The Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) is heading to Tokyo for a wide range of events and gallery shows. This year the number of participating Canadian artists is the largest ever and includes three Koyama Pressers: Michael DeForge, Ginette Lapalme and Robin Nishio!
Released on 29th March 2014 was AKB48’s “Kaigai Ryoko Nikki 3 -Hawaii wa Hawaii (Overseas Trip Dairy 3 -Hawaii Is Hawaii-)” photo book! This is a special book that documents the AKB group members’ overseas trips. Previous books have seen the members going on trips overseas separately but it’s a pretty rare chance to see so many popular members going on a single trip together.
Besides shooting for this book, the members also recorded episodes for “AKB to XX”, a DVD release and did multiple photo shoots together / separately. This book is a colourful documentation of the trip and it really features a lot of beautiful, carefully selected photos. In preparation for Yuko’s graduation, Yuko also gets a special corner and interview to herself. Not to mention, 5 out of 7 of the Tentomu Chu members and Kojiharu too, get a corner to themselves. Last but not least, each of the members also write their own after-thoughts at the end of the book.
For its price, this is absolutely worth the money. It’s the just the sand and swimsuits, but getting to see the members behind the scenes and being their natural selves is really nice. This way HERE if you’ll like a copy yourself.
Kaigai Manga Festa is coming! Our beloved friends at The Beguiling are repping Canada and Canadian comics, and the maestro of the micro and macro Jesse Jacobs is tagging along to Tokyo! The Beguiling will have a number of Jesse’s books at their booth, and PressPop Gallery is showing an exhibition of Jesse’s original comic book art. This is a rare chance to see Jesse’s intricate pages, so, if you are in Tokyo, be sure to hit PressPop and Kaigai for some incredible comics and art!
Kaigai Manga Festa 23 November 2014 | 11AM-4PM at Tokyo Big Sight | FREE with Comita Entrance Fee Visit the Kaigai website here for further details Jesse Jacobs: Canada Comic Arts v.3 Gallery Showing Presented by PressPop Gallery, The Beguiling Books & Art and The Toronto Comic Arts Festival 1-24 November 2014 | M-F 10AM-9PM at Shibuya PARCO | FREE Visit the PressPop website for further details
I really had a good time at this festival. Comitia is a quarterly convention that’s like 5 or 10 times SPX size in terms of scale, but it’s only 1 day, 5-hours long. It’s all indie/self-publishing/doujinshi circles/individual artists with tables. It’s reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaally big. Lines and lines and lines of tables in rooms and rooms.
It’s not unmanageable:
The festival organizes artists based on what genre they draw/write in, so visitors can easily find what they like.
Your “entrance ticket” to the festival is a 12-dollar catalog, that’s very big and comprehensive! This is a smart idea.
More popular artists are on the outside of the sections so you can get to them quickly/line up easily.
The festival is so full of people but the spaces are all wide enough that it’s never crowded or stuffy, btw. That was nice.
I didn’t spend much time in the larger Comitia.
I don’t know where to start, it’s seemingly endless.
A lot of the work I just don’t care about - you know, lots of books of cover-drawings/illustrations of cute girls, printed in color, bound in 16 A4 pages, that’s it.
There were a lot of pitifully shy artists with 1 book on a small table, the artists looking down at their laps when a visitor approached.
There were normal artists, too, though. But there were so many, and so little time.
This quarter’s Comitia features the first ever KAIGAI International Manga Festival - basically a new section within Comitia featuring international exhibitors, artists, publishers. It will be an annual thing (I think) from now. It was surprisingly good.
KAIGAI had good placement near the entrance.
Marvel, Udon, Drawn and Quarterly, Koyama Press, TCAF, & “other” were there.
Lotsa traffic. People were nice. People bought books!
No one expected artists to sign or draw inside books, which was nice (we sometimes did it anyway, to the genuine astonishment of the “lucky”(?) customer).
Everyone happily accepted business cards/stickers/pins. I strongly recommend bringing lots of free cards/pins/stickers to this event.
The crowds were friendly, even if they didn’t speak the same language as the exhibitor. Lotsa girls, but lots boys. I suspect 60/40 g/b.?
I arrived late because I was only “unofficially” there and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I wish I had arrived earlier because it was great! i.e. friendly people behind and in front of the tables, and good sales. Lemme run through the Kaigai area, from my POV…
I met Helen Koyama (not Annie) and Robin & Daniel Nishio at the Koyama Press table.
They let me sell my books with them and sell their books and “rep” KP. I was proud to do this. Robin gave me a big hug from Ryan Sands - thank you Ryan! They were all very nice to me and I was so grateful.
By the time I got there, they had already sold a lot of books. I watched Koyama sell out Root Rot first, and I think every stack of books they brought sold well, if not sold-out. It was cool to see the audience interested in all the different types for sale. I hope KP brings a wider variety of books next year (assuming this festival happens again and KP goes) because I think the audience was hungry for different types of books.
I didn’t bring very many copies of my books and I wish I had brought more.
TCAF had a nice display.
They were drumming up Japanese interest in the festival, explaining what it was, giving out a book of diary comics about the festival in Japanese. They did a good job.
I was so happy to see my friend Chris Butcher, who I met last year on another trip of his to Japan. He introduced me to Peter Birkemoe, the owner of The Beguiling, and Andrew Woodrow Butcher, who runs The Beguiling’s kid’s book store Little Island. All so nice and cool!
Drawn & Quarterly was there, too. They had a great display, I bought Black Blizzard, & also I was so excited to see beautiful editions that have been published in America while I’ve been away.
D&Q books are so nice!! That new Tomine book about New York is really nice looking (I believe it sold out quick). I looked at the book for about 55 seconds and was too overwhelmed. It feels like “an accomplishment."
Marvel was there, a guy was doing portfolio reviews, I heard they were interested in talent-scouting at this show. I listened in on a critique briefly, it was a guy showing a portfolio of cover-drawings, no story/actual comics. Meh.
Udon Press was there. Were they cosplaying or was that a different booth? They had a great display. Lotsa books, lots colors, they had a big portfolio of original drawings out, it was cool.
There was a big area for browsing (but curiously, not buying) French B.D. These tables were run by (I think) a company that specifically works with selling international rights of French books, NOT a publisher or a reseller. The nice French woman told me that she usually never sees the public interact with books. She just kinda sat far behind the table reading a book, ignoring most visitors and not interacting much (but she was nice and cool and friendly when I and presumably anyone else wanted to have a chat). This seemed like a wasted opportunity or something… but whatever, I guess it’s cool. The goal was to "generate interest” and show publishers that the public is into the books (which were of course in French).
BTW Kaigai was centered around a big open stage where guys like Naoto Urusawa and Katsuhiro Otomo and some French artists were speaking. This was cool!
I randomly ran into Chris, Peter, Maurice Vellekoop and Debra Aoki the day before the fest, and went book shopping with them. This made me, lonely traveller RCS, so happy. BTW I have followed Debra’s twitter account for a long time - I personally have learned a lot about comics/manga/book sales/commerce from the discussions she leads and publishes via RT. I recommend that you follow her.
The last thing I did before boarding the night bus was to watch Chris, Maurice, and Love Love Hill do a presentation/book reading at PARCO in Shibuya. This was cool! I had to leave in the middle of Wai reading something of hers, it was good. I left, ran to my night bus, and took off for Osaka. Now it’s Monday morning and I’m back at work, yes that’s right sitting at my desk at school typing a con-report.
RCS’s VERDICT: Kaigai was real good. If you can come, then you should do it.
This was my second year. Last year (the first year of the festival) I tabled with Koyama Press. They weren’t here this year, which is sensible, since it is a long plane ride for just one show. So, I tabled with my buddy Graeme McNee, and I brought a lot more books this time.
I liked the international sections’s good placement at the front of the show, the fact that the audience was very receptive, and the chance to see a ton of Japanese zines and doujinshi. I didn’t like that the show was only 5 hours long, that the show’s English web site was a little bit weak and hard to use, and that many of the international booths were very poorly suited to a fun, interactive, sales-oriented show.
Sales were “pretty good,” maybe even “kinda great”… but sales should be REALLY GREAT if a show is only 5 hours long. Ya know what I mean? For real I’m thankful that sales were good! I sold most of my copies of Two Eyes of the Beautiful and I sold out of SF#1 (I didn’t have very many of bot), and I sold some other stuff. Prints did pretty well.
You can see from the picture above that our table display was sorta lackluster. I don’t plan on going full Dharbin anytime soon but I should at least bring little book stands or little tiny shelves for prints at the next show.
The whole Comitia show takes place in a HUUUUUUUUGE convention hall, and the very front portion is devoted to the International section (“Kaigai”).
I was in the row closest to the doors, and all the exhibitors on this row were standing up the whole time. We all had good table game and it felt good. If I sat down I would feel like a real wimp. It’s good encouragement, you know? The whole Kaigai section was good in this way.
On the other hand, we were very surprised by how many of the local exhibitors sat down an looked at their feet under their tables. Many did absolutely nothing… they just put their books on their table, looked down, and waited until someone picked something up. We asked ourselves, “why even come if you’re not going to try to meet the audience?”
Of course there are good exhibitors also, but overall the show was very perplexing for the many people who did nothing at all when people walked by their table. The Westerners felt very strong by contrast.
Next to me was a pretty weird booth. It was a Japanese media company that makes apps for ebooks. Some of them are translated into English. I don’t think this was very appropriate for the Kaigai area… like, you come to our area for international art and artists, not Japanese guys with Japanese work… you know I’m not hatin’ here, I’m just saying, it was kinda off!
I only left my booth for a few minutes, a couple times. I feel vey anxious about being away from the table. So I got to see the Canada square (which had very cool D&Q books, the Love Love Hill group, and Kagen McLeod’s new book, among other stuff), a row of other independent artists, and a row of Japanese artists. I didn’t really see much!
I heard that there was a cosplay festival nextdoor, a huge one just as big as Comitia… but I didn’t see a single piece of cosplay! Like I said… I almost never left the table!
I heard that the show is sorta organized into sections to help visitors find more of what they like. So there is a line of tables with animal comics, and a corner with porn comics, etc.
The show was mostly women! Like, 80%? Artists and visitors. Pretty different from American comic cons. The woman from animeanime.jp who came by said that my work wasn’t good for children because it had guns on the cover. Huh! I hadn’t thought about that. She was real nice, though. I took it as normal conversation and a good thing to think about for the future. That said, I’m not like a kids’ author or anything… but it’s good to think about.
For me the best part of the show was meeting up with friends. I hadn’t seen my buddy Adrian Hogan in 5 years!!! He recently moved to Tokyo to work as a freelance illustrator, and I am very jealous of how much work he’s doing! You should follow him on Instagram. Good to hang out with Jen, Graeme, Luis & Luis, & more… Also how fun to see dudes from the Beguiling. Thanks to Andrew and Miles for coming down to Osaka, too. We had okonomiyaki and choco cro.