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Comics A.M. | TCAF wrap-up; Robocop license moves to BOOM!

TCAF poster by Taiyo Matsumoto

TCAF poster by Taiyo Matsumoto

Events | Heidi MacDonald beats everyone else to the punch and files the definitive report on the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, which featured a flurry of graphic novel debuts and appearances by artists as diverse as Taiyo Matsumoto (Tekkonkinkreet) and Andrew Hussie (Homestuck). [Publishers Weekly]

Publishing | BOOM! Studios will publish a line of Robocop comics beginning in August. Dynamite Entertainment had the license previously, but company President Nick Barrucci said the rights reverted to the licensor, who granted them to BOOM! [ICv2]

Publishing | Brian Truitt takes a look at Valiant’s lineup for the second summer of its new life, and he talks to the creators about the relaunch and their plans for the future. [USA Today]

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Doug Wright Awards winner announced

doug wright awards posterThe winners of the ninth annual Doug Wright Awards, which recognize the best in English-language comics by Canadians, were announced Saturday in conjunction with the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. This year’s recipients were:

Best Book: The Song of Roland, by Michel Rabagliati

The Spotlight Award (aka “The Nipper”): Nina Bunjevac for Heartless

Pigskin Peters Award: Hamilton Illustrated, by David Collier

In addition, Albert Chartier, the late creator of the comic strip Onésime, was inducted into the Giants of the North, the Canadian Cartoonists Hall of Fame.

The awards are named for Doug Wright, the late cartoonist whose strip Doug Wright’s Family appeared for more than 30 years in newspapers across the country.

Comics A.M. | Archie Comics experiences book-market boom

The Best of Archie Comics, Vol. 1

The Best of Archie Comics, Vol. 1

Publishing | Calvin Reid looks at Archie Comics’ growing book-market presence, which has exploded since the publisher signed Random House as its distributor in 2010. [Publishers Weekly]

Creators | Matt Kindt, author of Red-Handed, writes about how becoming a comics creator has made it impossible for him to enjoy reading comics for their own sake. [The Huffington Post]

Awards | Animal Land, by Zatch Bell creator Makoto Raiku, took the Best Children’s Manga honors in Kodansha’s 37th annual manga awards. The sports manga Gurazeni won the overall award for best manga. [Anime News Network]

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This weekend, it’s Toronto Comic Arts Festival

TCAF 2013 poster

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival celebrates its 10th birthday this weekend with a truly stellar lineup of guests and an amazing array of events. The list of creators who will be there is impressive in both its quality and its breadth: Art Spiegelman and Francoise Mouly, Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, David B., Taiyo Matsumoto, Rutu Modan, Frederik Peeters, Paul Pope, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Hope Larson, Faith Erin Hicks, Derf Backderf, Raina Telgemeier, Dave Roman, a roll call that goes from living legends to plucky creators making their own comics zines by hand.

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Comics A.M. | This weekend, it’s C2E2; a preview of TCAF

C2E2

C2E2

Publishing | In advance of Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio and Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada discuss who’s reading their comics, and the creative challenges of writing about characters who have been around for generations. Asked if he was the custodian of contemporary myths, DiDio answered, “You know, I feel like a renter, to be honest. I’m in charge at this moment, and the goal is to keep these myths healthy enough so that, eventually, you can pass them down to the next person who rents them.” [Chicago Tribune]

Conventions | Christopher Butcher, the organizer of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, talks about how the show has grown and what to expect this year, including an interesting slate of international creators, from David B. to Taiyo Matsumoto. [The Comics Reporter]

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TCAF announces Spiegelman and Matsumoto as 2013 guests

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary in style May 11-12 with a truly stellar lineup of guests. Let’s get right to that, actually. Here’s the list, straight from the TCAF site:

  • Art Spiegelman: Author of Maus, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Co-Founder RAW Magazine. Debuting:Co-Mix
  • Francoise Mouly: Art Editor of The New Yorker, Founder of Toon Books, Co-Founder RAW Magazine
  • Taiyo Matsumoto Author of Tekkon Kinkreet (adapted into film by Sony Pictures). First North American event. Debuting: Sunny Volume 1. (Japan)
  • Raina Telgemeier: New York Times Bestselling Author of the childrens’ and middle-grade graphic novels Smile and Drama
  • Blutch: Angouleme Grand Prix Winner. First North American event. Debuting: So Long, Silver Screen. (France)
  • Gengoroh Tagame: Acclaimed Japanese gay comics creator. First North American event. Debuting: The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame. (Japan)
  • Dash Shaw: Author of BodyWorld. Debuting: New School.
  • Maurice Vellekoop: Acclaimed illustrator and comics author. Artist of TCAF 10th Anniversary Poster.

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Comics A.M. | The Walking Dead climbs atop bookstores sales chart

The Walking Dead, Vol. 16

Retailing | Although the 16th volume of The Walking Dead wasn’t released until June 19, 11 days’ worth of sales was enough to propel the latest collection of the horror series by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard to the top of BookScan’s chart of graphic novels sold in bookstores June. Four volumes of the popular series, including the first one, appear in the Top 20. [ICv2.com]

Publishing | Hermes Press, which has been publishing the vintage Buck Rogers collections, has announced a new Buck Rogers project: An original comic series written and drawn by Howard Chaykin, one that Publisher Dan Herman promises will be strongly reminiscent of the original. [ICv2]

Publishing| The animation studio Klasky Csupo, which gave us The Wild Thornberrys and Rugrats, is branching out in a number of different directions, including print and digital comics. Its first comic is Ollie Mongo, which stars a blue zombie skateboarder. [USA Today]

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Comics A.M. | The Oatmeal vs. FunnyJunk, and problems cartoonists face

Art by Matthew Inman

Legal | Danny Bradbury takes a look at the financial and copyright aspects of online comics in an insightful article spurred by the recent dust-up between The Oatmeal and FunnyJunk. Among other things, he parses out how The Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman makes $500,000 a year from his comic, why Inman and other creators object to their work being published elsewhere without attribution (and why they sometimes don’t care), the legal protections they can use (and how they sometimes fail), and how sites like Pinterest avoid the problem. There’s also an explanation of why FunnyJunk attorney Charles Carreon is suing Inman et al. on his own behalf, rather than FunnyJunk’s: “Carreon has now effectively abandoned the threat of a FunnyJunk lawsuit, stating that he was misinformed by his client. His letter claimed that all the comics had been removed from FunnyJunk, but Inman pointed out dozens that were still there.” [The Guardian]

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Toronto Comic Arts Festival announces 2012 lineup

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival, one of the high points of the indy comics year, has announced the first round of guests for this year. It doesn’t seem to be up on the TCAF site just yet, but Tom Spurgeon has the rundown at The Comics Reporter, and it’s an impressive list: Jeff Smith, Alison Bechdel, Guy Delisle, and Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon are the headliners. Smith will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of Bone, while Bechdel’s Are You My Mother? and Delisle’s Jerusalem are both due out shortly before the show.

But wait! There’s more! Kate Beaton, German creator Arne Bellstorf, Scottish creator Tom Gauld (whose Goliath is due out soon from Drawn and Quarterly) Gabriella Giandelli, Jennifer and Matt Holm (Babymouse), Jason, Kazu Kibuishi (creator of Amulet and editor of the Flight anthologies), Bryan Lee O’Malley (Scott Pilgrim), Gary Panter, Michel Rabagliati, Andy Runton (Owly), Olivier Schrauwen, and Adam Warren (Empowered) will also be gracing the halls of the Toronto Reference Library this May. That’s an amazingly eclectic and talented group. If you have been thinking “Some day I’ll make it to TCAF,” this should probably be the year.

What Are You Reading? with Chris Butcher

Casanova: Avarita #1

Welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading? Our special guest today is Chris Butcher.

Butcher is the manager of The Beguiling in Toronto and founder of The Toronto Comic Arts Festival. He’ll be at the UDON Booth #5037 and The Beguiling Original Art Sales Booth #1629 at San Diego Comic-Con this weekend.

To see what Chris and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …

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Comics A.M. | Archie addresses gays in military; NYT explains Crisis

Kevin Keller #2

Publishing | We noted in late April that Archie Comics appeared to be embracing cultural and political commentary with its upcoming Kevin Keller miniseries, which features Riverdale’s first openly gay character and his father, a retired three-star general. But now the publisher, or at least the character, is going a step further, marching into the middle of the debate over gays and lesbians openly serving in the armed forces by revealing that Kevin aspires to be a journalist, but only after attending the U.S. Military Academy and becoming an Army officer. “Even though we don’t tackle the specific issue of Don’t Ask Don’ Tell, the goal was to show that patriotism knows no specific gender, race or sexual orientation,” cartoonist Dan Parent says. “While it sounds like heavy subject matter, I tried to show it simply that Kevin, like his dad, loves his country. Being gay doesn’t effect that in any way.” [The Associated Press]

Publishing | DC Comics’ line-wide reboot has received extensive coverage by mainstream media outlets, based largely on the original USA Today article or The Associated Press report. But my favorite piece is this one by George Gene Gustines that turns back the clock to 1985 and attempts to explain to The New York Times audience the effects, and problems, of Crisis on Infinite Earths, and the publisher’s subsequent attempts to streamline continuity: “… If the goal was to make the DC universe easier to understand, the end result was the opposite: to this day, fans frequently mention ‘pre-Crisis‘ and ‘post-Crisis‘ as a way to distinguish stories. Twenty years later, in the Infinite Crisis limited series, DC tried to clean continuity up again: Superman’s career as Superboy was back; Batman knew who murdered the Waynes; and Wonder Woman was a founder of the Justice League again.” [The New York Times]

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Comics A.M. | FCBD 2011 generated $1.5 million in publicity

Free Comic Book Day

Retailing | Free Comic Book Day founder Joe Field reports that this year’s event drew between 300,000 and 500,000 people to participating retailers, and generated an estimated $1.5 million in publicity for comics and comics stores. “Free Comic Book Day may have been my idea ten years ago,  but seeing the remarkable things this event has done for the entire comics world is really encouraging,” he writes on his store’s blog. “Many of my comics retailer colleagues in the U.S., Canada and 40 other countries bring energy, creativity and enthusiasm to FCBD, making it a very special community event that is now the world’s largest annual comics’ event. All of this shows just how current the comics’ medium is — and how vital comic book specialty stores are to our local communities.” [Flying Colors, via The Beat]

Legal | In the wake of the latest confiscation of comics by Canadian customs agents, Laura Hudson looks at how creators and fans can protect themselves when crossing the border. [Comics Alliance]

Comic strips | Tundra marketing director Bill Kellogg has launched Ink Bottle Syndicate, which represents eight comic strips: That Monkey Tune, by Mike Kandalaft; Holy Molé, by Rick Hotton; Sunshine State, by Graham Nolan; Half Baked, by Rick Ellis; Future Shock, by Jim and Pat McGreal; 15 Minutes, by Robert Duckett; Biz, by Dave Blazek; and, of course, Tundra, Chad Carpenter. [The Daily Cartoonist]

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Comics A.M. | Gaiman fee feud continues; Carlos Trillo passes away

Neil Gaiman

Politics | The controversy in Minnesota continues over Neil Gaiman’s speaking fee, with a state House Republican committee chairman now recommending a $45,000 cut to the Twin Cites’ regional library system budget to make up for the Legacy Fund money paid to the author and comics writer in May 2010. “I simply subtracted out $45,000 — just making a point,” Rep. Dean Urdahl said. Gaiman responded that the move “seems like a sad way to make a point.” He talks at length with CityPages about the controversy. [Star-Tribune]

Passings | Prolific Argentine comics writer Carlos Trillo, co-creator of CyberSix, passed away over the weekend while on vacation in London. He was 68. Trillo, whose career spanned five decades, collaborated with such artists as Eduardo Risso, Jordi Bernet, Juan Bobillo, Carlos Meglia and Domingo Roberto Mandrafina. [TN.com, via The Beat]

Retailing | Peter Panepinto turns a Free Comic Book Day preview into one of those perennial articles about the potential effects of superhero movies on comic-book sales. [Carroll County Times]

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TCAF Travails: Black Eye confiscated by Canadian customs

Canadian customs has long had a reputation for being quick to seize any comics they find potentially obscene, and Tom Neely learned that the hard way this morning, as Canadian customs officers reportedly confiscated the five copies of the Black Eye anthology that he was bringing with him to the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. Ryan Standfest, editor/publisher of Rotland Press + Comic Works, which publishes Black Eye, emailed Neely’s account of the incident to The Comics Journal:

… They took ‘em. I tried to get them to just ship them back to me at home, but they said they were required to send it to Ottawa for review… if they found the material to be ‘obscene’ they would take ‘further action.’ I asked what ‘further action’ meant and he said they would just destroy them. Or there is a chance they might ship them back to me.

Black Eye is an anthology of dark humor, which was funded in part by a Kickstarter campaign; apparently a page by singly named artist Onsmith is what first caught the customs officer’s eye. The book also contains work by Ivan Brunetti, Lilli Carré, and Paul Hornschemeier, among others, and essays by Jeet Heer and other luminaries, and an interview with Al Feldstein … it’s hard to argue that this anthology wouldn’t have redeeming features. Nonetheless, the customs agent wouldn’t let it through, and kept talking about “further action,” which certainly sounds ominous.

Although Neely seems to have been taken by surprise, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund issued an advisory just two months ago about taking comics across international borders.

And this certainly isn’t the first time this has happened. Continue Reading »

This weekend, it’s the Toronto Comic Arts Festival

TCAF 2011

Comic creators from all over the world will converge in Toronto this weekend for the annual Toronto Comic Arts Festival, or TCAF, which takes place Saturday and Sunday at the Toronto Reference Library. Admission is free.

Guests include Darwyn Cooke, Chris Ware, Seth, Kathryn and Stuart Immonen, Jeff Lemire, Paul Pope, Brecht Evens, Adrian Tomine, Becky Cloonan, Chester Brown, Graham Annable, Kate Beaton, Ross Campbell, Brandon Graham, Matt Kindt, Jamie McKelvie, Ryan North, Jay Stephens, Kagan McLeod, James Stokoe, Ben Towle, Raina Telgemeier and many more. It’s an impressive guest list. Publishers attending include Fantagraphics, Drawn & Quarterly, Top Shelf, AdHouse, Sparkplug, Secret Acres and Vertical, just to name a few.

In conjunction with TCAF, the annual Doug Wright Awards will be presented Saturday night at 7 p.m. at the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Jackman Hall. Admission to the awards is $5 and includes a pin designed by Michael DeForge.


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