The Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) 2012 preview
The Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) is once again set to take over the Reference Library. Since 2003, TCAF has drawn in scores of artists and craftsmen, casual fans and avid enthusiasts. What used to be an event held every two years is now becoming an annual affair as its popularity continues to grow. Speaking from experience, TCAF is a lot of fun because its scale is smaller than most of the cons in Toronto, giving fans the chance to meet, greet, and hyperventilate in front of their favourite artists without having to line up for hours. Here's what to expect.
Guests from around the world will be exhibiting at TCAF, alongside a number of our own Canadian superstars. Bryan Lee O'Malley, creator of the award-winning Scott Pilgrim comics, will take time away from swimming in a pool of money to greet his fans. Nova Scotia's own comic book juggernaut Kate Beaton, creator of the renowned historical-satire webcomic Hark! A Vagrant, will be present, alongside political cartoonist Aislin and scratch DJ Kid Koala.
As far as international guests go, Chi's Sweet Home manga-ka Konami Kanata will not only be signing books at the main event but also giving a talk at The Japan Foundation on Saturday night. We can also expect American superstars Kazu Kibuishi, Adam Warren and Jeff Smith, Brazilian tag-team Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá, French author José-Luis Bocquet and German artist Arne Bellstorf to patrol the convention in search of our jobs and women.
I could read out the whole list, but we'd be here for days. Why don't you take a load off of my back and look at the Featured Guests page and the Full Exhibitor's List? I'll be over here with a hot drink talking about...
A number of booths will be set up to represent publishing companies from around the globe as well. French company Cornelius will be twirling its mustache at us, veteran proponent for artistic comics Fantagraphics Books will fly its banner, Japanese genre-fiction publishers Vertical Inc. will...be...vertical...and webcomic publisher TopatoCo will share its space with the creators of Doctor McNinja, Dinosaur Comics, Questionable Content, and more.
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A bunch of books will be debuting at TCAF as well, everything from Guy Delisle's Jerusalem Chronicles from the Holy City to Jessica Abel and Matt Madden's textbook Mastering Comics. Each book covers a range of topics far different from superhero-related shenanigans most companies deal with. Art books, collections, fantasy yarns, serial killer biopics, tales of existential quandary, surrealist teen dramas, and damn near anything you can think of will be shown off and sold off.
TCAF's not only going to be a trade show. Oh no, there's a lot more happening than show-and-sell. For example, what if I told you that Kid Koala, in association with TCAF and Wavelength, was holding the artiest concert in the universe? On May 3rd and May 4th at 918 Bathurst, the audience will be seated in inflated "space pods" and listen to the concert on headphones as Kid Koala performs the soundtrack to the comic Space Cadet.
Need more incentive? How about an evening with Guy Delisle at Carlton Cinema, celebrating the release of Jerusalem Chronicles on Thursday May 3rd. Friday the 4th will have TCAF Librarian and Educator Day and a launch party hosted by TopatoCo, while Saturday will host and boast the Comics versus Games Creative Jam, the TCAF Queer Mixer, and the 2012 Doug Wright Awards.
And there you have it. The Toronto Comic Arts Festival runs on May 5th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on May 6th from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. TCAF is free to enter.
Writing by Robert Iveniuk