Well, here’s the show we REALLY wish we could attend….alas, we’re still scared to travel after the events of the last few weeks. The biannual TORONTO COMIC ARTS FESTIVAL takes place this weekend, and it sound like all the cool people will be there. We’ll be updating with party poop and individual plans, but for now, here’s the PR:

This is it! The comics and graphic novel event of the year is THIS WEEKEND as the Toronto Comic Arts Festival takes over Victoria College & Burwash Quad at The University of Toronto, Saturday Saturday August 18 and Sunday August 19, in Toronto will see the third gathering of international independent cartoonists, comic artists and graphic novelists under the TCAF banner, and it’s the biggest and best yet!

The event is free to attend, and takes place 10am-7pm Saturday, and 10am-6pm Sunday.

Featuring a diverse array of Canadian cartoonists, in addition to artists and graphic novelists from the United States and Europe, The Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) will showcase the talents of its guests with an ambitious programme of exhibitions, lectures, workshops, discussion panels and interactive readings. On Friday night, the on-stage reunion of longtime friends and graphic novelists Chester Brown, Seth, and Joe Matt—the latter of whom left for Los Angeles a few year ago to make it big in Hollywood—will kick off the whole event. Throughout the weekend, other guests include acclaimed international author and speaking guest Paul Gravett, who literally wrote the book on Japanese comics, Manga: 60 Years of Japanese Comics; Society of Illustrators 2006 Gold Medal winner James Jean, and fan favourite creator of Milk & Cheese Evan Dorkin, in his first ever Canadian appearance.

TCAF 2007 has expanded to fill the entire Old Victoria College building and adjacent Burwash Quad on the University of Toronto Campus, just across the street from the recently-revitalised ROM and steps from Museum subway station. Featuring over 15,000 square feet of festival space, more than 200 cartoonists, and 2 jam-packed days of programming and events, including free readings and activities in the OwlKids tent, TCAF 2007 will redefine comics events in the city of Toronto.

TCAF was founded in 2003 in response to the overwhelmingly positive feedback to interaction between the creative community and the public witnessed at similar festivals around the world. TCAF’s innovative format is modeled on grass roots comics festivals popular in New York, San Francisco, and across Europe. Attending Canadian cartoonists like Chester Brown, Svetlana Chmakova, Darwyn Cooke, Bryan Lee O’Malley and Seth are recognized as among the best in the world, particularly in the fields of manga and alternative comics, and Canada is also home to eminent English-language comics publisher Drawn & Quarterly of Montreal. TCAF is Canada’s opportunity to not only promote and celebrate homegrown artistic talent, but also to broaden its scope and showcase creators from the US and abroad, many in Toronto for the first time. This prestigious gathering of artists will attract an international and national audience.


The Toronto Comic Arts Festival is proud to welcome the following guests of honour (please check www.torontocomics.com often, as new guests are regularly being added to the line-up):

Paul Gravett: Paul Gravett is a London-based freelance journalist, curator, lecturer, writer and broadcaster, who has worked in comics publishing and promotion for over twenty years. His extensive knowledge of comics and graphic novels is reflected in his two books, GRAPHIC NOVELS: STORIES TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE and MANGA: 60 YEARS OF JAPANESE COMICS. The former is a rich, layered examination of contemporary graphic novels; a wonderful entry point for newcomers to the medium and a wonderful guide to the breadth of material available for even the most advanced reader. Meanwhile, his book on Manga has quickly become the book of note on an iteration of the comics medium that is gripping the world. Paul Gravett will be speaking on manga on Saturday at 1PM in the Victoria College Chapel.

Chester Brown: Chester Brown’s graphic biography of historical Canadian anti-hero Louis Riel in the graphic novel LOUIS RIEL has drawn critical acclaim from the international comics press as well as closer to home in publications like The Globe and Mail and Maclean’s. Brown’s ED THE HAPPY CLOWN [currently in feature development by Canadian filmmaker Bruce MacDonald] was recently re-released by publisher Drawn & Quarterly, and Brown is hard at work on his new autobiographical graphic novel due in 2008. Chester Brown was born in Chateauguay, Quebec, and now lives in Toronto, Canada.

Darwyn Cooke: Internationally acclaimed storyboard artist for numerous Warner Brothers animation projects (including BATMAN ADVENTURES and SUPERMAN ADVENTURES) Cooke broke new ground with his illustration-influenced graphic novels SELINA’S BIG SCORE (a noir crime-drama featuring a modern-day Catwoman) and DC: THE NEW FRONTIER (a McCarthy-era epic featuring the DC Comics/Warner Brothers superheroes). 2008 will see the release of an animated feature film based on Cooke’s DC: THE NEW FRONTIER from Warner Brothers animation. Darwyn Cooke is also the artist behind the 2007 Toronto Comic Arts Festival poster, featuring a truly festive crowd celebrating with comic books.

Evan Dorkin: The notorious creator of MILK & CHEESE and DORK will be joining the Toronto Comic Arts Festival for his first-ever comics event in Toronto! After starting at Marvel Comics, Dorkin made his name on hip, contemporary looks at youth in popular culture through his series HECTIC PLANET and his short humour strips in anthologies including INSTANT PIANO. Currently, Dorkin’s work can be seen in annual issues of DORK and in NICKELODEON MAGAZINE, MAD MAGAZINE, and on the cover of the new Larry Doyle novel “I Love You Beth Cooper”.

James Jean: Currently the cover illustrator for the best-selling graphic novel series FABLES, James Jean is a graduate of the School Of Visual Arts, New York. He has received an impressive number of comics and illustration awards including Eisner Awards, the Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators of LA, American Illustration, and has appeared in The New York Times, SPIN and Playboy magazine. James was born in Taiwan, raised in New Jersey, and educated in New York, where his love of comics inspired a career in illustration and dreams of painting.

James Jean is also the artist who created the limited edition print celebrating the 20th Anniversary of TCAF sponsor The Beguiling Books & Art.

Joe Matt: For over ten years Joe Matt has been notorious in cult circles for the embarrassing frankness with which he reveals his distressing habits and predilections. His most recent graphic novel, SPENT, took over 8 years to complete. Matt was born in Philadelphia in 1963. By his own account (collected in the graphic novel Fair Weather in 2002) he was a spoiled, selfish, and unpleasant child with a bedwetting problem, who also happened to be obsessed with collecting comics.

Paul Pope: In America, he’s been called the “comics destroyer;” in France, he’s been called the “Jim Morrison of comics” and “comics’ Petit Prince.” One of a handful of young cartoonists consistently gaining critical praise and media attention, Pope has been featured in Canada on MuchMusic and Space channel, among others, and his work has appeared in print outlets like Spin, Entertainment Weekly, Jalouse, V Magazine and The Village Voice. He is also the only American cartoonist to have worked for Japan’s largest manga publisher (Kodansha). His recent works have included stints on popular comics icons in BATMAN YEAR 100 and THE FANTASTIC FOUR, and 2007 will see the releasing of his career-retrospective art collection PULP HOPE, debuting in time for TCAF.

Seth: Chief among the Canadian contingent will be internationally-acclaimed cartoonist Seth from Guelph, Ontario. With his recent graphic novels CLYDE FANS and WIMBLEDON GREEN drawing popular and critical acclaim, Seth has been hard at work on a number of new projects including GEORGE SPROTT (1894-1975), a graphic novella which recently finished its serialization in The New York Times. In addition to his graphic novel work, Seth is a busy book designer and illustrator whose work regularly appears in The New Yorker and The Wall Street Journal.


– TCAF kicks off Friday Night with JOE MATT RETURNS TO TORONTO and the presentation of the 2007 DOUG WRIGHT AWARDS for excellence in Canadian Cartooning. Both events are part of an evening of programming and Innis College Town Hall, beginning at 6:30pm and running through 9:00, with a cocktail party to follow. For more information, please head to: http://torontocomics.com/tcaf/events.html#kk.

– The OWLKIDS Family Tent: In Burwash Quad TCAF Sponsor OWLKIDS is presenting a large tented area full of family-friendly activities. Meet cartoonists from OWL and CHICKADEE magazines, attend kid-oriented readings and comics presentations, get sketches from artists, and kids can create their own comics and superhero masks! Graphic Novelists will include writer J. Torres of TEEN TITANS! (based on the cartoon airing on YTV), author of the BABYSITTER’S CLUB graphic novels Raina Telgemeier, and Dave Roman, editor of Nickelodeon’s AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER magazine special!

– Scott Chantler, artist on the comics adaptation of Stephen Colbert’ [THE COLBERT REPORT] ‘novel’ TEK JANSEN IN ALPHA SQUAD SEVEN.

– Noted international manga creators and experts including Svetlana Chmakova (DRAMACON), Becky Cloonan (EAST COAST RISING), and Jason Thompson (author of MANGA: THE COMPLETE GUIDE).

– Some of the leaders in the new field of Digital Comics and Webcomics, including Ryan North (DINOSAUR COMICS), Rich Stevens (DIESEL SWEETIES), Jeffrey Rowland (Wigu), Chris Hastings (DR. MCNINJA), Joey Comeau (A SOFTER WORLD), and Roxanne Bielskis (staff cartoonist, Torontoist.com).

– The official TCAF Saturday Night Party at Sneaky Dee’s, featuring multi-disciplinary artists and illustrators showcasing their musical talents in various bands and presentations, including Bryan Lee O’Malley (SCOTT PILGRIM) and Willow Dawson (VIOLET MIRANDA: GIRL PIRATE)

For more information on all guests and a regularly updated listing of attending cartoonists, please visit: http://www.torontocomics.com/tcaf/guests.html.


  1. That looks like a great lineup. Considering the past weekend’s WizardWorld was a dud (each year, the place looks more and more like a crappy flea market), I think I’m going to have to start attending conventions where there are people I want to see instead of those that just happen to be close by.

  2. Sounds Incredible! I’m curious about their kids programming… It seems that the comics industry has been trying to distant itself from the “comics are for kids” stigma. Are they gonna have face painting?!

  3. I wanted to go to this, but business took me out of town last week and now I can’t get away.

    Oh well, Baltimore and SPX are soon enough.

  4. At the Last TCAF (outdoors in 2005) they had a tent for all ages/kids comics, the highlight being Jeff Smith and Bone. A good number of kids were there and did listen to Jeff Smith presentation about Bone and Comics in general.

  5. Regarding kids’ programming: I think part of TCAF’s mandate is to promote that comics are for *everyone* which is why the event is free and takes place in the heart of Toronto, away from a convention centre. I was a volunteer at the 2005 event and spent a lot of time answering visitors’ questions and many of them remarked that they hadn’t really read comics since they were a kid themselves but were walking by and thought they’d check it out. Many of them left with new books in their hands. It was a great event. I wish that I was going this year. I’m missing Chip Zdarsky moderating an Evan Dorkin/Sarah Dyer panel! Damnit!

  6. Just a quick note that if CHip Zdarsky is moderating the Evan Dorkin/Sarah Dyer panel I ain’t going.