Sunday, January 25, 2009

Toronto Comic Arts Festival

The Toronto Comics Arts Festival (TCAF), to be held May 9-10, 2009, has just announced its line-up. Here's a snip from the press release:
Drawing a diverse array of cartoonists from around the world, the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) is a phenomenal exhibition of international comics talent, and a chance to celebrate Canadian comics authors here at home. TCAF will showcase the talents of its guests through an ambitious programme of exhibitor presentations, gallery showings, lectures, workshops, discussion panels, interactive readings, and the 2009 Doug Wright Awards for Canadian Cartooning.

At the center of the Festival proceedings are the international premieres of numerous long-anticipated works, both by and celebrating Canadian cartoonists, and by graphic novel creators from around the world! Canadian programming highlights will include the debuts of The Collected Doug Wright - both a collection of work and tribute to the beloved Canadian newspaper cartoonist - and George Sprott, a new graphic novel by Seth collecting his acclaimed comics from The New York Times Magazine. Toronto’s own Bryan Lee O’Malley, creator of the popular Scott Pilgrim series will attend TCAF to present the fifth volume of the series, and to discuss the Hollywood adaptation of his work filming in Toronto this spring!

Among the international cartoonists appearing at TCAF for the first time will be: Emmanuel Guibert (France), with his new graphic novel The Photographer, a gripping account of the work of Doctors Without Borders in Afghanistan; Yoshihiro Tatsumi (Japan), debuting his massive 840-page biography A Drifting Life; Anke Feuchetenberger (Germany) will present new work at the Festival (TBA); American Adrian Tomine will premiere the softcover edition of his bestseller Shortcomings; and American Ivan Brunetti will offer the collection of his dark humour comics, entitled Ho!.
It's a great guest list, especially since both Seth (George Sprott (1894-1975)) and Bryan Lee O'Malley (Volume 5 of Scott Pilgrim) will have new material out by then. If you're in Windsor, Leddy Library has copies of Heavy Liquid, Batman: Year 100, and Escapo by Paul Pope, as well as Clyde Fans, Wimbledon Green, and It's a Good Life If You Don't Weaken by Seth, Volumes 1-3 of Scott Pilgrim by O'Malley, Shortcomings, Sleepwalk, and Summer Blonde (among others) by Adrian Tomine, and Alan's War by Emmanuel Guibert. These are all fascinating creators with diverse styles. Check them out and, if you can, head up to Toronto in May to hear them speak.

One of the major sponsors of this year's TCAF is the Toronto Public Library. I think this partnership speaks to the value that libraries (especially public libraries) place on their graphic novel collections. As the programming becomes more solidified, I will be interested to see if there are some panels geared towards the connections between comics and literacy. According to the press release, there will be two weeks of events leading up to the festival, so there's definitely a space for a variety of innovative programming. At any rate, I'm very impressed by the guest list and the possibilities of this partnership. Consider May 9-10 circled on my calendar.

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