, who weren’t counting the hours ‘til close and who were genuinely happy to be there. In fact—and this used to be much rarer—there was a real majority of people that seemed confident and secure, proud of and circumspect about their work and its place in their lives, which seemed (and this is something you know by looking at a person) to be happy and well-balanced.

So, in short, the vibes were good. That’s worth commenting on for any occasion, but it seemed like kind of a new level for a comics show (and, granted, I’ve missed a lot of them)—but in what has been for a long time a kind of self-loathing, sideshow medium, it was  heartening to see as many people gathered as there were to celebrate comics as their best, displaying an abundance of truly good and well-earned work, discussing and sharing it with ease. 

So much of this came from a sense of something flourishing, of the room seeming well-put together, of the people there looking well, and, at a glance, so diverse an array of work, stuff with a real chance in the mainstream that you might just actually be able to chart the beginnings of alternative comics being more genuinely an industry. The feel of this show wasn’t at all pointedly alternative—and it helps that it took place in a very open, accepting city—but we’re hitting a point where these books don’t have to be “literary” or even one in a million to get more than a cult following.

The money matters are interesting, though—we had artists flown in from all over the world (namely Europe and Japan) and from Raina Telgemeier to Taiyo Matsumoto, there were countless groupings of artists at the show that can actually move their work, in a good number of copies. That sense of profit, or of potential profit—that comics could be an arena where work is done more consistently with an expected return—is really what defines an industry, and we’re not there at all yet in any significant numbers, but it seems you could catch a glimmer of it on the horizon.

In a way, the scale of this thing was beginning to make it look like an industry show—it may be that it won’t happen, but there could be a point where comics start acting more that way. Right now, competition is often friendly or viewed as nonexistent, and the community is so small that artists are—at least in terms of demeanor—frequently treated well. A change to this looks to be some distance off, but this really was a show where anyone, with no knowledge of or interest in comics, could wander in and be certain to find something, and it’s interesting to think of that becoming the norm. By the looks of it, we’re rapidly approaching a point where comics aren’t just occasional darlings for New Yorker pieces, but are growing to become an actual part of the broader world. There was nothing but crowds to put anyone off who walked into this show, and with that, there might actually be a loss of some elements of comics’ subversive bits, the things that have for a long time helped to keep the medium interesting.

But with the sheer quantity of amazing work at the show, work that’s available and accessible to a great number of people—it couldn’t be more apparent what a rewarding landscape comics are now. With the money matters and their situation in a broader landscape aside, comics seem to be in kind of a secure place now, where they can be genuinely about their art, and tend to that so that it grows and flourishes. Whatever’s on the horizon—and from TCAF, it was looking pretty good—that wards off any fears one could have as much as anything possibly can.

A Dash Shaw original sketch, on the opening page of Fantagraphics New School. We live in exciting times.

I’ve gone on here without mentioning specific work so much, and that’s because I haven’t read most of it yet. But encountering so florid an experiment as Dash Shaw’s New School alone is a testament to the mountain of good work available—an over-300-page book that exists only thanks to the incredible effort, and pushing of oneself, that its individual artist put in. (If that were the only book at the show, it’d still be a terrific one, and I’ll have more on it soon). Nothing about comics would be possible without that kind of energy, and I was happy for the show to have not a lot of back-patting. Comics artists have to be driven by the work itself now far more often than any potential reward, and that’s generating a lot of beautiful work now, in what looks to be a pretty spectacular year. That work—along with the generous spirit that produced it—is, for the time being, where I’m happy to let my attentions reside.

Who Do We Think We Are?

So On (Southern Ontario) Imprint is an underground publishing house based out of Toronto. Launched in the spring of 2013 by writer Cody Kitchener and illustrator Parker Littell, So On Imprint focuses on the creation and distribution of serial comix and a science fiction zine. The duo released the première issue (Welcome to Sovereign City) of their first series, Finale, in June 2013.

The label arose from a common inebriated vision, shared at a dark and dingy bar. Long-time friends Kitchener and Littell, both working on unrelated and stilted projects, realized that their shared appreciation of writers and artists like Paul Pope and Fiona Staples, publishers like Image comics, and their opposing alliances with DC (Kitchener) and Marvel (Littell) was a perfect fit. 

Working in a cramped and sweaty studio (attic) near Toronto’s Kensington Market, the two comic junkies shape the stories together. From editing the script to setting up panels and lettering, everything is done collaboratively. Kitchener affirms that they split the final product 50/50. 

This up and coming team has joined forces to serve for justice with words and ink by developing new and evocative series for the medium they love. So keep your ears to the ground and sewers, your eyes to the sky and stars for So On Imprint’s upcoming Delivered and Godless and the sci-fi zine Speculator. Copies of Finale: Welcome to Sovereign City are currently available by e-mailing soonimprint@gmail.com.

by Christopher Adam Stager 

TCAF 2015 The Toronto Comic Arts Festival

Toronto Public Library presents @ Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street

Saturday, May 9, 9am-5pm
Sunday, May 10, 11am-5pm
Free to attend

www.torontocomics.com

TORONTO, CANADA—Announcing the Toronto Comic Arts Festival 2015! Over 300 cartoonists from Canada and around the world are on their way to Toronto this May, to celebrate the very best in comics, graphic novels, bandes dessinées, and manga! A week-long Festival of readings, launches, and art events culminating in a massive, FREE two-day exhibition at Toronto Reference Library, May 9th and 10th, 2015!

For more than a decade, The Toronto Comic Arts Festival has showcased the incredible comics art being made here in Canada, and invited the attention of the international cartooning community. The 2015 programme continues to build on those successes, with an increase in programming, and a renewed focus on Canadian cartoonists from coast to coast!

TCAF 2015 will welcome a remarkable array of authors! Highlights from the author guests include:

Charles Burns: Creator of Black Hole, one of the most important graphic novels of all time, Burns will be at TCAF to celebrate his recently completed new graphic novel series X’ed Out (Pantheon Books).

Eleanor Davis: An outstanding cartoonist and editorial illustrator (The New Yorker, New York Times), Davis’ recent graphic novel release How To Be Happy (Fantagraphics) is one of the best graphic novels of 2014, and TCAF is thrilled to welcome this cartoonist to Toronto.

Gurihiru: This dynamic cartooning duo hails from Tokyo, Japan, and is beloved in North America for their original graphic novels set in the universe of Avatar: The Last Airbender (Dark Horse).

Lucy Knisley: A long-time supporter of the Festival, Knisley’s memoirs and travelogues are well-loved across the continent. Knisley attends as a Featured Guest in 2015, in support of her new travelogue/graphic novel Displacement (Fantagraphics).

Scott McCloud: Creator of the essential comics text Understanding Comics, TCAF will welcome McCloud to Toronto in support of his acclaimed new graphic novel The Sculptor (First Second Books).

Barbara Stok: Hailing from The Netherlands, Stok has an impressive collection of graphic novels to her credit. TCAF is happy to welcome her as a Featured Guest of the Festival in 2015, in conjunction with her debut English-language graphic novel release Vincent (SelfMadeHero), an important and critically-praised biography of Vincent Van Gogh.

Jillian Tamaki: With her cousin Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki’s 2014 TCAF Debut This One Summer (Groundwood/First Second) took home a Governor General’s Award, a Caldecott Honor, and a Printz Honor. In 2015, Jillian Tamaki will release SuperMutantMagicAcademy (Drawn & Quarterly), her hilarious new graphic novel.

Chip Zdarsky: Hometown favourite and emerging international superstar Zdarsky (a.k.a. Steve Murray) is welcomed as a Featured Guest for 2015! Best-known for his ground-breaking comic series Sex Criminals (with writer Matt Fraction), spring 2015 will see the launch of his new series Kaptara (Image Comics) with fellow Toronto illustrator Kagan McLeod, and a relaunch of Marvel Comics’ Howard The Duck.

And these are just the first nine featured guests among the more than 300 Canadian and International cartoonists participating in the 2015 Festival.

Featured guests will continue to be announced through February and March, with special guests from France, Italy, Germany, Japan, and the U.S. and Canada still to be revealed!

TCAF 2015 will also feature several programming spotlights, including a special tribute to esteemed Canadian graphic novel published Drawn & Quarterly, on the occasion of their 25

th

Anniversary.

Additional Programs will be announced in February and March, including the CSSC-SCEBD Academic Conference, Library & Educator Day, Word Balloon Academy, Comics Vs. Games 4, Gallery Showings, Screenings, and much more. Visit TCAF online for up-to-the-minute updates.

Press Release: TCAF 2015

Press Release: TCAF 2015

Toronto Public Library presents TCAF 2015
The Toronto Comic Arts Festival @ Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge Street
Saturday, May 9, 9am-5pm
Sunday, May 10, 11am-5pm
Free to attend
www.torontocomics.com

TORONTO, CANADA—Announcing the Toronto Comic Arts Festival 2015! Over 300 cartoonists from Canada and around the world are on their way to Toronto this May, to celebrate the very best in…

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