This year’s Toronto Comic Con featured celebrities, an expanded family zone, vendors and a bustling artist alley.

By Brendan Montgomery

Cosplayers were very high quality as always. Being a smaller version of FanExpo meant a mostly local contingent of artists attending plus notable invited guests. Attendance was great and artists were pleased with their sales.

Featured comic creators included Denny O’Neil, Ron Wilson, and Steve Englehart with each of them being featured on panels.

Other comic related panels included Ty Templeton’s comic book boot camp which was an excellent crash course in story and art. A brief sample of his excellent courses taught in Toronto, more details here. Ty’s panel was dynamic and engaging showing off his years of experience teaching and running similar panels. This was very inspiring for new creators to continue developing their skills.

Another panel was focused on Inking and Colouring with inkers John Beatty, Jay Leisten, Craig Yeung and colorist Dave McCaig. These creators answered many audience and moderator questions including how they got started in these areas, their tools of choice and other tips. While colouring is exclusively done digital now, inking traditionally can still yield better results depending on the artist. Even if you prefer digital, learning traditional skills will improve your digital work.

Sketch duels were still popular with attendees and gave a forum for questions about illustration. Overall, convention panels are great starting points for people interested in creating indie comics and encourages further study in the medium.

In Artist Alley, many new Canadian indie comics made their debut. Artist Andrew Thomas was sporting the 5th issue of Auric of the Great White North, written by Davis Dewsbury. This series follows the titular Auric, a miner from Timmins Ontario imbued with power from a mystical goddess to defeat monsters.

They had a variant cover drawn by Mike Rooth who was the original designer of the character and has done covers for the series since issue 01 in 2016. Jason Lapidus and Chris Sanagan launched issue 4 of their Group of 7 comic which follows seven famous Canadian soldiers in World War 2 on a secret mission from Winston Churchill.

The series has been so well received that they are working on a spinoff featuring female nurses in the same setting doing black ops missions, which will be called Peregrines. A new discovery for me was the Lady of Wrath by Austin Chuck-Yin which launched its second issue at this show and its first at FanExpo 2017.

This fantasy series is a revenge story where a woman named Maria becomes an assassin to find her father who was taken by a Warlord when she was a child. Artwork is in crisp detailed black and white and there are several beautiful covers. Always great to see new entrants into the indie comics community.

The popular RAID studio based in Toronto launched their eagerly anticipated sequel to their graphic novel anthology. Originally planned for release last November, but delayed due to the studio moving locations, this edition features further original stories from their studio members.

In attendance at the show were Ramón K Pérez, Eric Vedder, Gibson Quarter, Gabe Sapienza, Kyle J Smith. Some stories continue from volume 1 while some are new. This is a high quality magazine sized book and easy to recommend.

Another anthology launched as well in the form of a magazine. Cauldron magazine volume 2 which was very successful on Kickstarter launched at the show with creators Sam Noir, Ricky Lima, Shane Heron, and Casey Parsons in attendance.

This magazine covers stories of horror, the occult and fantasy. The larger magazine format allows for more stunning artwork and is a unique addition to the indie comic landscape. We will have an interview with Cauldron editor and writer Sam Noir in issue 2 of Sequential Magazine.

Winners of the 2018 CanComicsWiki Awards were in attendance. Best graphic novel Wayward Sisters was for sale from TO Comix Press as well as runner up Happily Evr After sold by writer Ricky Lima. Lima also won our Best Writer.

Andrew Thomas won Best Artist and also drew the runner up for best comic, Norlan Sorceress of Light. Our Best Podcast winners Radio Free Krypton and runners up Hey Kids Comics Radio were roaming talking to guests.

Thanks for another great show!

Brendan Montgomery, Sequential Magazine