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.
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talked to had minicomics available along with original art along with prints along with their published (and sometimes unpublished) work.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”).
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).
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