TCAF 2018 in Review

It’s Monday, and I’m lazing around waiting to get ready for my flight home. TCAF 2018, the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, is in the rearview mirror, and as always, it was a fabulous time.

I wanted to capture a few memories and moments. Saturday morning, I was focused on getting the must-dos done, picking up the books I wanted to be sure not to miss. Here’s the traditional picture of what I got over the weekend, laid out on the bed. (As I tweeted, sorry it’s not better lit — I didn’t remember to do this until 10:30 at night.) A few are preview copies of items that will be in stores over the summer, and I hope to do reviews of most of them.

Books I got at TCAF 2018

I went to three programming events. The one I moderated, a spotlight on Georgia Webber and Hartley Lin, was one of the best I’ve had the pleasure to be part of.

Georgia Webber and Hartley Lin at TCAF 2018

Unfortunately, it was more lightly attended than I hoped. It was across the street from the library, in a half-empty mall, and the room itself was tricky to find, without a lot of signage. The space was a store slot that hadn’t been built out, so it had a punk warehouse kind of vibe. (And the screen fell off the wall about 15 minutes before we were done, a memorable moment. You can see why in the picture — it was held up by duct tape.) Any time you do something in a location for the first time, there are always things to work out.

The discussion was fabulous, though, with lots of insight into the creative process. The two artists’ books were so different — a fictional, tightly drawn story about a law clerk and an emotional, expressively illustrated graphic memoir about a medical condition — that it was fun to hear them interact, particularly when there were moments of similarity.

The second floor of that building was set up as “Zineland Terrace”, which I forgot to check out. The show uses several locations in order to keep the library from getting overcrowded, but it can be difficult to keep up with them all. Every time I turned around, there was another room of tables and artists to visit. Each time felt like a wonderful discovery.

The other two panels were first, a workshop-like discussion on “How to Launch a Comic Book Club”. I’m part of a club back in Madison, so I enjoyed picking up some tips and hearing how another club does it. The second was “Celebrating 10 Years of Toon Books”, with some amazing artists. I’ll be writing about both later this week, and I’ll link those posts here when they’re available.

Toon Anniversary panel at TCAF 2018

Jaime Hernandez, Kevin McCloskey, Françoise Mouly, Sergio García Sánchez, Ricardo “Liniers” Siri, and Brigid Alverson at the Toon Books 10th anniversary panel

There were two impressive promo items I wanted to mention. The first was a pack of tissues to promote Abby Denson’s Cool Tokyo Guide (a sequel to her previous Cool Japan Guide). I’d seen tissue giveaways in plenty of manga titles, but I’ve never seen one before for a book, and it’s a perfect choice for that title. The second was a matchbook for Mean Girls Club: Pink Dawn, as shown here by Hannah Moushabeck at Nobrow. That stack of books was gone by the end of the day.

Hannah Moushabeck at Nobrow at TCAF 2018

I love going to shows like this to find new items to read. Two discoveries I’m looking forward to checking out are the following:

Emma Vieceli and Breaks at TCAF 2018

Breaks, a collection of the webcomic by Emma Vieceli and Malin Ryden about teen boys falling in love and solving a mystery. (I think. I haven’t read it yet.)

Ben Rankel and Frank at TCAF 2018

Frank, a mystery set during “one of Canada’s deadliest natural disasters” by Ben Rankel, his debut graphic novel.

For more coverage of the show, I was also part of Heidi MacDonald’s “Women in a Hotel Room” podcast. She, Brigid, and Deb Aoki did the first episode before I arrived, and the longest is the second episode, where we talk about the pre-show programming (Word Balloon Academy, a track of topics for professionals, which is amazing) and what we’re looking forward to doing. The third episode recaps how our Saturday went.

Summing up, the Toronto Comic Arts Festival is one of the premier North American shows for those interested in the full gamut of the comic medium. It’s one of my must-sees every year. Plus, the food in Toronto is terrific. I had so many great meals with friends old and new. And now, time to figure out if I can get my suitcase to close before I’m off to the airport!

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