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TCAF 2015–An Exceedingly Late Post-Mortem | Valkyrie Books

TCAF 2015–An Exceedingly Late Post-Mortem

TCAF, the famed acronym for the Toronto Comics Art Festival, run by local graphic novel shop The Beguiling, is more than a convention, more than a market. It’s a feeling. <Rotten fruit arcs my way>

No, really. And if you love comics, this show offers a completely different dimension that the regular leading-market comic conventions are lacking. You won’t find Marvel or DC here, just independent creators and graphic novel/art publishers from the world over. While it takes place in the gorgeous Toronto Reference Library in the Canadian metropolis’ downtown core, there were exhibitors–and attendees!–from all over the U.S., as well as a few from the UK and Australia. This alone speaks volumes of the importance of this event.

Though TCAF is only a two day engagement, believe me, everyone going is engaged. In an inspired move, the public get into the event for free, which means exposure to a vast and electric audience you, as a creator or publisher, might not have been able to yet tap into. I attended the fest as an exhibitor with ChiZine Publications (for whom I am the unabashed Managing Editor for both CZP and ChiGraphic, our new graphic novel line debuting in May and June), which meant seeing the show from both sides. There were lots of us manning our wee booth, which meant freedom to roam–and over spend, ha!–was allowed. ChiZine also premiered two special edition Issues, featuring the work of Vincent Marcone and GMB Chomichuk, each launching their respective works this year: The Lady ParaNorma, and Infinitum (the latter of which is CZP’s 100th book!) Both of them were there for signings and free commissions with every purchase, and on Sunday we were joined by our third ChiGraphic creator, Peter Chiykowski, who a day ago officially launched his Rock, Paper, Cynic collection, The H.M.S. Bad Idea–which made it to Amazon’s #1 Graphic Novel Anthology spot because the internet is great.

I met many wonderful creators and publishers, many of whom I hope to continue to connect with, and who offered up a lot of advice, expertise, and anecdotal evidence that independently created comics is an exciting industry to be in. And telling from the DROVES of people flooding in, as well as the overwhelming emotional experience, you know that as formats change and the industry flexes, that excitement ain’t leaving any time soon.

Also, if you want to live in the TCAF spirit post-festival for the other 12 months of the year, stop by Page and Panel, the permanent TCAF graphic novel and art shop located in the Toronto Reference Library (and run/owned by the Beguiling folks), as well as the Beguiling itself in the Annex, and the kid comic shop, Little Island Comics, just around the corner.

So rather than get uber-wordy and poetic-waxy, let me tell you a tale of Wonder through the many pictures I snapped. I was delirious and sleep deprived for most of this trip, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Pumped for next year, that’s for sure! Also, be sure to check out the featured publisher, creator, and book links below. If you’re like me, there’s ought to be something you’ll love in there!

Here Be Links

AH Comics* Publisher of the STUNNING indigenous comic anthology Moonshot, out soon!

Locust Moon Comics* I picked up the $140.00, Broadsheet-sized Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream…Locust Moon was in the booth beside us, and after fondling the book all weekend, I couldn’t help myself. Hauling it, and the other 40 lbs of books home on two flights was totally worth it, oh my god.

Renegade Arts Entertainment* kick ass Albertan comics publisher. You are remiss in your life choices if you don’t check them out.

Kill Shakespeare* While you’re going crazy over this game, check out their series Sherlock Holmes Vs. Harry Houdini.

Tin Can Forest* absolutely stunning art and book work from a B.C./Toronto group

Nobrow Press* Their table was nearby ours, and chockablock full of books and comics the likes of which I haven’t seen before. Definitely pushed the boundaries of format with fold-out books, gorgeous foil-wrapped cloth bound hardcovers, and piles of picture books.

Karl Kerschl* I’ve been following this guy and The Abominable Charles Christopher for years. Wanted the hard covers, but I was too late! Settled for the paperbacks, which are just as good ;)

Cameron Stewart* I talked to him briefly upstairs in the artist area. Really wanted Sin Titulo but ran out of cash. Will order it from my local indie instead! He was sharing his space with the incredibly sensational Babs Tarr, but I just missed her. Butts!

There are TONS MORE that I want to talk about, but I feel like that’s a whole other blog post! STAY TUNED.

Here Be Pictures

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An airplane ink drawing of my own, getting into the spirit.

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GMB Chomichuk charms the kiddies with his collaborative publication with Justin Currie, Cassie & Tonk

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Our majestic booth display!

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Peter Chiykowski IS VERY INTO COMICS RIGHT NOW.

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Vincent Marcone, AKA My Pet Skeleton

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Twas the night before comics, which meant bag-and-boarding until 3 AM…

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There is only madness here.

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The only shot of me from the weekend with a pile o’ victory rolls. This is where the rockets come out of.

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This was not even a taste of the crowds. Overwhelming, in the best way!

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Start ‘em young!

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Gorgeous work from No Brow, a publisher in the UK.

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What a beauty!

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Record + comic = wonderfully unique product

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The haul! Brought it all home in carry-on, too. Oy.

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And here's me, post-fest, chilling out with a wee booky wook. Maybe I'll even have these for sale at C4! Hmm...

And here’s me, post-fest, chilling out with a wee booky wook. Maybe I’ll even have these for sale at C4! Hmm…

 

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