Tag Archives: Seth

CBC talks to Canadian cartoonists: Seth, Michel Rabagliati, Jillian Tamaki, Chester Brown

Seth - clyde fans

CBC kicks off a new series of interviews with Canadian cartoonists under their Canada Writes banner:

Canada Writes is talking to some of Canada’s best known cartoonists and graphic novelists on the different techniques, challenges, and advantages of working with both text and drawings.

Make art…make more art” – An interview with Seth

Cartoonist Seth talks about reading Mad Magazine, following in the footsteps of trailblazers like Robert Crumb and Art Spiegelman, and the serious attention currently given to comics.

I’ve been a big fan of Seth‘s work since about 2004. Clyde Fans is a fantastic work of comics and belongs on your shelf with graphic novel by Art Spiegelman, Will Eisner, Chris  Ware, and the Hernandez Brothers.

An excerpt from the interview:

D+Q-Seth-himselfBy the time I had grown up and realized I didn’t want to draw Spiderman, or work at MAD, it was too late. I was a cartoonist. The problem then was trying to figure out what a young adult interested in art and literature could do with the comics medium.

Strangely for a variety of reasons I still don’t fully  understand, comics have made a major comeback and have gained a lot of legitimacy in the last ten years. When I started out in the eighties, the idea of creating serious comics for adults was pretty laughable to most folks and for the longest time it was hard to even explain what alternative comics or graphic novels were. Nobody seemed to understand or care. Not so, any longer.

 Comics are given serious attention now and I’m quite surprised. You see them reviewed in major newspapers and exhibited in serious museums. I wouldn’t have predicted it.

Jill Tamaki is one on this list whose work I’m not familiar with. She co-created the graphic novel, Skim, with her cousin Mariko Tamaki to wide acclaim including the Ignatz Award (2008), and in 2009 a Joe Shuster Award (Mariko as writer) and a Doug Wright Award for Best Book. It also earned four Eisner nominations that year. Originally from Calgary, Jill produces the webcomic SuperMutant Magic Academy. She and Mariko have a new book, Awago Beach, coming out in 2014.

jilltamaki-selfJust start making things and don’t stop! The barrier to entry in comics is extremely low. The materials can be extremely cheap. You don’t need a lot of space. You don’t necessarily need to be able to draw well. It’s easier than ever to publish your comics online. The only thing you need is a point of view and something to say.

The interview is a bit thin, but you can read the rest of it here.

michelrabagliati-selfFinally, check out a slideshow of Michel Rabagliati‘s workshop. Michel won Best Book at this year’s Doug Wright Awards for The Song of Roland. I first came across Rabagliati in 2005 with Paul Moves Out. He has such excellent storytelling skills. Solid any way you slice it. You can’t get go wrong with any of his books.

(UPDATE: May 29)

Chester Brown – Advice for people considering a profession in cartooning

chesterbrown2-selfWhat would you tell an aspiring comics artist who is starting out today? 

Don’t get married. Oh, you wanted a “writing/drawing/creating tip”. Don’t rely too heavily on narrative captions. Dialogue is more involving for readers.
But really, don’t get married.

I ran that one for the laughs, but Brown offers some insightful answers to some decent questions. You should check out the full interview.

While my plan is to keep this story updated with links to all the interviews as they come out, we’ll see how long before I lapse.


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The ‘All-Star, All-Canadian (plus one American) Super-Villain Art Auction’ (Countdown to TCAF 2013)

DWA 2013 Art Auction: "Super-Villain Vocational Reunion Class of 1964" by Seth

So the Doug Wright Awards had a super-cool art auction fundraiser and I nearly missed the entire thing.

This is why I keep telling my wife that I should spend more time with comics: reading them, writing about them and reading about them. Otherwise I miss things like the opportunity to own original art by my favourite Canadian artists like Seth, Michael Deforge, John MartzMichael Cho, Pascal Girard, Chester Brown and so many more. And it’s for a great cause.

DWA 2013 Art Auction: "Doctor Octopus" by John Martz

Dr Octopus by John Martz

DWA 2013 Art Auction: "Page 13 of 'The Crimes Of Two Face'" by Chester Brown

The Crimes of Two-Face by Chester Brown

DWA 2013 Art Auction: "Medusa" (3 of 4) by Michael Cho
Medusa by Michael Cho

DWA 2013 Art Auction: "Venom" by Michael Deforge
Venom by Michael Deforge

Check out the entire collection at Brad MacKay’s Flickr stream. And depending on when you read this, whatever is left for sale is available at this eBay link.

The 2013 Doug Wright Awards will be held on Saturday, May 11. While not an official part of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival programming, it honours and celebrates many of the artists whose work is featured at TCAF.


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Five books for Read Comics in Public Day

People like to read lists with a round number like five for some reason. So here are four books you can proudly read on Read Comics in Public Day (this year, next year, whenever!) – and one that might be a bit embarrassing. (I’m taking a cue from Underwire and going to be artsy in my choices with a sprinkle of something mainstream.)

ESSEX COUNTRY TRILOGY (Top Shelf Productions)
w/a – Jeff Lemire

What it’s about: Where does a young boy turn when his whole world suddenly disappears? What could change two brothers from an unstoppable team into a pair of bitterly estranged loners? How does the work of one middle-aged nurse reveal the scars of an entire community, and can anything heal the wounds caused by a century of deception?

Essex County is a tremendous achievement” – Darwyn Cooke

Comics at its best. A heartbreaking series of stories about loneliness and loss. Lemire’s sense of pacing and ability to tell a story cannot be overstated.

IT’S A BIRD (Vertigo)
written by Steven T. Seagle
art by  Teddy Kristiansen

What it’s about: A stunning semi-autobiographical story that tells one of the most realistic Superman tales ever — without featuring Superman. Steve’s given the assignment every writer dreams of: to write Superman. Only Steve can’t relate to a Man of Steel — not when his own fears of death haunt him.

“Terrifically wry. . . deep thinking. . . this is something truly different” – ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, Editor’s Choice

A poignant story. Stumbled upon completely by accident at a used book store. (Is there any better way to discover a book?) Ironically, I read most of this book sitting in a hospital waiting room.

w/James Sturm
a/Guy Davis

What it’s about: In 1961, the first issue of FANTASTIC FOUR was drawn and written by the brilliant team of Jack Kirby and Stan Lee, and set a new standard for heroic adventure comics. Few people realize that the Fantastic Four – a family of sci-fi adventurers gifted with amazing powers – was actually based on the lives of real people. As often is the case, real life was as astonishing as fiction. UNSTABLE MOLECULES is a biography that revisits the Fantastic Four’s beginnings with a historian’s eye.

Winner of the 2004 Eisner Award for best limited series.

A post-modern tale (comic or otherwise) at its best. If ever a series deserved an award, this is it. Another discovery from the “reduced” bin, and yet such a brilliant book.

Be forewarned: there are no super powers in this story. But, like the Lee/Kirby Fantastic Four comics, this is still very much about family. Each of the characters remain true to their name – Sue, the invisible housewife; Johnny, the fiery teenager; Ben, the emotional rock –  except maybe for Reed who is a cold, genius and much sought-after scientist but far from fantastic when it comes the people closest in his life. This book could be dissected in an English class, or on this blog, but it’s more fun if you discover the gems hidden within on your own. (Then post your thoughts. We’d love to hear them.)

by Seth

What it’s about: After one more disastrous attempt at selling their father’s fan manufacturing company, Simon returns defeated and unsure of what he’ll do next. Even after studying manuals on the art of selling, he still can’t seem to clinch that final deal. In the eyes of his brother Abraham, he is a failure. Seth brilliantly explores the complex and fascinating relationship of the two brothers behind Clyde Fans.

Aggregated ratings on Good Read give Clyde Fans a 3.7 stars.  Personally, I think it deserves more.

A sad story of a lonely man. Clyde Fans is a contemporary version of Death of a Salesman. A brilliantly tale told in two time periods. The story examines the burden of maintaing a father’s legacy and the cruel march of progress. You’ll squirm following the exploits of Abraham, possibly the world’s worst salesman.

NEW X-MEN (Marvel)
w/Grant Morrison

What it’s about: Sixteen million mutants dead… and that was just the beginning! In one bold stroke, writer Grant Morrison propelled the X-Men into the 21st century – masterminding a challenging new direction for Marvel’s mutant heroes that began with the destruction of Genosha and never let up. Regarded as the most innovative thinker of the current comic-book renaissance, Morrison proceeded to turn the mutant-hero genre on its ear.

Too many accolades to list here. But if you want a good review, check out this article from Pop Matters.

When I got back into comics a few years ago, comic publishers were just catching on to the omnibus format, and this is probably the first one I read: the entire Grant Morrison run on X-Men. Well, needless to say it was (and is) mind-blowing. I’ve always enjoyed Morrison’s work. It’s not to everyone’s taste, but he introduces really interesting new characters in his books, and give characters proper motivation (which I desperately crave in stories) for their actions via solid plot or emotional developments. In short, he actually writes good comics.

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Five reasons to attend TCAF 2011

The 2011 Toronto Toronto Comics Arts Festival is nearly upon us. This is the fifth and arguably most promising event thus far. I say that having attended nearly each of the previous festivals, missing only the first one in 2003.

Toronto offers the gamut when it comes to publishing events from zine gatherings to big comic book conventions – celebrity autographs and cosplay included.

TCAF falls somewhere in between. It’s the hottest small press comics event going and, for those who enjoy discovering gems not easily found at local retailers, a highlight for the comic book obsessed crowd. Read more on their About Page.

If you’ve never been, here are five reasons you should carve out a bit of time this weekend to drop by.

1. A superstar lineup
This is probably the biggest lineup of star talent yet for TCAF. It’s growing reputation is a testament to the dedication and hard work that co-founders Peter Birkmore and Chris Butcher put into building this event. The comics industry has taken notice allowing TCAF to attract many big names — Chester Brown, Darwyn Cooke, Adrian Tomine, Chris Ware, Paul Pope, Farel Dalrymple, Ray Fawkes… the list is huge — and serve as a launch pad for new releases. There are nearly two dozen new books debuting this weekend including Chester Brown’s Paying For It, Home and Away by Mawli, Stuart Immonen’s Centifolia II, and Michael DeForge’s latest installment of LOSE to name a few.

2. Fantastic venue
Too many Torontonians have, unfortunately, never stepped foot inside the Toronto Reference Library. Let’s change that. It’s a beautiful resource that would make any book lover weak at the knees. We’re talking multiple floors, row after row of books.

The facilities are undergoing a $34million renovation, and the results promise to be impressive. They have a great collection of comics to boot – recent and classics, mainstream and indie. It’s incredible.

3. International flavour
Toronto is well-known for being a multicultural mosaic. Experience it in comics. Not only can you meet international talent like Italy’s Lorenzo Mattotti, you can explore German comics at the Comics, Manga & Co. – The New German Comics Culture exhibit, curated by the Goethe-Institute and Matthias Schneider.

The exhibition presents two generations of graphic artists – the comic avant garde, whose members are responsible for the founding of the German ‘Comic Culture’ as well as a new generation of young comic artists.

Comics, Manga & Co runs until May 31.

4. Sightings!
It’s no secret Toronto (and Canada for that matter) is home to some top comics talent – many of whom won’t be attending this year but might take in the scene and strike up a conversation. Keep on the lookout for Seth, Jeff Lemire and Lezley Davidson to name just a few.

5. It’s free
That’s right, there is no admission price. This festival is open to all. It encourages both literacy and a love of comics – two movements I can get behind. This is in stark contrast to the big conventions that blow through town, charge at the door and attract autograph hounds looking to shell out for a signed publicity shots from an actor on Stargate. At TCAF, you can save all your pennies to spend on hard-to-find small press gems.

Can you tell I’m excited? TCAF runs May 7 and 8.

Video: Toronto Comic Arts Festival: Pencil it In from Toronto Comic Arts Festival.

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Doug Wright Award winners 2010

Added May 15: This video tribute is a nice showcase of the Best Book nominees.

On the evening of Saturday May 9, the 2010 Doug Wright Awards for Canadian “cartooning” – as it was described so quaintly at Friday night’s TCAF kickoff event with Daniel Clowes – were handed out to the following individuals:

  • Best Book went to Seth for George Sprott (Drawn and Quarterly)
  • Best Emerging Talent: Michael DeForge whose work includes Lose #1 (Koyama Press) and Cold Heat Special #7 (Picturebox)
  • Also something called the Pigskin Peters Award, a category described as unconventional, “nominally-narrative” comics: another D+Q book, Hot Potatoe by Marc Bell
  • Martin Vaughn-Smith was named to this year’s Hall of Fame

Best emerging talent: Michael Deforge
Pigskin Peters: Hot Potatoe by Marc Bell
Founded in 2004 (in a dimly lit Toronto bar) to celebrate the finest in English-language comics and graphic novels, The Doug Wright Awards have since evolved into one of North America’s foremost comics awards and one of its most anticipated events.

Wright Awards finalists defy easy categorization, and include past and present masters of the form and off-the-beaten-path newcomers alike, all vying for one of the most unique and coveted trophies in comics.

This year’s nominees were chosen by a five-member panel who chose from works released in the 2009 calendar year. The panel included: comics historian and author Jeet Heer; filmmaker Jerry Ciccoritti; cartoonist Chester Brown; Walrus comics blogger Sean Rogers, and; writer and Sequential.ca publisher Bryan Munn.

The winners were chosen by a jury that included Toronto Star books critic Geoff Pevere, author and Globe and Mail music columnist Carl Wilson, cartoonist and 2009 Doug Wright Award winner Matt Forsythe, and artist/cartoonist Fiona Smyth.

A featured event of the Toronto Comics Arts Festival (TCAF), the 2010 Doug Wright Awards ceremony was hosted by Peter Outerbridge at the Toronto Reference Library’s new Bram & Bluma Appel Salon.

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