TCAF 2011

A while back I decided that I should start going to a few other conventions besides SPACE.  So this year I added MSU Comics Forum to my list and I think next year I’m going to try and add the Toronto Comics Arts Festival as well.

When I first decided to go, I thought it was going to be a lot like SPACE (especially since it’s free to attend).  That is, I thought it was going to be a bunch of people from the area getting together to trade books among themselves; if they happened to sell something, then it’s a good weekend.  I’m not putting down that mentality; there’s a place for it and an audience for it and I think SPACE perfectly describes and encompasses that particular mindset.  TCAF is different.

LOADS of people. Click for a closer view.

TCAF is a convention specifically designed for readers of independent comics to find creators of independent comics.  Just about every exhibitor at TCAF has had a book in comic shops, but not all of their work has been in comic shops.  Most of the exhibitors I talked to had minicomics available along with original art along with prints along with their published (and sometimes unpublished) work.  Most of them were there because they love making comics and they want other people to see that love.

It sounds almost like the reason lame people give for having kids (“we just want to share the love that we have for each other with someone else”).

"Y'see, Thor represents God and Hulk represents science. Since Hulk is stronger, Marvel is saying science is better than religion. Now I know what you're gonna say, that Hulk is stupid, so let me just say..."

The public was lined up around the block to see that love.  I’ve never seen anything like it.  These were regular-looking people talking about comic art in a serious way.  They weren’t the normal fare of costuming fanboys and/or KevinSmith wannabees discussing the merits of the God vs. Science in another Thor vs. Hulk anthology.  They were talking about how certain artistic styles add to a story while others distract; they were talking about why publishing as a whole seems to be slipping away while the artistic breadth of the medium seems to be expanding exponentially.  They were talking about things that I care about.  The guy who went with me was sad because he thought this would be a typical comic convention full of nerds to mock (he wore a Superfriends t-shirt to boot); he was disappointed.

Plus, TCAF is inToronto(the world’s only tolerable city).  And it’s in the Toronto Reference Library (the prettiest library I’ve ever seen).  And it’s in May (the only month guaranteed to be not hot / not cold).


6 Responses

  1. Is the Thor/Hulk business satirical, or did someone actually engage in that discussion?

    • That’s a discussion I’ve overheard more than once.
      The thing that gets me about it is that the participants are trying to be “high-brow” by talking about what Hulk and Thor are symbolizing. It’s like talking about porn and saying, “See, Peter North isn’t really Peter North. It’s the republican party desecrating the constitution.”

      • I imagine that I am a comics writer, and that I want to communicate my belief that science is superior to religion.

        “What I shall do,” I say to myself, “is create a character that is a scientist who can transform into a powerful monster. Over the course of thousands of issues various comic series, this scientist shall, a handful of times, fight another character that is a god. Their fights shall generally be inconclusive victories or end in truces. Thus shall my message be spread upon the face of the Earth.”

  2. Hey, Andre Hussie, of MSPaint Adventures fame, was there as well. Did you guys meet? I’m going to imagine an engrossing, life-changing interaction, on par with that between Picasso and Einstein.

    • No, I didn’t see him there. But his stuff reminds me of some “Steel Fro” adventures I did on my friend’s Windows 3.1 desktop.

  3. […] Empire blew up.  As a matter of fact, one of the reasons I went to the Toronto Comic Arts Festival a few years ago was because he was there.  After reading Swallow Me Whole (where the theme was a refreshing […]

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