For the third year in a row, Toronto Comics is launching a Kickstarter for their biggest edition of Toronto Comics Anthology yet, promising more raccoons and pigeons than you could fit into a derailed 504 streetcar.

By Peter Sanfilippo

Yonge At Heart, the fourth installment in their compilation series of locally-inspired tales and their first in full colour, features stories from a mix of contributors both experienced and new to the Anthology.

Seasoned creators like Fred Kennedy, creator of the Fourth Planet and True Patriot, and Shawn Daley of Samurai Grandpa fame will be contributing stories alongside a variety of newcomers, some being published for the first time.

Steven Andrews, the lead editor for Toronto Comics Anthology, says part of their goal is to offer creators who haven’t necessarily made comics before an opportunity to contribute their input into Toronto’s growing comics scene.

“We want to encourage new creators to come on board and to test out if the medium is something they want to do,” Andrews says. “We want to be able to give people a platform to test themselves and to show the world what they can do.”

Brenna Baines is one of those people. After meeting Andrews at a Yowza! open house and engaging in a two hour discussion on comics, she decided to join the team. Currently finishing her final year in animation at Seneca College, Baines got the opportunity to test the paneled, cartoon waters of comics illustrating a story by BC Holmes in which struggling Torontonians battle each other in massive robot suits for a chance to win a most-coveted prize: a single-bedroom condominium.

“Art should reflect where you live,” Andrews says. “It should reflect the things you see everyday,” and in a city like Toronto, inspiration can be found just about anywhere. The stories in Yonge At Heart draw inspiration from the struggles and quirks of contemporary Toronto and the city’s bizarre, untold past (including a story about firemen battling clowns over a brothel).

Though the stories range from silly and fantastical to more heartfelt and grounded, no two stories from Yonge at Heart’s twenty-one tales are without that local flare that makes them so entertaining. Both a celebration of Toronto, and an opportunity to marvel in its eccentricities, Yonge at Heart aims to offer its contributors and readers a unique perspective on Toronto.

The Young at Heart Kickstarter will begin March 1st, and Toronto Comics will be at Toronto Comics Show on March 5th.

Peter Sanfilippo is a Toronto-based writer (or journalist, depending on who you ask) with bylines in Exclaim!, Toronto Comic Jam’s zine, Emerge, and a handful of indie publications and startups, usually writing about comics, music, and the people who make them. Peter also writes regular features for ildsjel Collective and makes comics and short stories with his friends as Short Change Artists.