A new organization has emerged this summer to help grow and support the Canadian comic book community. Coming out of the comic book cultural center which is Toronto, these librarians and comic creators are building a collection, hosting events and making a database of creators. Their homepage is beautifully designed as a comic itself to inform visitors about their organization, created by Ben Harvey and Anthony Armstrong . (reminiscent of Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics)
Their mission is as follows
The Canada Comics Open Library (CCOL) is a registered non-profit organization that aims to be an inclusive, educational and recreational public space for showcasing the work of Canadian comic artists and supporting comics communities. We are trying to help fill a hole in the current cultural landscape with regards to comics accessibility. We hope to broadly promote the medium through developing partnerships and working with various Toronto artists and comics-related communities. We also want to be a part of increasing representation of BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and marginalized comics creators online.
While they do not have a physical home yet, they are building a library of comics and graphic novels by Canadians with the goal of having an entire library dedicated to these books. You can browse their catalog of over 300 books and if you have something they are missing they are taking donations. Once established this will be a great resource for creators and readers and may even be a home for the Toronto comic scene.
Furthermore, they have a database they are filling with the names and websites of Canadian comic creators. This will be incredibly useful for connecting potential collaborators in the Canadian comic book scene. Creators are searchable by location (city or province), skills (artist, illustrator, cartoonist), or genre. They have a simple form for creators to quickly add themselves to the database so don’t delay in being part of this great service. They also link to other online resources such as comics databases and creator resources.
Also they are hosting a launch event on November 24 11am-4pm at 519 Church St Room 106, Toronto. Details on Facebook. The event will include:
-A panel discussion on storytelling in comics (Moderator/Panellists TBA)
-Comics Workshops led by local Cartoonists
-An all day pop-up library showcasing the current CCOL collection
-The launch of crowd funding campaign to secure a physical location for the Toronto Branch
The Canadian comic book community continues to develop and make itself more accessible to new entrants. Between websites, podcasts, crowdfunding and conventions there are now more outlets than ever for creators to promote their work and build their network. This will certainly be an organization to follow for the foreseeable future and we will let you know of major developments!