This past weekend was the 11th Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF)! Held for free at the Toronto Reference Library (with some off-site events), it’s a veritable cornucopia of incredible talent. In addition to artists and publishers having stalls in the Reference Library, there’s also a buttload of workshops, panels & events to attend if you feel so inclined. I always try to get to some of the events each year just to hear people talk about the awesome stuff they create.
Opening night was “Lynn Johnston and Kate Beaton, In Conversation”, a discussion moderated by Raina Telgemeier. Lynn Johnson created For Better or For Worse – I don’t know if this was ever syndicated in Australia, because I don’t recall reading it growing up. It was interesting to hear Lynn speak about her work, being in newspapers, and of her place in the industry when it was far more male-dominated than now, and the way she just kinda trucked through it dealing with it in a kind of “give as good as you get” mentality. This was in contrast to Kate Beaton’s career now, which is very internet-centric, instant gratification, and not without issues surrounding sexism being a female creator. I really enjoyed hearing the both of them talk about their creative process, their influences, and in particular what from their own lives influences their comics (be it in a roundabout way for Johnson, or a direct autobio way for Beaton). A fantastic and entertaining way to spend an evening listening to two fantastic Canadian creators!
Saturday morning I decided to hit up some panels, as most of the rest of the day’s lineup didn’t interest me so much. First thing was a ‘draw-off’ between comic artists Jeremy Sorese (Little Heart), Liz Prince (Alone Forever), Britt Wilson (The Greatest Book On Earth), Joey Weiser (Mermin), plus two audience volunteers. Pictionary-style, one member of a team drew from a prompt (some kind of movie genre) and their team had to guess what it was. There was a lot of awesome creativity on show considering the 3-minute sketching limit! It’s really fun to watch people sketch on the fly like this. Here’s Britt Wilson & Liz Prince during their rounds (road trip and tearjerker were their prompts):
Next panel (in the same room which became inexplicably hot) was “What Do Women Want? Writing Comics for a Female Audience” – moderated by Chromatic Press’ Editor Lianne Sentar, and with creators Laura Lee Gulledge (Page by Paige), Kate Leth (Adventure Time), Joan Reilly (The Big Feminist BUT), and Noelle Stevenson (LumberJanes) in the spotlight. This panel was full to bursting with amazing ladies from the industry with excellent perspectives. I liked a lot of the input the moderator Lianne had to the conversation, but unfortunately her moderation wasn’t too structured – the discussion flowed naturally, but much of what could have been discussed was covered only briefly or not at all. That’s not to say that the discussion wasn’t interesting, however! Lots of talk about male versus female gaze, females as consumers and a demographic, the portrayal of women characters in comics, and the like. Kate Leth is so smart, and dang articulate and knowledgeable, about this stuff!
There was a bit of discussion towards the end about what drove the people on the panel to create the titles they have, and it was great to hear the varied perspectives, because that means that there’s an enriched diversity of comics out there for female-identified audiences (especially younger ones!). I liked what Noelle Stevenson had to say about content – basically, not to shy away from things that have been typically portrayed as masculine (violence, for instance), but include those as well as more emotive stuff; this came up in a discussion of characters as well, that we need more female characters of all persuasions to balance out the inequity currently in comics. I’m really glad I sat in on this panel – while I haven’t done a great job at recapping it, there was a lot of inspiring stuff being discussed. It made me go in search of The Big Feminist BUT, too! I already read the Adventure Time and Lumberjanes titles & love them to bits. The panelists:
After the panels, I went into the Reference Library to browse. It was overwhelmingly crowded. And, I know how busy it gets, but it was a big mass of people to walk through, gosh… Downstairs it was really tough to get close to a lot of tables (like, three people deep). Luckily in the upstairs section there was a capacity limit, so once you lined up to get into that room it was much more manageable to browse.
Despite the hard work of browsing, I ended up picking up some totally rad stuff, primarily from female creators. I can’t wait to dig into the books! I had a quick flip through the Pugs Guide to Etiquette already and have read Cat People and I LOVE THEM. PS. I also flipped out when I realized the creator of Perry Bible Fellowship was there and had this strip (Unicorn Power) for sale, which is Adam’s most favourite. He even has the shirt.
In the evening was a screening of the Killing, prefaced by a discussion between Ed Brubaker (Criminal, Fatale) and Darwyn Cooke (Parker, Selina’s Big Score), hosted by guest interviewer Cameron Ashley (Crime Factor). They (mostly) discussed the noir genre & their interest in it, especially from a professional standpoint. They went off on tangents an awful lot, but at least it was entertaining. And the movie was really good! A little dated, but an excellent heist movie, and tense. I’d have never guessed it was a Kubrick.
I had to get on with weekend-y stuff on Sunday mostly, but I did meet up with my sweetie to sit in on the Adventure Time panel at the end of the day. Michael DeForge, Becky Driesdadt, Kate Leth, Jesse Moynihan, and Ryan North were all on the panel, a mix of folks who work on the comics and on the show, moderated by Frank Gibson. First of all they had a Pictionary-style draw-off:
Then it was time for audience questions. The perspective between the comics and show folks was an interesting one, especially when talking about creative control, and how much stories are planned out / tie into the other formats. What a lovely bunch of folks, and a nice way to end the festival!
See you again next year, TCAF – may I have more savings to spend, and more energy to navigate crowds/go to all the panels!
- Tomorrow is Star Wars day. Enjoy these wonderful geometric and abstract Star Wars portraits!
- And while we’re at it, who wants to send me this hoodie? Han and Chewie in one! Yesss.
- Finding inspiration in negative space makes for good art. See?
- Seals love belly rubs – you’ve always guessed it, right? RIGHT? Well, now you can see it in action. (From 0:35 on)
- A pen that 3D prints as you write with it in thin air? No way. This is the future. Check it out!
- Remember that kid playing Space Invaders on the side of a building? Now someone’s done it with Tetris!
- I’m pretty sure these would cripple me, but I do love the look of them!
- This is a genius re-imagining of the houses from the Game of Thrones series as modern brands. All of them are wonderful, but this is the most golden of all:
- How would you like to kick back to a smooth jazz cover of the Game of Thrones theme? Yep.
- Someone went through a lot of painstaking photoshopping to create these images of classic album covers superimposed over real life locations. That is some very specific stuff. One of my personal favourites is..
- Giant machinery playing jenga – no, you didn’t think you needed to see it. But it is thoroughly enjoyable.
- I’m looking for work right now, and I’m beginning to think I need to something creative to sell my Administrative Superstar package just like this amazing Lego Resume! It stands out from the crowd, no lie.
I want you to look closely at this GIF and notice the amazingness going on. A little kid is running back and forth playing Space Invaders. Imagine fitness classes that incorporated this for cardio. Hell yeah.
A 3 year old decided to get her hair cut and donate it to the Canadian Cancer Society. This kid is so much better than so many of us grown-ups.
I’m feeling a bit badly drawn dolphin today. You?
Back in 2004 these people attempted a world record for the largest game of Carcassonne ever. MADNESS. LOOK AT IT. Over 5000 tiles. I am having shivers imagining the breakdown of that once they were done.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a wonderfully wacky kind of guy. The kind of guy that recreates the ‘David After Dentist’ YouTube video perfectly. Amaze.
How can I somehow adopt this guy as my Dad for long enough that he’ll paint a badass Doctor Who/Adventure Time mashup mural in MY room? His art site is here.
The feminism I believe in says “Hey girl – have the whole pie.” Yep. Read the first panel below, and find the rest here.
This time lapse of Aurora Borealis is just stunning. I want to see the lights so bad! Oh man.
This ‘Femme Fatale Ring Gun‘ is pretty badass, right? I gotta hand it to whoever dreamt this up in the 1870s.
This Seinfeld parody in a Mario theme is surprisingly chuckle-worthy! I think they hit the tone so well, and I love their Mario-fied Seinfeld theme song.
Placeholder text gone wrong. Oops.. I guess you shouldn’t trust people to notice the big mistakes, eh? There are many more than this example, click through to see & laugh!
Let’s end on the adorable: tiny, adventurous Lego photographer. Perfection.
I didn’t keep up as well with this these last couple of weeks! I hope you enjoy and it’s a nice mid-week pickup.
- There seems to be a rash of re-imaginings of Disney princesses/princes lately – but this one is really worth sharing. It’s so spot-on! Disney Princesses as Game of Thrones characters – detailed here. (Also nice there are this many female characters to do!)
- I never thought a climbing plant could do this.. wild. (via Reddit)
- For a little inspiration, this young lady speaks about the problems of gendered toys for kids, and how she petitioned Hasbro to change the easy-bake oven! She speaks to the idea that if you really want to, you can make a change. It’s a great message to hear someone speak on so passionately.
- This is such a cool guide to drawing characters from Adventure Time! They make it look so easy..
- Speaking of Adventure Time, the game Card Wars is now available, from Cryptozooic! I’m not sure it’ll be any good, but it sure looks nice. (I think the iOS version reflects the wackiness of how it’s portrayed in the show, though. I’m not sure that version is any good either, but SHINY.)
- Watch & be surprised at the voices behind some of these cartoon characters – LeVar Burton was in Captain Planet! (Man, I wish I Know That Voice was available to watch here!)
- Look at these beautiful landscape alphabet illustrations! Gorgeous. (Collected at the British Museum)
- I’m an introvert, so this short ‘Debunking Myths About Introverts‘ video rings so many bells for me. Watch and learn! You may be surprised to learn something about introverts & understand them better.
- A recent ‘Great Showdown’ of the LEGO movie. I love it! Have you seen the movie? It’s wonderful!!
- These images from the NYC subway from 1981 are such a beautiful visual time capsule. I can’t imagine riding on a subway system so gritty! It’s much better there now.
- I will leave you with a couple of lighthearted things to go into your day/evening – first, these cheeky, sneaky border collies sneaking up on their dog friends. Hee.
- Last of all, these heartwarming images of animals of 60 different species all being besties at a refuge in Arkansas. Heart MELTING.
This time of year always brings out the fun stuff in my RSS feeds. Thematic stuff, pop culture stuff, facts and cuteness – all festive holiday-ish for this time of year. So I’m throwing a bunch together today not to hit the magic dozen, just to share what I’ve liked so far.
- Captain Picard sings Let It Snow. Yep.
- And just in case you need further injection of holiday Sirs who might be the world’s best BFFs:
- One of my favourite seasonal drinks is soynog (especially with a dash of Kraken dark rum!). I’ve never had real eggnog because even when I wasn’t vegan the idea of drinking egg grossed me out. If you would like to read about the many delicious vegan options then check out MeShell’s reviews (a lot unavailable in Canada, though, booo) or have a look at some creative recipes for making your own vegan nogs. Aww yeah.
- If you’d like to kick back and relax with that nog, Netflix have Fireplace now! Here’s a preview. I love it so much.
- This season just breeds crafting, and some of the incredible pop culture creative kind. Happy Hothidays sweater!
- Mental Floss do great, snappy list videos – and this one of winter holiday tradition origins is no exception!
- I’m going to sit down this week and construct a gingerbread house with Adam, but I’m almost certain it won’t be as badass as this version of the Candy Kingdom from Adventure Time. (Process here.)
- Even the briefest glance at Buzzfeed will show you that ‘best of 2013’ year end posts are blowing up everywhere. I’m quite partial to the Cute Overload ‘Top 10 cutest photos’ of the year‘. What a sweet way to reflect on 2013.
- A pug version of the movie Elf. You don’t need to know anything else.
- And how could I forget this truly touching xmas comic from Nedroid (part of the Funny Pages Zine, check it out!)
Enjoy your week and year-end, all!