by BK Munn
More news from this year’s Toronto Comic Arts Festival organizers continues to roll out. Today the festival revealed a list of headline guests and other highlights, revealing their customary tasteful mix of bestselling cartoonists and important but lesser-known-to-North-American-audiences international guests. Announcements about more guests from France, Italy, Germany, and Japan are still upcoming. As well, the Fesival announced a planned tribute to Drawn and Quarterly, celebrating their 25th Anniversary.
There is a full list of exhibitors on the TCAF site but here are the first nine headliners:
Charles Burns: The Black Hole creator is a perfect fit for TCAF, his impeccable alt-comic creds were established with the serialization of his seminal Black Hole graphic novel back in the 1990s and his recently completed trilogy of books, making up the X’ed Out graphic novel (X’ed Out, The Hive, and Sugar Skull) should blow the minds of everyone who encounters them. I think this may be Burns’ first Canadian appearance since the release of Sugar Skull last Fall?
Eleanor Davis: Cartoonist and editorial illustrator (The New Yorker, New York Times), Davis released How To Be Happy (Fantagraphics) in 2014. Her collection of beautiful, moving short stories cracked the New York Times Bestseller List of comics. A hugely appealing artist.
Gurihiru: This Japanese pair of artists who share one name are responsible for the art-chores on the kid-favourite Avatar: The Last Airbender series published by Dark Horse in North America and based on the Nicolodeon animated tv series. Chifuyu Sasaki (pencils/inks) and Naoko Kawano (colour) are from Tokyo and are another sign of TCAf’s fruitful relationship with that city.
Lucy Knisley: Knisley has tabled at the festival before but this year she is a featured guest and will be promoting her just-released travelogue/graphic novel Displacement (Fantagraphics). Another NYT bestseller (for books like Relish, French Milk, and An Age of License.
Scott McCloud: The Understanding Comics creator brings his latest graphic novel The Sculptor (First Second Books) to TCAF.
Barbara Stok: I’ve seen some reviews of her books online but I’m totally unfamiliar with the work. TCAF says, “Hailing from The Netherlands, Stok has an impressive collection of graphic novels to her credit. TCAF is happy to welcome her as a Featured Guest of the Festival in 2015, in conjunction with her debut English-language graphic novel release Vincent (SelfMadeHero), an important and critically-praised biography of Vincent Van Gogh.”
Jillian Tamaki: No stranger to Canadian comics readers, Tamaki will debut her SuperMutantMagicAcademy (Drawn & Quarterly) at the festival, a collection based on her popular webcomics series, now completed.
Chip Zdarsky: TCAF dubs Zdarsky, aka Steve Murray, a “Hometown favourite and emerging international superstar.” He’s probably best-known as the illustrator of Matt Fraction’s Sex Criminals series (Image Comics) and as the writer behind the upcoming relaunch of the Steve Gerber creation Howard the Duck (Marvel/Disney). Zdarsky is also collaborating on a new creator-owned series with Kagan McLeod (Infinite Kung Fu) called Kaptara (Image Comics), which will launch at TCAF.