It turns out May was Ontario Graphic Novel Month. This is about the strangest concept/event I’ve ever heard in relations to comics. I really like the idea, it just sounds odd. Even so, I missed it entirely – probably because I wasn’t able to attend TCAF earlier this year. It seems to be aligned with Open Book Toronto, and launched around the time of TCAF also coinciding with Free Comic Book Day, both of which are in May.
You can read the how and the why of OGNM here. I’m glad curator Ian Daffern of Vepo Studios called out the talent that he did. There is also lots of content on the site: Clayton Hammer’s How I got into comics, CTON’s favourite comic, a whole selection of Q&As with creators and some video too.
It’s great they hooked up with Open Book. Not only does it give them a little bit more exposure, but I get upset when comics aren’t incorporated into reading initiatives like Open Book. Because the point of Open Book, after all, is to encourage people to use our library system, which is fantastic if you didn’t already know. There are so many comics in the Toronto library, I’m afraid to tell people about it because I’m worried everyone will start using it and my holds will take forever to fill.
Open Book also helps our local book retailers – who also happen to sell comics. So you can image my disappointment when bookstores don’t include a comic once in a while on their promotional tables. I was in McNally Robinson this week – a family-owned Winnipeg-based bookstore I respect for its great comics selection – and the summer reading tables were stacked with books. But were there any comics? No. And that too upsets me mostly because there is so much top notch Canadian and Toronto comics talent it’s easy to find a book deserving of greater exposure in the store.