Tag Archives: TCAF 2013

Advice for aspiring comic artists from small press publishers (TCAF 2013 panel)


The small press panel at TCAF 2013 was interesting.

Lots of perspectives from the people at Secret Acres, Domino Books, Koyama Press, Grimalken Press, and Rebus Books. (At least that was who were on the bill. I arrived late and missed the intros.)

It was moderated by Adam Hines and Andrew Murray who manage the Guys With Pencils Tumblr.  (I’d not heard of them before, but apparently they live here in Toronto.) They were recording the panel, so presumably it is posted someplace, but I can’t find it. You can click here for the podcast billed as their TCAF review, but the first 15 minutes were boring and I lost interest so I haven’t listened long enough to know if they include any audio clips from the panel.

The panel, however, was engaging. Adam and Andrew kept it moving along. Annie Koyama had some particularly insightful advice. You should check out the Koyama Press site if you are unfamiliar with them. They publish Michael Deforge, Jesse Jacobs and loads more great indie talent. (The above image is by Deforge of the Koyama mascot Kickass Annie.)

The main takeaways:

  • It’s never been easier to get your work out there and start building a fan base. (The Internet has changed the game.)
  • Indie publishers have limited time and so their catalogue is very small. Plus it’s planned many seasons out so don’t get discouraged by rejection letters. If they answer you back, consider it a compliment that they took the time to answer you.
  • Blind submissions don’t often work, which goes back to the first bullet.
  • Some publishers have the means to get your book into the hands of sellers even if they don’t publish it. So if you can make your own comic (see #1), they might be interested in working out a distribution contract.
  • Plus you don’t even really need a publisher these days. Sure it’s a much bigger hill to climb, but I’m finding lots of interesting comics in unexpected places. (In fact, I recently found and bought a few comics on Etsy, which goes toward this point.)

(Time lapse of TCAF 2013 by Clive Sewell)

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Scott Thompson hosts the Doug Wright Awards 2013


This year, 2013, was only my second time attending the Doug Wright Awards. I was introduced last year when Terry Mosher earned his Giants of the North hall of fame award. That event was hosted by Toronto-based entertainment and pop culture columnist Geoff Pevere.

Scott Thompson, of Kids in the Hall and Hannibal fame, was this year’s MC. Completely entertaining as you might expect. I dragged along my buddy Derek Evernden who made the banner for this blog. He had a blast.

I only became vaguely aware of the awards in 2010, but imagined it would be some super-stuffy insider’s event. (Only half-true!) Not only was it hugely entertaining (in the best and most geeky way possible), but my favourite part was discovering brilliant talent. Last year, I didn’t know any of the nominees. I’m not embarrassed to say that I was a complete newbie to the Canadian indie comics scene despite my having attended TCAF since 2005. This year, at least I’d read two of the nominated books across all three categories.

Collected here are some Tweets that I sent out during the awards along with some by a few others. But first, enjoy the intro video featuring some of the evening’s nominated books brought to life with the voice talent of Scott Thompson and others.


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Top panel picks for Toronto Comic Arts Festival 2013


There is lots happening this weekend at TCAF. Programming on both Saturday and Sunday is strong. And there is an entire kids programming stream that looks fantastic if you’re bringing the little ones.

Also: hurray, 10 years!


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.

(The Marriott High Park Ballroom – 10-11am)

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.

(The Marriott High Park Ballroom – 11-12pm)

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.

(The Marriott High Park Ballroom – 12:15-1:15pm)

Moebius, Past and Future
Jean Giraud, also known as Moebius, was a legend in the comics industry – his lush, whimsical art and creative storytelling inspired a generation of cartoonists around the world to take the comics medium to new directions and new heights.  Four cartoonists discuss Moebius’ life, work, and his role in inspiring the industry today – as well as their own books. With Frederik Peeters (Sandcastle), Paul Pope (THB), David B. (Black Paths), Glyn Dillon (The Nao of Brown). Moderated by Xavier Guilbert (du9.org)

(The Marriott Forest Hill Ballroom – 1:30 – 2:30pm)

Comics & Politics
Looking beyond the political cartoon – that humorous, satirical, often exaggerated form of political comics storytelling – to the political graphic novel – a form that approaches those same subjects with a different level of gravity, emotion, and depth.  What makes the difference between the two?  Sarah Glidden (How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less), Rutu Modan (The Property), Matt Bors (Cartoon Movement), and Josh Neufeld (A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge). Moderated by Nicole Marie Burton.

(The Marriott Forest Hill Ballroom, 4 – 5pm)


I did my best to avoid suggesting two panels in the same time slot, but I can’t avoid it here. I don’t know who designed the programming, but for me, this is torture. The Seth/Spiegelman conversation could be really interesting, but the Comic blog panel is very timely considering AOL shut down Comics Alliance two weeks ago:

Is Comics Blogging Over?
The comics blog: the dominant conversation forum for comics in the late 90s and through the 2000s, is certainly changing, possibly mutating… but is it ‘over’? Social media, new content distribution methods, and a lack of paying outlets may just have changed blogging forever. Join Deb Aoki (Manga.AboutGuide.com), Heidi McDonald (ComicsBeat.com), Tom Spurgeon (ComicsReporter.com), Andrew Wheeler (Freelance/Comics Alliance), and moderator Brigid Alverson (Robot6) in a lively discussion of this contentious topic.

(The Pilot Tavern, 11am-12pm)

Spotlight: Art Spiegelman and Seth, in Conversation
Art Spiegelman is the author of Breakdowns, Maus, In The Shadow of No Towers, Meta Maus, and the editor and subject of TCAF debut CO-MIX, a retrospective of Art’s vast career in comics and illustration, from RAW to The New Yorker. At this special TCAF presentation, Art Spiegelman will sit down with his friend and fellow cartoonist Seth (Palooka-ville, George Sprott) in a wide-ranging interview on Art’s career.

(The Marriott Forest Hill Ballroom, 11-12pm)

TCAF’s Debut Book Spotlight: DeForge, CF, Fink, McEowen, Kindt, & Modan
The TCAF Debut Book Spotlight shines on six of the most exciting books and authors of this year’s show, giving them a chance to talk about their own work, and each other’s. Featuring Michael DeForge for Very Casual; CF for Mere; Jess Fink for We Can Fix It; Matt Kindt for Red Handed; Patrick McEown for Hair Shirt, and Rutu Modan for The Property.

(The Marriott Forest Hill Ballroom, 12:15-1:15pm)

Spotlight: Taiyo Matsumoto
TCAF is proud to welcome one of the most exciting and acclaimed manga creators in the world, Taiyo Matsumoto, as he celebrates his first international art exhibition and the North American debut of his new graphic novel SUNNY. Please join Taiyo Matsumoto in conversation with TCAF Festival Director Christopher Butcher, as they discuss Matsumoto’s career, his forays into new media, and his new graphic novel series.

(The Marriott Forest Hill Ballroom, 1:30-2:30pm)

By popular demand, TCAF’s awesome ADVENTURE TIME panel returns for 2013! Featuring Ryan North, Shelli Paroline, Braden Lamb, and Mike Holmes (Adventure Time: The Comic Book), Meredith Gran (Adventure Time: Marceline and the Scream Queens), Danielle Corsetto (Adventure Time: Playing with Fire), and Michael Deforge and Steve Wolfhard (artists on the Adventure Time cartoon).

(The Marriott Forest Hill Ballroom, 4-5 pm)

Comics from an Author’s Perspective
Creator-owned comics have grabbed the imagination of the comic-reading public and publishers are looking for fresh ideas from a new generation of talent. Listen closely as Jim Zub (Skullkickers, Street Fighter, Legends of the Dark Knight) discusses pitching his comic series to publishers and offers advice on how to climb to the top of the treacherous submission mountain, along with comic writing techniques and amusing anecdotes.

(Fortuna Ristorante, 2:45-3:45pm)

(Top, TCAF 10th anniversary poster by Maurice Vellekoop. Right, commemorative TCAF 2013 poster by Taiyo Matsumoto. More poster info.)

More TCAF stories:
Hernandez brothers vs Matt Bors – TCAF 2013
5 tips for Toronto Comics Arts Festival newbies
‘Comics are trash’ and other lessons from TCAF 2012

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Filed under Aritsts and writers, Comic News, Events, Toronto comic info

Hernandez brothers vs Matt Bors – my first TCAF 2013 scheduling dilemma

Matt Bors

The 2013 Toronto Comic Arts Festival is still days away and already I’m faced with a scheduling dilemma.

I picked up tickets to the official kick-off event, this year featuring the Hernandez brothers, Gilbert and Jaime. It’s a tradition I share with Derek Evernden, who created the cool banner on this blog. Last year, we heard from Jeff Smith and brothers Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon. Comics owe a lot to Gilbert and Jamie for raising the profile of this medium. There will be lots of material and stories to mine in the hour-plus conversation.

But over at The Comic Book Lounge & Gallery is  The Political Cartoons of Matt Bors. I really love me some political cartoons. And while I’m not familiar with Bors, the material on his site is pretty funny. Also it’s being held at The Comic Book Lounge, which I’ve been meaning to check out for some time. We could sip a few beer while we listen to him talk about his work.

So if you like all kinds of comics, here are a couple of events worth checking out on Friday:

The Political Comics of Matt Bors – Reading/Presentation

On the eve of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF 2013), join award-winning, nationally syndicated political cartoonist and comics editor Matt Bors as he cracks open the subject of political comics. From gun control to women’s rights, climate change to the War in Afghanistan (where he traveled as a comics journalist in 2010), Bors shows us how, in a world of controversy, political comics have become a surprisingly effective way to make a point.

Bar Opens at 7PM
Program Begins at 7:30PM

TCAF 10th Kick-off event featuring Gilbert and Jamie Hernandez

Come kick-off the 10th Anniversary of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival with us on the evening of Friday, May 10th! TCAF will welcome to the stage alt-comix legends Gilbert Hernandez and Jamie Hernandez, as they engage in a lively career-spanning conversation with The Comics Reporter’s Tom Spurgeon! Both artists will also sign autographs and meet with fans at the event. Selections from their complete comics library will be available for sale at the event.

Plus! A look back at ten years of TCAF with some very special guests.

Presented by Toronto Reference Library and The Beguiling Books & Art, with support from Drawn & Quarterly Books and Fantagraphics Books.

Please note: Reserved seating with Eventbrite ticket is only valid until 7:20pm. After that time, all tickets admission will be rush-line admission.

About the Authors:

Gilbert LrgGilbert Hernandez was born in 1957 in Oxnard, California, the middle child in a family of six children. Alongside his brothers Jaime and Mario, Gilbert co-created and contributed to the acclaimed comic book series Love and Rockets, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2012. Gilbert has won numerous awards for his stories, including the Kirby Award, Inkpot Award, Harvey Award, and the 2009 United States Artists Literature Fellowship.

Gilbert Hernandez will be at TCAF in support of his highly-anticipated, semiautobiographical new graphic novel, Marble Season. Marble Season is Gilbert Hernandez’s his first book with D&Q and one of the most anticipated books of 2013. It tells the untold stories from the American comics legends’ youth, but also portrays the reality of life in a large family in suburban 1960s California. Pop-culture references—TV shows, comic books, and music—saturate this evocative story of a young family navigating cultural and neighborhood norms set against the golden age of the American dream and the silver age of comics.

Jaime LrgJaime Hernandez is the co-creator of the independent comic book Love and Rockets (along with his brothers Gilbert and Mario). Jaime’s main contribution to Love and Rockets is the ongoing serial narrative Locas which follows the tangled lives of a group of primarily Latina characters, from their teenage years in the early days of the California punk scene to the present day. The two central characters of Jaime’s cast are Margarita Luisa “Maggie” Chascarrillo and Esperanza Leticia “Hopey” Glass, whose on-again, off-again, open romance is a focus for many Locas storylines.

In addition to his Locas stories, Henandez has also done occasional work for DC Comics and The New Yorker, and he has done many album covers for such artists as Michelle Shocked.

More TCAF stories:
My top panel picks for TCAF 2013
5 tips for Toronto Comics Arts Festival newbies
‘Comics are trash’ and other lessons from TCAF 2012



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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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