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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I went to Toronto in May and it snowed.

We are finally back in the office after an amazing TCAF. What makes this show so great? Is it the TPL Reference Library? The Beguiling? The festival staff? All of the above. The volunteers are attentive and eager to help. Chris Butcher and Peter Birkemoe are easy to find and generally not out of their minds with distraction. D+Q had a fabulous show (financially and personally) and as far as I can tell everyone was doing strong business. At one point at 3pm on Sunday, I was talking to Graham Annable and the show was as packed as it has ever been. Usually the last two hours of any con are a desperate affair--empty aisles, people packing up and leaving early and savvy shoppers looking for cut-rate deals. This was not the case at TCAF. Strong crowds all day long (and not just in the Kate Beaton line.)

Thursday night kicked things off with a Market Day event at the Miles Nadal JCC, what a space! James Sturm presented the process for creating the book, talking about the photos he referenced as well as his method of sketching out the entire book in rough format so that he can do extensive edits before he sits down and redraws the entire thing from scratch.

James was joined by Miriam Libicki (Jobnik) who gave an opening talk on the idea of, in her words, "the Hot Jew" and her long standing fascination with Israeli soldiers. Here they are signing books for the fans.

Got a lot of work ahead of you over the next few days preparing for a convention? Then by all means, stay out until 2am drinking beers and arguing about flipping manga.

Friday evening was the Dan Clowes interview with Mark Medley--the headlining event of TCAF--in front of 400 fans. 400! Here we are backstage psyching ourselves up for the evening. Chester Brown, Dan Clowes, Seth. SMILE!! Come on. Let's try another one. C'mon. One more. Oh forget it. That'll do.

The Chief and Mark Medley pre-show. Mark did a great job by the way. He kept the talk moving briskly and free from references to anagrams and partial word balloons. I especially liked the fact that the interview gave me a slightly different view of Clowes--he came off like a kid who always wanted to be in MAD Magazine and grew into an adult who still wanted to be in MAD Magazine.

More backstage: the great Jim Woodring (in Toronto to promote the amazing Weathercraft), the great Chester Brown (finishing up his current book he swears), and Jeet Heer (secretly writing a 10,000 word essay on Jesse Marsh in his head while carrying on a conversation about Roy Crane and his assistant.)

Our old pal Andy Brown of Conundrum Press sneaks into the back room. He tells us harrowing tales of Nova Scotian daycare.

Post interview, Dan signs copies of Wilson and the occasional non-licensed item. GHOST WORLD VANS!!

A new entry in the growing comics tattoos Flickr set. She didn't want Peggy to take a photo since it was only a few hours old!

I think Peg lost the camera for a few hours because suddenly we're 24 hours later and Marc Bell is accepting the Pigskin Peters award for his book Hot Potatoe. I was a proud poppa--my boy Marc standing up there with his fancy hat. Marc's book was especially labor intensive and I think we both are still in a little bit of shock that we ever finished it. What? You don't own it? HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?!?! Go get it now. I'll wait.

Seth won Best Book with George Sprott: 1894-1975. He gave a funny speech where he addressed how angry he was after Wimbledon Green lost a couple of years ago. He then hijacked the show and gave a 20 minute talk about how today's whippersnappers need to maintain focus and try to do work that pleases them and not try to write something that will help them land a big book contract. He talked about how when he started years ago there really was no incentive other than your own desire to make something for yourself--there were no big book contracts. Of course, these days, you never know when someone is going to throw a wad of cash at you for a crappy book about eating well in Europe or how mean your parents were to you. {Um...my words. Not Seth's.}

Dignified Canadian Cartoonists and Doug Wright Award Winners--Marc Bell and Seth.

Peg is going to get hell for bogarting the camera. No photos of this year's host Peter Outerbridge (who opened with a charming segment showing one of the 40 or so comics he created in second grade that his mother was kind enough to save for 34 years until she gifted them to him on his 40th birthday. Are you reading this, Mother? Of course not. You never read this blog. Do you even know what I do for a living, Mom?) Above; last year's host, Don McKellar, and next year's Governor General Award winner, Chester Brown. Oh, and you can see the opening animation to the ceremonies here:

Other awards ceremonies take note, this is a crowd pleaser.

Note to all cartoonists: if you draw a self-portrait with a round bald head, some smug graphic designer is going to make it his central design element.

Young Clowes fan who was the first in line on Sunday along with his mother. "Will you draw Needledick, please?"

We caught this young boy (James) poring over Melvin Monster and who should his father be but Dave Collier!

Awesome Beguiling employee Amanda who is one of the many excellent TCAF staffers who helped make it such an awesome show. What did she do exactly? Oh, just provide the live sign language translation of Dan's Friday night event, that's all.

Neglectful mother Rina Ayuyang also neglects the Sparkplug booth evidently as she walks around the convention floor.

Seth and Chester sign. I wish I could say that Dan was doing some elaborate awesome sketch in my theme sketchbook (horses riding bicycles up staircases) but I think he was just totaling up his expenses for the show.

Cripes. Get a haircut. Dear blog readers who ask for more pictures of Gigi, here you go. She is in her "Lil Lulu" dress. {Her words. Not mine. In fact, she was the one who made fun of those comics before as well.}

Hey, who had a debut graphic novel at the show? Why it was Mr. Keith Jones. Seriously, this is a 184 page full-color graphic novel featuring space travelling cats and dogs who loves hot dogs. Another in a long line of D+Q's quasi-religious comics tracts. {More on this fresh new amazing book in this space later this week. It is called Catland Empire by the way.}

The Johnny Depp of Canadian Comics as well as local GILF--Joe Ollmann. See him on tour promoting his D+Q book Mid-Life next Spring, ladies.

The "G" in "GILF" is for "Grandpa." Chris and Sequential co-editor Bryan Munn.

Dan and Evan Dorkin discuss the term "fan favorite" and do a little mutual appreciation.

Comics biographer and critic Jeet Heer pauses in the middle of the convention floor in mid-conversation to mentally compose the introduction to the fifth volume of Walt and Skeezix (coming January 2011!) {HE TYPES USING ONE FINGER.}

Finally, I picked up a few comics at the show. Here are a few that I read so far and liked: Peter's Muscle by Michael Deforge, Nick Maandag's Laff Depot by Nick Maandag, Marla on Seeing Her Father by Ethan Rilly, and Little Wolves by James Hindle.


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