This is my third time going to Toronto for TCAF. I really love this show. I had some pretty strong mixed feelings after Stumptown, with it not really capturing what I am interested in. TCAF on the other hand, is exactly what I want. There is a lovely quote from Chris Ware, discussing the artistic and literature qualities abound. It is quite an accurate depiction. TCAF provides for an amazing experience to see a wide range of the best in modern comics.
Day 1 â€“ James Stokoe and Marley Zarcone had never been to TCAF, and James is unable to go to any American conventions for the foreseeable future, which means they were in for a shock, especially when compared to more mainstream experiences. I have been selling pages for James on my site, mcconnellart.com, so we have grown pretty close through this experience. I dragged James and Marley to Toronto early, to give them the full TCAF experience. As you can tell, they are very excited by this 7am flight I booked for us.
After checking into the hotel, we went to explore the fine city of Toronto. This restaurant is across the street from the Marriot, and seems very appropriately named for the creator of Orc Stain.
I dragged them across Toronto, with the first stop being the BMV books on Bloor. I had a feeling Keith Jones would be there, and my hunch was right.
Here are James and Keith locked in battle over the Wright award title of Best Emerging Talent.
I picked up these Sterankoâ€™s and various other goodies there.
After BMV, we made our way to the Beguiling, where we had a mandate with Michael Deforge. You all know who Deforge is, and if you donâ€™t, you should. His work has grown in leap and bounds over the last year. The fact that he is only 23 means he has a while to really reach a creative peak.
Here is my Beguiling purchase.
We ran into Chester Brown there, who joined us for dinner. What a way to start out a trip to Toronto. I made James show Chester how he drew, which brought about a most excellent reaction. Chester had been exposed to Jamesâ€™ work in the process for the Wright Awards. Two men that are known to draw penises in one room, surprisingly, no dinks where drawn.
Outside of the restaurant, Deforge was complaining about getting ink all over his crotch, and subsequent stain. I tried to take a good photo of it, but Chester politely told me, that I probably didnâ€™t want to be known as the guy that takes pics of menâ€™s crotches. Strong words from the creator of Paying for It.
Michael Comeau was outside the Beguiling working on a display that would be going into the library. It looked awesome. Every TCAF year, he adds to it.
After, we went out for drinks with Vicki Nerino, Britt Wilson and Brittâ€™s charming fellow, Aviv and the fairy godmother of the Toronto comics scene, Annie Koyama(who charmed James to the point of him hugging her. James isn’t a hugger). I love these kids. A heap full of talent at one table. Britt showed me a mini she did for Aviv that looked pretty damn amazing. She is another person to watch out for, as she takes over the world.
Robert Dayton also joined us. I miss that guy.
After, we went to meet up with Michael, who was hanging with Ryan Sands and the benevolentÂ king of TCAF, Christopher Butcher. Ryan and Christopher are always great to see. They went into a lovely 10 minute impression of me and my feelings about Manga that was pretty excellent. I love a good roasting. And Yes, I don’t like Manga.
Day 2 â€“ I finally got to meet Raincoast publicist, Dan Wagstaff. Dan was my connection for interviewing Ralph Steadman many years ago. That is a mighty nice looking book he is holding.
From there, I went back to the hotel to have some down time to work on some crap. I ran into Hellen Jo and Calvin Wong. Love those guys.
I made my way down to Queen St West to hunt down some poutine with James and Marley. Mission Accomplished.
We also found where Sheldon Vella shops for clothing.
The night was pretty quiet, with a quick trip to the library to see Mawil talk. His books are very pretty and he is a charming speaker. I look forward to possibly interviewing him.
Sam Hiti was in town a day early, so he joined us for dinner with his editor Joe. The restaurant wasnâ€™t very fabulous, but it did have a table you could draw on.
James likes nachos.
Day 3 â€“ Keith Jones, being one of my favorite people in Toronto, seemed like an obvious choice for breakfast, while James was sitting in a hotel room drawing up a feverish storm.
Keith and I hit up the Beguiling, where I grabbed this amazing Moebius book. The price stung a little, but after going through the book later, it was obviously a good pick.
Of course, since it was the beguiling I had to run into Seth there. That man has more style than the rest of us.
Keith and I went to check out a talk between R Sikoryak and mutual buddy, Michael Deforge. It was pretty interesting.
I ran into Jason Little there, who gave me this pretty book. Jason needs to be on the Inkstuds soon.
I had to book it back to the hotel to meet up with Farel Dalrymple, who was going to be joining us in the hotel room. We went for dinner with Bart Beaty, and he showed off some recent fancy art purchases on his iPhone.
Farel and I went to the Comix talk with Chester Brown, Seth, Adrian Tomine and Chris Ware. The talk was good, nothing too revelatory. Seth owned the stage with some pretty witty comments at Chester’s expense and Ware was charismatically humble.
While I was waiting to get some books signed by Ware, I saw Pascal Girard standing in line beside me, waiting to get his copy of Paying for It signed by Chester. I thought that was pretty sweet, since they are both published by D and Q.
Chris Ware is one of my favorite cartoonists. Period.
That night brought us to the Pilot, where I would be spending most of my next day. The night was pretty crazy. I ran into a million and one people. My friend Claire describes me as moving through the crowd like an eel in a bucket of snot.
It was great to see Brandon, who I dragged around to meet some fancy comics peeps like Dan Nadel.
And Paul Pope.
The Drawn and Quarterly contingent were in attendance, including the charming Brecht Evens, seen here with Joe Ollmann.
Brecht was the bell of the ball, surrounded by some stellar folks.
Dustin Harbin was downstairs holding court with Aaron Costain and John Martz.
Hickee Buds – Gabe Miller, Graham Annable and Scott C.
Oh hai Hellen Jo, Calvin Wong and Mickey Z!
Brandon and Christopher Butcher appeared to be plotting something terrible.
I think they plotted out to get me tired, because I crashed out hard after this. To be continued.