Jamie Coville has done his usual amazing job of recording panels from TCAF, including several from the librarian and educator conference, Trina Robbins talk on Nell Brinkley, and the Doug Wright Awards. He also has photos up here and here.
Toronto Comics Arts Festival (TCAF) 2014 (May 9 – 11) – 210 Photos
Note: Friday May 9th was Librarian & Educator day. For the general public TCAF was May 10-11th.
The Brinkley Girls, WWI and American Patriotism in Women’s Comics: A talk by Trina Robbins. (38:58, 35.6mb)
The Introduction is by Dr. Barbara Postema. Trina talked about Nell Brinkley with a big touch screen TV (which she liked). She also talked about Nell’s work, what it was saying, ran through some highlights
of some stories she told with her art and talked about her politics and humour, among other aspects. Trina then answered a variety of question about Nell, rediscovering her, why traditional comics history
don’t touch on female cartoonists and Nell’s original art.
Great Creator Visits! (50:05, 45.8mb)
Moderated by Scott Robins, this panel featured Lynn Johnston and Raina Telgemeier talking about their visits to schools and libraries. Lynn opened up about not liking to do schools where the kids are
forced to be there. She said they can be disruptive, a lot like she was at that age. She prefers events where those in attendance want to be there. Raina talked about having to deal with rowdy kids.
Lynn said she doesn’t like overly long introductions because they drain the energy of the room. They gave a list of don’t for events and among them were staff not aware of the event, no
advertising, not being able to sell their books after the show, no bathroom or coffee breaks between events and friends of the organizer wanting to dominate your time after the show. They also talked about
good creator visits they did. Both of them spoke about the struggle to make deadlines while doing visits, the age level they prefer talking to, doing visits on Skype and interviews via twitter. The
audience asked questions about their gay characters and what response they got from them. Lynn also talked about her decision to age the characters as the strip went on and how that affected merchandising.
Lynn said she really liked Rania’s book Smile and gave Rania a big public stamp of approval for her work as a cartoonist.
Collection Maintenance. (1:05:38, 60.1mb)
On the panel was Robin Brenner, Scott Robins and Max Dionisio. It was moderated by Lindsay Gibb. They started by talking about their libraries, what they carry and what moves really well. Each
gave which websites they follow for keeping up with comic news. The method in which they house their collection was discussed. They spoke about how they handle Manga and buying series (full series or the
first few volumes). They talked about weeding out books that just don’t circulate, something they all have to do. They discussed how to avoid pigeon holding their Libraries collection. Max talked about his
unique situation in an all-boys school in handling GLBT books. He finds them scattered around the library all the time so he knows they are being read, but they don’t get taken out because kids are afraid of
outing themselves or just getting teased/bullied when others see their name on the Library card. They also discussed how digital access to comics has affected their circulation.
Comics and Undergrads. (53:33, 49mb)
Moderated by Lindsay Gibb, the panellists where Marta Chudolinska, Dr. Dale Jacobs and Dr. Barbara Postema. They started off talking about how they got involved in comics and how it relates to their current
academic work. They discussed what they like about comics, specific books they use in their teachings, how wordless comics are good for education, assignments they use comics to teach, how much they use
their library for their lessons, if they got any pushback to their work and how some of the theory between comics and picture books have a lot of overlap. Barbara mentioned that sometimes wordless comics get
called picture books. Marta talked about how the Library she works for tries to provide access to things that is out of reach for many people due to cost or scarcity, like artists editions books and comics
2014 Book Talk: Kids. (34:36, 31.6mb)
Andrew Woodrow-Butcher spoke about some upcoming kids books that would be good for libraries. Among the books he mentioned were the new Amulet Vol 6, Cleopatra in Space, Salem Hyde, Star Wars Jedi Academy,
the Hilda series, Zita the Spacegirl, Jellaby (now back in print), A Cat Named Tim, Cat Dad King of the Goblins, new Amelia Rules books, The Dumbest Idea Ever, a new Battling Boy book, Anna and Froga,
Courtney Crumrin Vol 5, a new Lego book, A Regular Show book, a bigger, full colour reprinting of Dragon Ball Z, the Marvel Digests, itty bitty Hellboy and Aw Yeah Comics, Samurai Jack, Power Lunch, the
Sonic the Hedgehog and Megaman crossover book, Mermin, Dinosaurs, The Kings Dragon, Hidden, Gajin, Maddy Kettle, new Adventure Time books and WWE collections of their comics. Within the panel was Kazu
Kibuishi talking about Amulet and it’s evolution. Kazu also revealed his serious health problems prior to doing the book where he got so sick he went into a coma. John Martz talked about a Cat Named Tim and
Jim Zub talked about Samurai Jack going from a mini-series to ongoing.
Note: I cut out about 4 minutes from the audio where they do a door prize giveaway.
In Conversation: Kate Beaton and Lynn Johnston. (1:11:11, 65.1mb)
This was moderated by Raina Telgemeier. Chris Butcher started the evening off with small talk about TCAF and how they try to be inclusive of all genders and show a diversity of people from different
backgrounds. He mentioned this year they are getting international press coverage and have artists from 20 different countries this year, which he’s really happy about. He made a sly Rob Ford joke about
being sorry he named it the Toronto Comics Art Festival. Chris also thanked their sponsors of the show as well. Rania asked a variety of questions and they started with how the two of them got started in
comics. Lynn talked about her and Jim Davis (of Garfield fame) starting out at the same time. Throughout the show she talked about her previous jobs working in animation and a medical artist. Kate talked
about starting her web comic at a fortunate time when there was a lot less competition for people’s attention on the internet. The two talked about their role models and particularly female role models.
Kate said Lynn was one for her. Raina mentioned that Lynn was the first female and Canadian winner of the Reuben Award and asked her what that was like. Lynn said it was very stressful because at the time
some people wanted Jim Davis to win (and some didn’t) and she felt she was too young and hadn’t really done anything yet to deserve the award at the time. In particular she mentioned a lot of MAD artists
(like Mort Drucker) who hadn’t won the award yet and should have gotten it before her. She also told a funny story about how she handled other cartoonists when she was president of the Cartoonists Society.
The two talked about criticism from men. Family was a topic with how far you go, if they regret putting something out there and if they felt later that they overshared information. They talked about how fans
shared personal stories with them. This lead into Lynn talking about the outing of a gay character in For Better Or For Worse and the reaction she got from readers and newspapers. She thinks it was the best
story she did and the one she’s the most proud of. They talked about their efforts to help out young artists. Lynn mentioned how when she has something personally bad happen to her she’s thinks it will be
turned into a great story. Rania asked if they still love comics as much now as they did when starting out. Kate said she still does. Lynn talked about how her father loved the comics and comedy in general
and would read comics to her, point out the details in them, and would run films back and forth to show how it was all choreographed. Lynn also revealed she loves comedians and wanted to be one. Rania asked
what keeps them coming back to the drawing board. She also asked each of them what she is doing now. They also took some questions from the audience. Lynn said she really enjoyed working on the animated
For Better Or For Worse cartoon, said it was great working with all those people doing different things (music, artists, sound effects, etc..). She also revealed from working on the cartoon she drew her
strip with more detail as the animators needed detailed everything about her strip in order to make the cartoon. Kate talked about her growing up in small town and being like the only artist there.
Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips Spotlight. (55:48, 51mb)
Heidi MacDonald moderated this panel. They started off with how the two ended up working together and in particular how Sleeper came about. Ed was very outspoken during the panel, saying he wished he had retained ownership of it. Sean talked about his art and where digital is used to create it. The two spoke about their process of working together today. They revealed they hadn’t seen each other in person in 5 years, but e-mailed each other daily. Ed said that he signed on to work with Marvel to publish through their Icon imprint. He also said the imprint was started for Bendis but they brought on David Mack’s book so it didn’t appear that way. He revealed that he got just got the rights back to Criminal a week ago and will be moving the series over to Image. He said that Icon was a imprint that was used as a favour to people who did their superhero books and didn’t want his career to be at the mercy of favours from other people. He also revealed that Dan Buckley had to justify Icon to the shareholders as Marvel doesn’t make much money from it. Ed said for a while he was paying creators out of pocket for a while on Criminal. Regarding his writing, Ed likes adding subtext in his stories so people get a lot out of it and it’s not a quick read. He wants people to get something new out of the story when it gets re-read. Ed expressed appreciation for something Sean does that he sees no other penciler do is actually write in where the lettering would go to ensure that there is room there for the word balloon. So many other artists don’t do that, which leaves not enough room for the dialogue and that leads to production issues. They also went over how Sean doesn’t do splash pages very often. Ed brought up the “Archie” story within Criminal and what he was reacting too when he wrote it. He revealed he’s been talking to Joe Hill about horror and wants to delve into that. Ed discussed the reason he does crime stories because when he was on the wrong side of the law in his youth, involved in shoplifting, doing and selling drugs to
other kids in his school and he likes the stories about the desperation of committing a crime and the twisted version of the American Dream. Ed revealed there is a new book coming about the 1940s+ Hollywood
with blacklists, the studio system and other issues. He said he had family that was working in Hollywood at the time and he wants to incorporate that information into the book.
Michael DeForge and Friends. (55:15, 50.5mb)
On the panel were Jillian Tamaki, Annie Koyama, Patrick Kyle, Michael DeForge and Ryan Sands. The creators (everybody but Annie) are involved in Youth
in Decline. They revealed there is a Lose collection coming about that collects issues #2 to #5. Michael said #1 does not fit in with the rest of the stories so he’s not putting it into this
book. The group talked about how and what they choose to put online vs. what’s for print. They talked about collaborating with others and how they handle differences of opinion. Doing anthologies and their
growing popularity, Jillian also asked questions to Michael and kind of co-moderated the panel. Annie revealed she has seen creators online that she was interested in publishing, but there was no contact info
for the creator so she moved on. Michael was credited as being a good writer by Jillian and wondered if the change in his drawing style has affected how he writes stories. They talked about a new book that
is coming out, took questions from the audience, and talked quite a bit about the need for validation among their peers. They also talked about needing a trusted another set of eyes to look at their work and
give feedback prior to publication.
Trina Robbins Spotlight. (57:44, 52.8mb)
During this panel Trina went though some parts of Pretty in Ink, her final book about female comic artists. She went through some of the earliest comic artists, starting with the first comic strip drawn by a
female and ending with the Women Comix anthology and a photo of the 40th reunion of the Women Comix anthology. After that Johanna Draper Carlson interviewed her about why she did the new book. She had
revealed she was very unhappy with her last book due to all the typos. She was really unhappy with her editor on that book and was not shy in saying so. Gary Groth of Fantagraphics asked her to do
this book and she had a lot of new information and wanted to correct some bad information in her previous books. She said Gary worked with her to make sure there wasn’t a single typo in this book. The
audience also asked questions and she revealed that she would love to write Wonder Woman but DC would never hire her. She also felt that DC/Marvel female editors did not support female creators, but would
say they did in order to sell that there was no sexism in comics – in order to keep their jobs.
History/Nonfiction Comics. (58:33, 53.6mb)
This panel was moderated by Brigid Alverson. On the panel was Nick Bertozzi, Nick Abadzis, Diana Tamblyn, Nate Powell, Meags Fitzgerald and Tyrell Cannon. The group talked about why they choose to do
Nonfiction works, how doing it helps them as creators, how they deal with the facts getting in the way of telling a good story, the visual research and how important it is, if the subject is still alive and
do they reach out to them, if they worry about their audience reaction to the book, how they deal with direct quotes when it doesn’t work with the script.
Ed Brubaker: Writing Comics Noir. (55:22, 50.6mb)
Andrew Murray and Adam Hines from Guys with Pencils podcast moderated the panel. Ed talked about how he got involved with Noir as a child. He also talked
about his past, saying one story from Lowlife was actually autobiography. He revealed that his parents worked in the Navy and when he was young he lived in Guantanamo Bay for a couple of years. He explained
what Noir means to him and if he thought Noir characters had to be bad people. He discussed what TV shows he likes (or liked), mentioning the Sopranos and a Canadian show called Intelligence that he said was
cancelled because of politics, specifically citing Prime Minister Stephen Harper as being the reason. Ed said his uncle was a CIA operative that was outed in the 70s (presumably in Inside the Company:
CIA Diary book). The Captain America: The Winter Soldier movie came up and he said what it was like being an extra on it and being happy it was a good film. Ed mentioned that he spends half his time writing
TVs and movie screenplays, saying he wrote a remake of Maniac Cop. Regarding Criminal, they are now hiring cast for it. There were questions from the audience and he told us who inspires him today to be a
Stuart Immonen and Sean Phillips in Conversation. (1:01:10, 56.0mb)
While the two talked there was a slide show of art going on in the background which sometimes came up in the conversation. They started off with some very early work and how they got published. Sean talked
about inking, painting covers, photo-referencing & design. Stuart talked about using 3D models; both said they looked at other peoples sketchbooks to keep with what younger artists are doing. They discussed
the tools they used to make art with, they showed some work outside of comics that Sean did and got into page/panel design. This brought out questions from Ed Brubaker who was in the audience,
asking about the grid design used in their books (which got some laughs from the audience). Stuart talked about doing digital comics in that the entire thing was designed to be read on a tablet or phone,
and the amount of re-thinking about the effects of reading comics this way that it took, both in terms of the size of the screen and the non-traditional gutter space. There were other creators in the audience
that also began talking about contributing to digital comics (the panel became a round table discussion for a couple of minutes), Sean talked about a job he had to turn down, Stuart talked about a small
Pirates of the Caribbean story that he did in a completely different style and how it lead to the work he did on Nextwave.
The Doug Wright Awards 2014 (May 10) – 26 Photos
The Doug Wright Awards 2014. (1:20:18, 73.5mb)
The ceremony went as follows:
Introduction of the nominee’s and sponsor appreciation by Brad Mackay.
Doug Wright’s youngest son Ken Wright spoke on behalf of the family.
Opening monologue by Scott Thompson.
Pigskin Peters Hat/Award: Emily Carroll for Out of Skin.
Jeet Heer explains why the jury chose Carol’s work.
Don McKellar (minus 1 tooth) read the nominee’s for the Spotlight Award.
Spotlight Award (AKA “The Nipper”): Steven Gilbert for The Journal of the Main Street Secret Lodge.
Nick Maandag explains why the Jury picked Gilbert’s book.
Michael Hirsh gave his history in recovering and preserving the archives of the Canadian Whites.
Induction of all 200+ creators of the Canadian Whites into the Giants of the North Hall of Fame.
The last two surviving cartoonists Gerry Lazare and Jack Tramblay were there and gave their acceptance speech. They were followed by Adrian Dingles youngest son Christpher.
Best Book: Paul Joins the Scouts, Michel Rabagliati (Conundrum Press).
Closing by Brad Mackay.
Then Hope Nichols and Rachel Riley talk about the just published Nelvana of the North (created by Adrian Dingle) Collection.
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.