A Love Of Comics, Art, Storytelling, And Libraries: The Toronto Comics Arts Festival (TCAF)

If you’re living in the Toronto area or are thinking about visiting the city this weekend, you’re in for a treat. The 10th anniversary of The Toronto Comics Arts Festival (TCAF) is happening on Saturday and Sunday – and if you’re a fan of sequential art and storytelling in all of its forms, TCAF is the place for you to be!

If you haven’t been before, this isn’t your usual run-of-the-mill comic book convention. No, it’s much, much more interesting: truly a celebration of art, storytelling and the small-press and independent comic book industry by and for the people that love to create in unison with the people that love to read.

Love is a word that can be used often with TCAF.

The festival is indeed an international love affair and you can find out more info and some highlights after the jump!


TCAF logoComing from a life-long reader, one of the most heartening aspects of TCAF is that it’s held at the Toronto Reference Library. At a time where so many forms of learning and entertainment have become digital, the fact that this particular festival sets up shop at a place where anyone with a free membership card can borrow a book is a worthy point of interest. Everyone here is promoting literacy of some kind and that’s an important thing. Where better than a library? Plus there’s now a café on the ground floor for those in serious need of caffeine.

What? Books and caffeine? Sounds like heaven, right? Wait. It gets better. Admittance into TCAF is free!


Assembled this year is a cornucopia of people who made the comic book and sequential art and storytelling industry what it is today: important creators of the past, present and future, in one room together, sharing their art, their ideas and their time with like-minded individuals. I don’t mean to wax poetic, but it kind of is. TCAF is an emotional festival for those that adore this particular art form.

Among many others, here you’ll meet:

Art Spiegelman (Maus), a pulitzer Prize winner, who is debuting CO-MIX: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics and Scraps.

Francoise Mouly, the Art Editor of the The New Yorker.

Dash Shaw (Bodyworld), who is debuting New School, a book loosely inspired by his experiences as a teenage foreign exchange student.

Oliver East (Trains Are…Mint), a Manchester-based artist and writer, debuting his new book, Swear Down. You can read the recent Biff Bam Pop! interview where he talks about his new release here.

Paul Pope (The One Trick Rip Off + Deep Cuts), the acclaimed artist and writer will be exhibiting as well as participating in an inking symposium which should prove to be absolutely fascinating for any artist to see.

Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT) is not only sharing a exhibitor table with Toronto-based artists and writers Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes, but he’s debuting his new crime noir tale, Red Handed: The Fine Art of Strange Crimes, which you can read more about on this week’s Biff Bam Pop! Wednesday Run column here.

TCAF imageThese are just a few of the participants of the event – a extremely small sampling of the guests, Canadian, American and International that will be at TCAF this weekend. Better yet, there’s a fantastic sampling of kids and young adult features as well – something for everyone. You’ll see and meet people like Gilbert and Jamie Hernandez (Love & Rockets)Willow Dawson (Lila and Ecco’s Do-It-Yourself Comics Club), Hope Larson (adaptation of A Wrinkle In Time), Cecil Castellucci (The Plain Janes) and Faith Erin Hicks (The Adventures of Superhero Girl), Bryan Lee O’Malley (Scott Pilgrim), Frederick Peeters (Sandcastle), and Chihoi (The Library).

For a full list of guests, exhibitors and a listing of the great events and programming that TCAF is presenting, please visit their site at www.torontocomcis.com.

TCAF 2013 is on Saturday, May 11 from 9 AM to 5 PM and Sunday May 12 from 11 AM to 5 PM at the Toronto Reference Library – 789 Yonge Street. Hope to see you there!

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