This weekend on April 29/30 Sequential Magazine will be exhibiting for the first time at the Toronto Comics Arts Festival at the Toronto Reference Library. After attending as a fan for many years it’s so wonderful to be on the other side of the table for once and have something to share and contribute. I’ve moderated panels a couple years as well which is a great part of the show. The beauty of TCAF is the pure focus on comics as an art form and creative community. Without the distractions of celebrities, toys and cosplayers this convention really spotlights the variety of great comics made by Canadians and abroad as well. The Japan Foundation helps bring in a manga creator each year and there’s always some Europeans too, Denmark has a delegation this year. Being located in a public library that’s concurrently open is an interesting vibe to get used to but in the end it feels great to not be shut away from society and to have comics have their place in this literary venue. The great Wi-fi, abundant seating, and accessibility by transit do make it a great home. (there were rumors of needing a larger venue but the pandemic has slowed that significantly but someday maybe it will need to move)
There is an online marketplace too if you can’t be in Toronto in person. The benefit being you can buy form multiple creators in one shipment, but that shipment will take until June/July to ship.
Anyway here’s the info on what we’ll have. Then I’ll get into some more general TCAF info and tips and tricks.
Riley Hamilton and myself (Brendan Montgomery) will be manning the booth together so you can meet us and chat about Canadian comics or whatever else. Our booth is 103 which is in a curved area to the left when entering in the first floor main entrance, around from the circulation desk. Our red tablecloth and banner sign should hopefully be very visible.
We’ll have every issue of Sequential Magazine ever made in print. All 13 plus our new debut of issue 14 hot off the Studio Comix presses. This will be your best chance to get back issues as we won’t necessarily reprint them any further. I won’t necessarily say never but it would be risky to reprint copies that will take a long time to sell as people want the newer ones more so than older ones. Digital copies will always be available as long as we operate. (Digital copies are kept in the Library and Archives Canada repository and print copies were recently purchased by Western University’s library for their collection) We prefer cash but I can also take digital payments through our online store, its easier if you have Paypal (I’ve suspended online sales until after the show as I can’t send orders this week and could sell out there). Issues are $10 or 3 for $25. Same as online but you save on shipping. And I have a limited amount of bonus prints if you’re buying more than one copy. No other merch or anything we’re keeping things simple in our first year then if all goes well could expand products.
Issue 14 features New Brunswick’s Gisèle Lagacé and her popular Pixie Trix webcomics. She’s by my estimates the most successful Canadian creator on Kickstarter over the years. Her cute cartoon style lent itself well to work with Archie comics as well. This issue also includes interviews with Dicky Siregar, Ben Ruffett, Michèle Laframboise, Matt Ringel, Alaire Racicot, and Eddie Mumford. We also have a couple articles, Jasmine Redford wrote about comics in universities these days, I interviewed David Barach, head of Crowdfundr, about the new Canadian crowd funding platform, and we’ve got acceptance quotes from the winners of the Sequential Magazine Awards.
TCAF INFO & TIPS
There’s so much I could say about the show but let’s start with the main attraction the creators! There’s over 300 tables of creators or publishers so it can be overwhelming. It will take hours to look at them all. But if you are an avid reader and follow creators online then browse through the list here to see if you recognize any that you won’t want to miss. Me giving my personal picks are not necessarily helpful since everyone has different taste, but I can highlight creators who we’ve interviewed before so you can pick up their issue and get it signed.
|Name||Issue||table TCAF 2023|
|Ramon Pérez||12||potentially at RAID booth 134,135|
|Allison Danger||10||signing at Lev Gleason Saturday Table 2088, 2089|
|Nicole Marie Burton||4||signing at Highwater Press Saturday 11:00 – 12:00 Table 100|
There will also be some Sequential Magazine Awards winners in attendance
|Derek Laufman||Table 2059|
|Dino Caruso||Table 306|
|John Ward||Table 2090|
|Claire Niebergall||Table 2082|
|plus Jason, Boum, Allison and Fell mentioned above|
- Review the following schedules to plan your day or see what you might not want to miss and then do your show browsing around these set events.
- For events/workshops in the “Discussion Room”, it is very small only 15 people capacity so get in line for those early (~20min) if you want them, all other panels its not really an issue just a couple minutes early is fine. Signings though you may want a half hour early to line up if they are a really popular creator.
- No Food or Beverages are allowed in the library for cleanliness but water is ok. For lunch there’s some options on Young Street but there’s also a food court underground in the building with the Bloor Young Subway station and the Bay, one block south of the library.
- Bring cash! It saves creators on fees, quick and easy to handle, easy to stick to a budget. No ATM in the building since its a library but there are bank branches nearby.
- If you’re coming right as the show opens then go straight up to the 3rd floor and work your way down as crowd will typically start at the bottom. Afternoon it will be busy everywhere so doesn’t matter as much
- Use the stairs, the one stairwell is at the back of the open floor area with a little water pool below it. This way elevators space can be saved for people who need it more for mobility or workers moving books around.
- The second floor room “Salon” with most of the creators in it has one sets of doors in and one to exit to control traffic and room capacity so check the map on that and at peak times there could be a wait to get in.
- Bring a book bag to carry all your loot!
- Drake filmed a music video for Secrets in the venue 😉
- Ask creators questions! They are really friendly and you never know what you might learn. Having a conversation about their work is the beauty of shopping direct. It’s more than just a transaction if you get to know your favourites a bit more, that’s what builds our comic community.
- It’s free! No tickets or anything just show up to the library. There will be a line at opening but otherwise not really.
- The TCAF comic book shop that used to be in the first floor has closed 🙁 So no shopping there anymore. They used to have some convention specific merch like posters shirts and bags so there could still be a table for that somewhere but maybe not.