Celebrating Toronto's Comic Arts Talent
I had been reading Dinosaur Comics for quite a while before I met Ryan North for the first time. When I finally did meet him, I wasn't disappointed: despite only speaking to him for two or three minutes, I left with the impression that he was just as hilarious (in an understated way) as his comics portrayed him to be.
If you haven't met Ryan North just yet, he's one of many humorous and extremely talented comic artists that will be congregating at this year's Toronto Comic Arts Festival taking place this weekend at Old Vic on the University of Toronto campus. As Toronto's premier event highlighting the diverse sphere of comics, TCAF features some of the best comic artists from across the country and around the world. Best of all, it's free.
Now in it's third incarnation, the festival is expecting to draw several thousand comics-enthusiasts from across the country, as well as many interested members of the public. The festival in 2005 boasted over 6,000 visitors and over 150 creators, and this year's celebration has moved to a larger location in anticipation of the bigger crowds.
I'm no artist, but I do love me some comics, so here's a quick rundown of a few of the hundreds of artists I'm looking forward to meeting at this year's festival:
Joey Comeau: Part of the dynamic duo behind popular webcomic A Softer World, Joey's writing demonstrates just how much impact a few carefully chosen words can have. I highly recommend picking up his book, Lockpick Pornography, as well.
Nick Maandag: You've seen his video on blogTO before, so you know the painstaking detail he puts into his work. Nick's work is a bit elusive to find on the web, so this will be a fantastic chance to explore his art and his methods.
John Martz: John may be a fantastic comic artist, but I know him most as one of the geniuses behind Drawn.ca, a website that has not only won several awards (including a Bloggie) but has also been named as one of TIME's 50 coolest websites of the year.
Ryan North: There are very few people in the world that I have met that don't know of Dinosaur Comics. When I was in Brussels earlier this year, someone once asked me: "You're from Toronto, right? Do you know that guy that does Dinosaur Comics? He lives there." Now that's fame. And best of all, Ryan does so much more than write dialog for talking T-Rexes.
Evan Munday: Evan will be at the festival with his comics collective SketchKrieg, and I'm guessing he'll have some copies of The Amazing Challengers of Unknown Mystery with him. Pick one up if you get the chance.
Sam Brown: Exploding Dog comics can now be found on t-shirts, mugs, posters, and heck, on some people's bodies as tattoos. Amazing Rain is still one of my favorite books (of any kind) ever printed, and I'm giddy with anticipation to meet the man behind the stick figures.
The Toronto Comic Arts Festival takes place on Saturday and Sunday August 18/19, 2007 at the Old Victoria College building and the Burwash Quad on the University of Toronto Campus. All daytime events are free for the public. For more information, visit TorontoComics.com.