by Bk Munn
The Toronto Comic Arts Festival runs this weekend, May 11-12, at the Toronto Reference Library. Admission is free and there will be tons of unique world-class cartoonists (and their books and art!) on display. Let’s see, what last-minute news is out there? Julia Wertz and Blutch will not be in attendance, it seems. Cosplay and anxiety are actively discouraged.
TCAF is traditionally the place where many hotly-anticipated books are debuted, with artists working all year, right up to the last minute, trying to have a new book ready for the fest. TCAF trumpets a massive list of debut books on its site, including many from their international slate of headline guests, but I thought I’d highlight a selection here on Sequential, based on a few posts and tweets I’ve seen around the net and the odd email that creators have been nice enough to send my way. I’ll be posting a separate list of short reviews Friday of TCAF debuts I’ve actually seen and read, but here are some of the lesser-hyped unseen artifacts that you might want to check out at the show:
Item! Marc Bell will be exhibiting as part of the Wowee Zonk-curated small press section at TCAF. The latest thing from Bell’s Half World Books imprint is the just-published Cowabunga Schnauzer, which reprints in part a selection of full-colour strips he did for Maisonneuve magazine last year, as well as “several thoughtfully arranged details from new artworks including ‘Mr. Giant Stroller’, ‘Lucy Honeychurch’, ‘On/Off Solo Schnauzer Live!'” and “a modified version of Marc’s appearance in the March 2013 issue of Esquire UK.” In addition, Bell has hinted in correspondence with Sequential that he is “also making two others that may or may not happen. One is a tribute to [Norwegian comics collective] Dongery made with Tom Devlin.”
Item! I’ve enjoyed Roman Muradov’s comics in the NoBrow anthologies but I’m not that familiar with his other printed comics work. In preparation of the show, he has just completed the third issue of his The Yellow Zine, which you can see previewed here and read digitally here. Muradov will also be in the Wowee Zonk space at TCAF.
Item! Montreal’s Dan Kim is known for being recognized by a Japanese prize for his manga-inspired NNN webcomic and for an astounding kickstarter fundraiser for the same book that raised $40,000 over its $6000 goal. All of his comics have an atmospheric painterly inkwash look, great pacing, and bravura character design. Kim will have a number of poster prints and maybe even some actual print versions of his shorter comics for sale at the show.
Item! Nina Bunjevac, jewelry designer: “A little while ago I teamed up with the Toronto-based jewelry designer BBJ to create a small but exclusive collection of pendants, brooches and key-chains that feature my art. This year the festival falls on the Mother’s Day weekend, so come by and pick up something nice for that special lady in your life.”
Item! Some PR from UK outfit Great Beast Comics about cartoonist Adam Cadwell’s “Northern Slacker Vampire series” Blood Blokes the third issue of which will debut at TCAF: “Blood Blokes #3 sees Vince awaken in the vampire house with more than a few questions. When he discovers the hard way that going home isn’t an option he finds the life of a vampire to be alarmingly familiar, yet Vince still longs for a certain someone.”
Item! Russian mystery-man Uno Moralez is the feature artist in the first issue of Frontier, a new monograph art and comics series from Ryan Sands’ Youth in Decline publishing house: “Frontier #1: Uno Moralez is the first print collection of the mysterious and tantalizing work of talented Russian illustrator, Uno Moralez. Includes a number of full page spreads, narrative comics, and GIF art in printed form. (32 pages, Risograph-printed in black, fluorescent pink, burgundy, and teal ink.) Moralez is not at the show, I don’t think, but Sands is sharing a space with NYC’s Benjamin Marra.
Item! Wowee Zonk co-founder Patrick Kyle self-publishes under the Mother Books umbrella but has just made as far as I know his first venture into publishing the work of others with this new series by Keith Jones. I like Mr. Jones’ stupid plots and even stupider cartoon characters quite a bit. Described as containing “Jones’ newest work ‘Donut Daze’ where rival drivers clash in a garbage encrusted drag race through a post-apocalyptic roadside donut den. Scrawled masterfully in Jones’ unmistakeable erratic style” (24 pages, Colour Risograph, $5). I’ve seen someof this previewed on Jones’ tumblr and am very excited to get a hold of a print copy. His work is also on display in an ongoing art show (“Budsies”) at Capital Espresso (1349 Queen Street W) and at the take-out joint he owns, Hot n’ Dog (216 Close Ave off of Queen St. W). It looks like publisher Kyle will also have some of his own new comics, smartly titled New Comics, on hand for the show.
Item! I thought the first issue of Eric Kostiuk Williams’ Hungry Bottom Comics was a smart and sophisticated autobio comics debut and was part of the team that nominated it for a Doug Wright Spotlight Award. The second issue of Williams’ series is set to drop at TCAF. I think this might be one of the included pieces? Worth checking out, especially if candid, academically-tinged, and graphic youthful ruminations on relationships in the Toronto gay dating scene are your bag.
by Bk Munn