The Toronto Comic Arts Festival made a huge announcement on Monday. Acclaimed Japanese manga creator and international horror sensation Junji Ito will be a featured guest at the show this May. This marks his first-ever appearance at TCAF. To celebrate, Ito is the festival’s official poster artist for 2019. Plus, he will debut the new horror story collection Smashed, to be published in April by VIZ Media.

“Junji Ito is a truly amazing creator, and we’re so proud to welcome him to Canada,” said TCAF Artistic Director Christopher Butcher in a statement. “Ito-sensei is a creator that we’d been hoping to feature at the Festival for more than a decade; he’s a personal favourite manga-ka of mine and of so many fans and comic creators. We’re so happy that he could find some time in his busy creative schedule to attend the Festival this year.”

Butcher continued, “Ito-sensei’s work crosses so many traditional comics boundaries, and he has such a wide and enthusiastic audience for his work.”

He also noted the breadth of Ito’s fanbase: “Whether it’s horror fans, comics fans, manga fans, or anime fans, there are so many people that count Ito among their favourite creators in the world, thanks to the omnipresence of his work across popular media including manga, film, and anime.  I know that meeting Ito-sensei will be a treasured memory for many visitors to TCAF.”

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According to a press release, Ito will participate in an on-stage interview, live-drawing and special, ticketed autograph sessions. Those interested in ticketed events are encouraged to follow TCAF on social media for details on how to attend; as of Monday, more information is TBA.

Additionally, the full range of Ito’s in-print manga will be available for purchase.

The 2019 Toronto Comic Arts Festival takes place Saturday, May 11 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, May 12, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St., Toronto, Canada. Attendance is free to all non-ticketed events. For more info, check out the Toronto Comics website.

Junji Ito's TCAF 2019 poster