True Loves is a little behind schedule this week, due to a weekend on the Island and a column for Broken Pencil being due. Hopefully I’ll have something by Friday. Meanwhile…
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TCAF was a blast. Such a good show, such a good time. So many cartoonists full of so much joy. Here are some photos and thoughts.
Ed and I had a room – nay a SUITE in the Town Inn Suites at Church and Charles. After I booked it I realized it was almost right across the street from where I last lived in Toronto, on Isabella – a great location, as you are minutes from Yonge and Bloor and therefore anything you could possibly need. Also minutes from the Reference Library, which is handy for TCAF. We were on the 24th floor facing west, which afforded this amazing view towards Yonge Street. It was slightly scary if you stood too close to the balcony though.
When we were leaving the hotel one day, I realized that when Manien and I used to live across the street, we would make fun of the Town Inn Suites, as it looked like the saddest hotel around. It was sort of low end, but our suite had a nice little kitchen and a separate room for the second bed, so that was all quite decadent. Also just that it was only Ed and I staying there, not six people or whatever is convention normal.
Our table was right by the Beeton Auditorium, and I was worried that we would get blocked by lineups for panel discussions. As it turned out this only occurred twice, for Chris Ware and for the Machine of Death panel (pictured above). Once the lineup was stable and standing there a while I would ask people what they were lined up for. I forgot to get schedule until late Sunday. The best to see was people who would walk up past the lineup, super-focused because they were going in to see this PANEL… blocking out the existence of this lineup going down the hall and back out and onto the main floor.
I guess I must have taken this late Saturday. So I didn’t capture the jam-packed insanity of the floor that was evident most of the day. Our table was off to the left, away from the main loop, in a little cul de sac. People would wash up at our table and go “Whew it is so nice to get out of the crowd!” which roused conflicted emotions in us at our table that seemed less busy than everyone else’s. But despite the grass is always greener syndrome, I did great. Sold a good amount of my Year 40 Project sets, sold quite a few True Loves. So I was happy.
After the Saturday show was done, I went for dinner with Dave Lapp, Dave Howard, Diego and Dalton Sharp. I tell you it is the best thing to hang out with the Daves and Dalton, they have such interesting discussions of comics and culture. It makes me feel smarter just listening to them. Then we went back to the hotel to hang out a while before heading to the party. Here we see Dave H, Diego and Dalton being rock stars on the hotel balcony.
Here we see Brian Evinou at the Pauper’s Pub party. Last year it was crazy crowded and hot in there, so our gang got there early to snag a table.
Mike Yoshioka persuaded Paupers to put on the hockey game because Vancouver was playing. Here we see Mike having his heart broken.
The real revelation of the Paupers night was having the rooftop patio available. Maybe it was last year, I don’t remember, but it made the crowdedness completely bearable. It was a gorgeous night and it was easy to hang out there drifting from conversation to conversation.
I guess I should get over it and use a flash, but I have a great fondness for the crazy blurry photos. Here we see Inkstud Robin Mcconnell with Brian Fukushima, who recently relocated from Vancouver to Toronto.
I was happy to make the acquaintance of James Turner. We were happy to make many jokes about being related.
Dalton Sharp. You just don’t get that many faces out of a person with a flash.
The Bixibike rental system just started up in Toronto, and Ed was most intrigued. So intrigued that as we walked back to the hotel with Dalton, Ed was determined we should get bikes to ride. Luckily he couldn’t get it to work, so we were spared disaster and broken limbs.
Now we have skipped past the Sunday part of the show completely. That day was slower, and was a shorter day (starting at 11am rather than 9am). Between friends visiting the table and lunches and so on, it was 4pm before we knew it. And the only book I had bought at that point was Cat Rackham. So I ran around and bought a few things. The one other book I was determined to get was Chester Brown’s Paying for It. It happened that there was only one person in line for him at 4:45, and so I managed to sneak in and get a book and get it signed!
The photo above reflects how everyone felt by Sunday night. Exhausted but content. I heard of quite a few people selling out of books. Pretty much everyone was happy with their sales. And ready for one last party, the closing event at Clintons.
I managed to spend some more time with Dave Lapp and Dalton Sharp. Many Scotches were had, plans to smite enemies were made.
Here we have Chris Butcher making his closing speech, thanking the army of volunteers and everyone who helped make the event such a success. Peter Birkamoe in attendance. They look very serious here, but only because they are offering sincere thanks. And I thank them for making the event so great.
One last blurry photo to show how the party this year expanded into the entire bar. It was great having this whole bar just wall to wall cartoonists. Also, I love that the front of Clintons is like a log cabin, as it makes me feel like I am in Twin Peaks.
For some reason yesterday I started to think about Saturday mornings twenty years ago. Back when I was going to York University, living in residence. Jesse and I would get up and watch the Beetlejuice cartoon with Di or Dawn and then get ourselves across the quad to the cafeteria for some breakfast. Have a doughnut, some coffee with lots of cream and sugar. Maybe some rice crispies with chocolate milk on them. And then, hopped on caffeine and sugar we would begin the long trek downtown.
A bus to the subway, the subway to Spadina station. Walking along Bloor was exciting and exotic. There were people sleeping in doorways! Then we cut down to Harbord. To the Beguiling. It was a little intimidating going in. There would often be loud punk music blasting. Would the Scary Guy be working that day? And the comics themselves seemed strange and harsh too, with names like Hate and Jizz. Weird black and white photocopied comics on the floor like Butt Biscuit.
It’s not like I was completely new to alternative comics. I had a good chunk of Yummy Fur (oh the memory of reading the Man Who Couldn’t Stop on a Christmas morning, laughing until I cried), loved Eddy Current and Mage. But the Beguiling had more and different and dirtier things than what I could find at the comic stores of my teen years in Guelph. It was an exciting time in comics too, with the early issues of Eightball coming out, the Drawn and Quarterly magazine introducing us to Joe Matt, Dirty Plotte, Unsupervised Existence, Taboo. New things to be found every week.
After hitting the Beguiling we would wander down through Kensington Market, and along Queen Street, soaking up the city. Maybe cut up through the Eaton Centre and along Yonge Street. Refuel with a burger from Harvey’s before starting the long journey back to North York.
I was in Ontario for a quick spin last week. Managed to avoid the seriously bad weather, but did have a good blast of winter proper. Even went tobogganing with my brother and his kids. It was great to see the family but not nearly long enough. And now I am back in the mild grey drizzly world of Vancouver.
While I was away, and especially when I was on the five hour flights to and from Toronto, I did some drawings. I was inspired to return to my series of drawings of the little astronaut guy in the house of debris. You can see them all here.
Well we are closing in on the end of the YEAR 40 Project, just a few more pages of October to do, and then the 22 day countdown in November. You can read the October comics over here for now.
I have also gotten a bunch of new Page One Hundred Project submissions this week, one from Italy and a bunch more from our Page One Hundred friends in Croatia! Some cool looking stuff there.
And it is Halloweekend, which means I am busting out the Mega-j!
For some reason this weekend I got the idea stuck in my head that if they were to make a Daredevil movie he should engage in parkour style acrobatic feats, as a highly trained human, not the Matrix style stuff that was in the Ben Affleck movie. But anyways, it seems to me that Daredevil would be better serves by actual people doing impressive non-faked physical acts. Check out these parkour dudes.
Anyhow, this line of thinking led me to think that he should have an outfit that he could move about in, not some bulky leather deal. So I was trying to draw that. It came out kind of goofy looking. My problem is that I always default to something like a modified track suit (like in “the Jam” by Bernie Mireault).