Jamie Coville deserves immense praise for his efforts at recording panels at the conventions he attends, and he was at it again at TCAF 2015, with recordings of some of the best panels and the inimitable Doug Wright Awards. Can we all give him a round of applause? Here’s his links to the audio and his photos
Note: Friday May 8th was Librarian & Educator day. For the general public TCAF was May 9-10th.
Protecting Comics: Graphic Novel Challenges in Today’s Libraries (54:27, 48.9mb)
Presented by Charles Brownstein of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Charles starts off with a small history of how comics became thought of as being only for children. He then gave some statistics of Challenged and
Banned Graphic Novels in both Canada and the US. He explained the path to censorship, why people try to ban comics, a list of top challenged books in both countries, the book challenges they are dealing with right
now (This One Summer, Palomar, The Graveyard Book, Bone, Fun Home & Persepolis), how libraries can cope with challengers, managing the challenges and the resources available. They did a Q & A with the audience
and addressed issues with cultural differences, particularly with European views on nudity books marked for children, older books with offensive depictions of race and how to respond to that.
Do it yourself Comic Con (1:02:45, 57.4mb)
This panel had Eva Volin, Liz Coates (Librarians) and Sven Larsen (Papercutz) talk about doing Comic Cons within a Library. Eva and Liz spoke about their Comic Con like events they held at their Libraries,
with very little in ways of staff or money. Eva talked about first deciding who the convention is for in terms of demographics, she recommended partnering with the local comic book store for advice and assistance.
She spoke of passive programming that can be done and gave examples, getting free comics, getting creators to visit via Skype, finding people in the community who can be a resource and
borrowing ideas from other events, she also said afterwards it’s good to promote the event by putting up pictures of it as it helps affirm it’s success and helps it grow. Liz talked about the recent King Con
even in Kingston, ON. She talked about the programming, funding, partnering with local stores, challenges she faced and the creators she was able to bring in. Sven spoke about
helping these events from the publisher side. He said publishers are willing to give free stuff to help the event, but not likely books as they are trying to sell them. He said you may not get publishers
co-operation on getting creators to go to the events because they want the creator working on their books so he recommended going to the creators themselves. He also gave some advice about dealing with
publishers, saying not all publishers are equal when it comes to supporting these types of events. He advised in when you contact them and what information you should give the publisher about your show.
Charles Brownstein came up and talked about how CBLDF is putting together of resources of creators who are willing to do Library visits. Sven also suggested using local publishers to assist with the show.
There was Q&A and among the topics were School Libraries doing similar type events, how to approach your supervisor with the idea and having your paperwork ready in terms of by-laws and permits.
Big Comics Q&A: Classrooms (52:46, 48.3mb)
On this panel was Leslie Holwerda and Glen Downey. Leslie talked about introducing comic activities through her Library classes. Kids love using comics to learn and it shows the popularity of Graphic Novels beyond
circulation numbers. Among the things her lessons include is having kids find particular things within the comics, she gave 3 Canadian Graphic Novels that she uses and she has the kids find things within the comic, discussion
questions, assessment opportunities and feedback. She also talked about a Superhero Battle program that kids were excited for. She had the kids read just beyond the white male heroes for diversity. Glen Downey spoke
about 3 principals for Comics in the Classroom, Tradition, Vocabulary and Applying what they learn. On Tradition he talks about the history of the comic form from Cave Paintings to today. He says this is important
as it gives the art form legitimacy and helps make the medium as important as Literature and Art. He says that some people see Comics as a part of just literature which he thinks is limiting and not fully accurate.
He says vocabulary is important because kids will talk about comics in the same way they will books and are not able to express what they are seeing. He says we should teach the terms (GNs and Comics) and their
conflict. Doug also explained how studying comics helps kids with their writing.
Book Talk: Diverse Graphic Novels (57:06, 52.2mb)
The presenter was Andrew Woodrow-Butcher. Along with him were creators Tory Woollcott (Mirror Mind), Kat Verhoeven (Towerkind) and Beguiling Employee Rebecca Scoble. Both Tory and Kat talked about their books and
what makes them different. Rebecca discussed Mahou Josei Chumaka and Offbeat, two books who feature diverse characters. Andrew then talked about a number of books including, Luz, Hidden, Where Babies Comic From,
Lola, Drama, Rainy Day Recess, Kevin Keller, El Deafo, A Game For Swallows, Adventure Time, The Bravest Warrior, Runaways, A Graphic Guide adventure series and many others. He also gave reasons for each one and
usually their target age groups.
TCAF 2015 Kick-Off Event: D&Q 25! (1:13:15, 67mb)
Chris Butcher started off the kick-off event and gave thanks to various people who help put the convention together. He talked about his first exposure to Drawn and Quarterly comics when he was young and working
for a different retailer. He also talked about the company’s growth. Chris Oliveros came up and spoke about TCAF, how important they are and how they’ve supported the company. Then the panel started with Sean
Rogers interviewing an all star line up of Jillian Tamaki, Jason Lutes, Seth, Adrian Tomine and Lynda Barry. The group first talked about their latest books, then went into when they joined Drawn and Quarterly.
Seth gave his early history with the company and his first impressions of Charles, Jillian spoke of the sense of community with the publisher, Adrian said he loved the D & Q line and wanted to be a part of it,
Jason talked about his coming out of art school, not really sure of what to do with himself, interning at Fantagraphics and finding the indy comics scene to be very sombre. He began to self-publish, then a smiling
Chris wanted to publish him. Lynda gave her sad but funny history of working in comics prior to working with Chris. Seth and others talked about one of the first major creators D&Q published, Julie Doucette and
her impact on comics, particularly women doing comics. The group also spoke about digital and print versions of books, limitations and how they can learn from them. Peter Birkemoe also spoke about Drawn and Quarterly.
The New Mainstream (1:03:44, 58.3mb)
Moderated by Chris Butcher, this panels line up was Ryan North, Karl Kerschl, Brenden Fletcher, Babs Tarr, Ray Fawkes, Cameron Stewart and Chip Zdarsky. The group spoke about the experience of going from indy
comics to “mainstream” comics, getting push back on their work while working on their books, universe continuity getting involved in their stories, the different audience and people not liking their work,
creating different costumes for the characters and the reactions they get from them, a characters long history and how they deal with it, keeping characters in their iconic state for long term readability
purposes, being Canadian (except Babs Tarr) and is there a reason they are now all doing mainstream comics, their goals for their books, the benefits of working with editors, writing single issues and writing
for a trade at the same time, stuff they want to sneak into the books and writing for a specific audience.
Spotlight: Gurihiru (1:03:38, 58.2mb)
Deb Aoki talks to the Japanese art team of Guihiru. They are Chifuyu Sasaki and Naoko Kawano and have been working on North American comics for a number of years now. Through their translator they talked about their work
on Avatar the Airbender, A Babies vs X Babies and how they and Scottie Young created the babies version of the characters. They also revealed which baby character they did not like drawing and why. They fondly reminisced
of their time on Thor and the Warriors Four. They revealed why they started working for North American publishers, their preference to work in colour, their work prior to North American publishers and the adjustments
they had to make. They revealed the had created a Star Wars Japanese – English dictionary, a picture book for an Australian publisher and mentioned their colouring of Raina Telegmeier’s Smile. The conversation shifted to
their process from layout sketches to a finished page, working in pen and ink and in digital, how they collaborate when they work, how they schedule their way of working on a book and juggling multiple projects at once,
arguments they have and how they resolve them, why they decided to work under a single name and how they met. It was requested that no pictures be taken of them, as many Japanese creators like to keep their privacy. The
influences of US comics on Japan was brought up, with them mentioning Spawn, Neal Adams, Frank Frazatta were very popular in Japan. The audience asked if they were interested in writing, the number of female artists in
Japan and their reaction to the amount in North America.
What do Women Want? Writing Comics for a female audience (1:03:26, 58mb)
On this panel was Brenden Fletcher, Sam Maggs, Sydney Padua, Sandra Bell-Lundy, Svetlana Chmakova and the panel was moderated by Lianne Sentar. Topics discussed were pitching comics aimed at female readers and
the reaction they get from that, web comics and female readers, female fans and their feedback, why female lead books are seen as ‘female’ books but books with male leads are seen as ‘universal’, how writing for
a female audience affects their writing, books they recommend for female readers, what proportions they decide to use when designing and drawing the female figure and their favourite female characters.
Truth & Intimacy in Graphic Memoir (52:00, 47.6mb)
Moderated by Johanna Draper Carlson, panelists included Raina Telgemeier, Dustin Harbin, Etienne Davodeau and joining part way through was John Porcellino. The group started off describing their work, then they discussed
how true are their stories, what they include and exclude, how people who’ve been depicted in their books reacted, why they started doing graphic memoir, the most difficult part of doing the work, whether people respond
more to sad or happy stories and what other artists doing graphic memoir were they influenced by.
Drawn and Quarterly: Ask Me Anything (52:02, 47.6mb)
Chris Oliveros, Peggy Burns and Tom Devlin answers Heidi MacDonald’s questions on a variety of topics including what role Chris now plays within the company now that he’s stepping down, what Peggy and Tom will be doing
and what will happen to their old roles, why Chris started publishing comics, doing the D&Q anthology and what inspired it, former publisher Vortex and wooing Chester Brown away from them, Peggy’s history of working at
DC and moving to D&Q, Tom history with his former Highwater Comics company and how he ended up working for D&Q, the company’s surviving the 90s and their transition to publishing Graphic Novels & adapting to the book
market, their first big successful Graphic Novel, the amount of Good cartoonists and keeping up with them all, the title of Chris’s new book and when it’s coming out, how the group works when picking what they publish,
which new book they are all excited about, how long it took for D&Q to make money, the cost of living in Montreal, their future goals, Kim Thompsons death and how Chris wanted his company to outlive him not only to a 2nd
generation but to a 3rd as well.
The Doug Wright Awards 2015 (May 9) – 28 Photos
Full 11th Annual Doug Wright Awards (1:10:24, 46.4mb)
The Awards were presented by David Collier, Don McKellar, Lynda Barry, Seth, Brad Mackay, Conan Tobias and Zach Worton.
The nominees for the 2015 Doug Wright Award for Best Book are:
Ant Colony by Michael DeForge (Drawn & Quarterly)
Fatherland by Nina Bunjevac (Jonathan Cape/Random House)- Winner
Safari Honeymoon by Jesse Jacobs (Koyama Press)
The People Inside by Ray Fawkes (Oni Press)
This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki (Groundwood)
The nominees for the 2015 Doug Wright Spotlight Award (a.k.a. “The Nipper”) which recognizes Canadian cartoonists deserving of wider recognition are:
Aaron Costain for Entropy #10
Elisabeth Belliveau for One Year in America (Conundrum Press)
Julie Delporte for Everywhere Antennas (Drawn & Quarterly)
Meags Fitzgerald for Photobooth: A Biography (Conundrum Press) – Winner
Simon Roy for Tiger Lung (Dark Horse)
Sophie Yanow for War of Streets and Houses (Uncivilized Books)
And the nominees for the 2015 Pigskin Peters Award, which recognizes unconventional, experimental, or avant-garde Canadian comics are:
Great Success! 1983-2013 by Henriette Valium (Crna Hronika)
New Comics #3-5 by Patrick Kyle (Mother Books)
Undocumented: The Architecture of Migrant Detention by Tings Chak (The Architecture Observer)
“Swinespritzen” by Connor Willumsen – Winner
The evening also saw long-time London Free Press editorial cartoonist Merle “Ting” Tingley inducted into the Canadian Cartoonist Hall of Fame, aka “Giants of the North”.
His award was accepted by his son Cameron Tingley
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.