The 2014 Doug Wright Award nominees have been announced! Three Conundrum titles have been nominated. Ollmann’s Science Fiction & Rabagliati’s Paul Joins the Scouts are both up for the Best Book Award. dakotamcfadzean’s Other Stories and the Horse You Rode In On is nominated for the Spotlight Award. Congratulations to all the nominees! You can read the full list over at The Comics Reporter


Paul Joins the Scouts
By Michel Rabagliati
Author is attending TCAF 2013!

Published by Conundrum Press
172 pages, $20.00

Following on the heels of the The Song of Roland, Montrealer Michel Rabagliati returns to the childhood story of his famous semi-autobiographical character. It’s 1970 and Paul’s family watches the news with anxiety as bombs are going off around Montreal. But Paul is more interested in flying his kite, comics, and his first kiss. Soon Paul joins the Scouts and heads off to camp. Away from his parents and extended family he discovers self worth in a troop of like-minded and enthusiastic boys. Things take a turn, however, when the troop gets mixed up in the terrifying events of the FLQ crisis. Paul Joins the Scouts is a coming of age story which takes an historical approach to both the Baden Powell scouting movement and the October Crisis, but humanizes these incidents for both a YA and adult audience. It is original, sincere, captivating, and a little bit retro.

The French edition, Paul au Parc, sold incredibly well and was critically hailed, nominated for the youth award at the Angouleme Festival 2012, a Shuster Award, and for a Friends of the Library Award in Montreal. Paul Joins the Scouts will debut at TCAF 2013.

Conundrum is super happy to announce that Michel Rabagliati’s Paul Joins the Scouts was shortlisted today for Slate’s second annual Cartoonist Studio Prize

Also today in Slate, there was a wonderful review of Rabagliati’s work written by Dan Kois:

“Like all memoirs, Rabagliati’s books are particular to one person’s unique experience. But as very few memoirs do, they make me look inside my own experiences to find the emotional congruencies between my life and his.”

Thanks, Slate!


TCAF Programming on Saturday, May 11 at the High Park Ballroom – The Marriott 200
90 Bloor Street East, 6th Floor (10 mins walk from Library)

10am-11am        The State of Small Press

Small press comics publishers are like mushrooms – over the past five years, more and more of them have been springing up all over the US and Canada.  What does the market look like for these small presses today?  And how is the market changing? Join representatives from Secret Acres, Domino Books, Koyama Press, Grimalken Press, and Rebus Books in answering these and many more questions.

11am-12pm        Blown Covers: The New Yorker and Francoise Mouly

The Blown Covers blog has become a must-visit space for illustrators and illustration aficionados, being a behind-the-scenes peek at the New Yorker covers that you were never meant to see! Join The New Yorker Art Editor Françoise Mouly and cover artist Frank Viva as they discuss what goes into making a cover for The New Yorker.

12:15 - 1:15pm   Spotlight: Michel Rabagliati

Michel Rabagliati is known for his thoughtful, true-to-life stories of teenager life; the latest, Paul Joins the Scouts, debuts this year at TCAF.  In this spotlight, Rabagliati will discuss his process, his work, and his newest graphic novel with librarian and journalist Eva Volin.

1:30 - 2:30pm     Spotlight: Maurice Vellekoop in conversation with Chip Kidd

One of the most respected editorial and fashion cartoonists today, Maurice Vellekoop (A Nut at the Opera) is TCAF’s 10th Anniversary poster artist and our featured guest.  On this program, Vellekoop discusses his life, work, and upcoming projects with Book Designer and Pantheon Books editor Chip Kidd. The two will also make a very special announcement…!

2:45 - 3:45pm     Spotlight: Gengoroh Tagame

Gengoroh Tagame’s eponymously titled The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame is the first volume of Japanese gay comics—often called ‘bara’ in North America—officially licensed and released in English. It debuts at this year’s TCAF, and we’re proud to announce that Tagame himself has joined us for its premiere. Join Tagame in conversation with the complete production and design team of this work, including Anne Ishi, Chip Kidd, and Graham Kolbeins.

 4:00 - 5:00pm    Fashion!

Fashion in Comics! This program opens up a conversation about the importance of fashion in comics. What are fashion’s influences on a creator’s work, and conversely, comics’ influence on fans and real life fashion? What approaches and research does one go through to depict specific fashions? Is comic book fashion good? Join moderator Krystle Tabujara in a spirited discussion with Fashion Journalist Nathalie Atkinson (The National Post), Willow Dawson, Bryan Lee O’Malley (Scott Pilgrim), Ramon Perez (Wolverine & The X-Men), and Maurice Vellekoop (fashion illustrator, TCAF Featured Guest).

TCAF takes place May 11-12, 2013, in Toronto, Canada. More at http://torontocomics.com/

There are a lot of “best of 2013” lists out there. Here’s some that mention Conundrum books:

Paul Joins the Scouts by Michel Rabagliati made it onto Brigid Alverson’s top 10 comics (listed in The Comic Resources’ Robot 6).

The Sweetsburg Archives by jonathanreidsevigny made Emily Raine’s “best books of 2013” in CULT MTL.

Other Stories and the Horse You Rode In On by dakotamcfadzean made Rob Clough’s top 25 long-form comics list. 


Top 10 Graphic Novels for 2013

Publisher’s Weekly comics critics poll just came out and I am among those who got to name their favorites for the year, all jumbled together in a big master list. Right here, though, is my official Top 10 Graphic Novels of 2013 list, which is what I submitted to them, singled out for your own information.

1 Paul Joins The Scouts by Michel Rabagliati (Conundrum Press)

Rabagliati expresses the worst sides of people without casting his narrative into depression, but instead an amiable and well-considered humanity, with the political backdrop of 1970s Quebec as a bonus.

2 Crater XV by Kevin Cannon (Top Shelf Productions)

Inventive and gripping, Crater XIV captures the true, over-the-top spirit of comics, while still keeping things down to earth enough to allow you to care what goes on inside.

3 The Property - Rutu Modan (Drawn and Quarterly)

One of the most accessible of graphic novelists, with a cinematic presentation and the ability to capture the complexity of larger human experience within smaller family dramas, all with good humor.

4 TEOTFW by Charles Forsman (Fantagraphics)

A perceptive, neo-realist slice of deadpan alienation and gloom about a teenage Bonnie and Clyde.

5 Jerusalem by Boaz Yakin and Nick Bertozzi (First Second Books)

An epic sweep that never breezes past the humanity as it examines how history happens to real people.

6 Journal by Julie Delporte (Koyama Press)

Personal and colorful, engaging and cryptic, Delporte slices up her own life into an abstract emotional puzzle.

7 Sandcastle by Pierre Oscar Levy and Frederik Peeters. (Abrams/SelfMadeHero)

Beginning like a murder mystery, continuing like an episode of the Twilight Zone, and finishing up with the kind of existentialism that wouldn’t be out of place in a Von Trier film, a frantic examination of the human reaction to mortality.

8 Little Tommy Lost by Cole Closser (Koyama Press)

Rebooting the concept of period adventure comic strips and with tongue barely in cheek and an impressive graphic sense.

9 Susceptible - Genvieve Castree (Drawn and Quarterly)

A dysfunctional childhood and the toll it takes are presented with humor, honesty, and a huge amount of charm.

10 Odd Duck by Cecil Castellucci and Sara Varon (First Second)

A smart and funny story, charmingly drawn, that is constantly hurling something new within the trope of odd couple friendships.

We made a gif of TCAF! You can see our table in the middle with the yellow sign. Gifs are FUN.

Also, here are some TCAF related links:

cc: torontocomics