Artsy Fartsy Comic Con 2023
Yesterday I went to Artsy Fartsy Comic Con in Toronto. It was a small, 1 day show featuring around 16 creators. It was put on by Anthony Ruttgaizer a comic creator who also puts on wrestling events. The show took place at the Tranzac Club on 292 Brunswick Ave, Toronto, ON. Anthony said he had a credit with the venue as he had a wrestling event that got cancelled at the start of Covid and decided to use it to do this event.
Toronto is mainly known for having 2 conventions, TCAF and the Fan Expo shows. TCAF is focused on independent non-genre comics, children books and web comics. Fan Expo shows are more the typical comic convention focused on the more traditionally commercial side of comics. Artsy Fartsy thematically sits in between the two featuring creators that do a mix of self published/crowd funded work, doing stories in anthologies and more commercial work.
I took pictures of the creators involved and had conversations with some of them. I let some of them know that just around the corner was St. Trinity’s Church, which was the location of the very first TCAF 20 years ago and that I apparently was the only person there with a camera taking pictures. That was one of the main reasons why I wanted to be at that show, just to document it via pictures. I only did a tiny bit of shopping due to have a very large stack of unread books that I still need to get through.
The Tranzac Club is an interesting space with several small rooms with bars in them and different creative events going on in all of them. It had a nice mural on the side of the building. There was a small bit of public parking right there, plus a parking lot a block away. The location being just off Bloor street meant there was plenty of food nearby plus other useful stores. In the room the convention was there was a stage area that Anthony felt he could expand the show to if he needed to. Obviously he could also expand to those other rooms too.
The show was pretty quiet during the 1st half of the day, but people began coming in the 2nd half. Anthony said he was happy with the results of the show. I overhead him (and others) say setting up for a comic book convention is a walk in the park compared to setting up a ring for a pro-wrestling event. I hope they continue to do the show as it has the potential to grow into a thing. Toronto does have a lot of creators who could benefit from it.