San Diego Comic Con 2022

I went to San Diego Comic Con and recorded 18 panels.
I also took 81 pictures of pro’s, cosplay, some building advertisements and a few other odds and ends.

I felt some anxiety regarding this convention. It wasn’t the Covid, although there was that too, it was just the travel to and from the convention. The airport I fly out of (Toronto Pearson) has been the news a lot lately regarding flights being cancelled, luggage going missing and all sorts of bad stuff.

It’s also been 3 years since I’ve done this convention. I normally pack and prepare a lot for the con. I decided to bring noise cancelling headset with me so I could better hear what’s playing on my laptop during the flight. That worked well. Because I was afraid of my luggage disappearing on me I figured out a way to pack 5 days worth of clothes and stuff into a carry on bag that I normally use for 3 day trips. Apparently my bag was still considered too big for carry on they still took it, but I know it made it on the same plane I was on and I didn’t have to pay extra for it.

I made it to the airport 3 hours early as suggested by Air Canada. They told all to go into this lounge area where I saw people sleeping on the floor (eek!). They called out flights and if you were on them you then go to go through security. People trying to go through security early and get to their gates were yanked and sent back by staff. I saw this happening at multiple points through the whole process. Still, there was a backlog due to there not being enough customs agents available to process everybody quickly enough to make their flights.

The most nerve-wracking part was for myself and others going to San Diego was standing in a long lineup, looking at our phones and knowing we are not going to meet our boarding time. At all. We were wondering out loud will the plane take off half empty or will they delay the flight and let us get on? Thankfully the answer was to delay the flight an hour. After getting through all the various security checkpoints I ran to my gate and got on the plane in time.

I’ll say the Airport employees were doing the absolute best they could under trying circumstances. They were even calling out boarding times and pulling out people out of lines and rushing them to the front to try and get them on their flight on time. It was the customs that real bottleneck that was holding things up.

I had opted for the Early Bird special and got a hotel room at Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina, which I’ve stayed at once before. This time they put me in their Bay Tower which is around the corner from the main hotel. It has a nicer view and I liked my room quite a bit.

What I didn’t like about the hotel was the cost of a bottle of Pop was absolutely insane at $5.60. The Convention, which is also insanely overpriced is $4.50 for the same bottle. I did the customary trip to Ralph’s and bought some drinks and snacks for the rest of the week.

I had met up some friends at the hotel and we went to the convention to get our Covid clearance. I did download and use the Clear App prior to going to San Diego. We had made our way through the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina and got our Covid wristbands. It was weird wearing those wristbands for 5 days straight and I wasn’t sure if it would hold up, particularly when showering, but it did.

San Diego Covid Wristband

As I’m coming from Canada I don’t get my badge mailed to me, so I got in line up to get my badge. That went through okay but I think the process was a little better in previous years with signs and more staffing. On Preview night the con was a late in opening up (advertised 6:00pm, but it was 6:30pm when they actually opened), which annoyed the crowd quite a bit, which then annoyed the convention security and staff. In this case I do fall on the side of those that paid for tickets and were expecting the advertised opening time for 6:00pm to be correct. San Diego is an expensive convention to go to and lots of people save up all year to go to the show. I don’t think you can blame them when they expect the show to open at the time the con said it would open at.

When I got in the first thing I noticed about the exhibition floor was the red carpet was no longer there. This was hugely disappointing as I have flat feet and spending a long time on them is hard enough, having to do it on concrete is much harder. I could only be on them for an hour or so before the pain got to the point where I needed to sit down. I normally make a point to walk the entire floor and see all the booths but decided I wasn’t going to do that this year. I was glad to read (from Gary Sassaman) that the decision to not do the carpet was one the convention center made and not Comic con. They were going to spray down the convention center for Covid and that would be easier without the Carpet. Here’s hoping next year the carpet is back.

The vast majority of the con goers were wearing masks indoors as required. Of course with that many people, you’re going to have people who take off their masks or pull it down under their nose once inside. On occasion I did see convention staff tell people that masks were required to be inside. Outside the con was a different story, as a whole lot of people took off their masks once outdoors, in restaurants/bars and at their hotel. It’s not surprising to hear a lot of people got Covid after the con, despite Comic Con doing their best to prevent that.

I’ve been to a few conventions this year prior to the Comic Con and I felt safe at Comic Con. The Toronto Fan Expo in March required masks as per the government mandates that were still in effect. TCAF had no mask mandate (and couldn’t due to it being a public library) but they had signs asking people to wear masks, which most people did. I just went to Montreal Comic Con for 1 day 3 weeks ago and there was no masks mandate and few people wore them. I just heard a dealer there that was wearing a mask got yelled at by people for it. He took off his mask and did the show without it and caught Covid. I wore a fresh N95 masks from the airport, at San Diego and back again and did not catch Covid.

Stuff I learned at comic con.

– Scott Bakula has a horrible New Orleans accent (according to a New Orleans con goer on the shuttle bus).
– Jim Starlin admitted to ripping off Darkseid to create Thanos (according to people from the Kirby Museum).
– DC wouldn’t do a follow up to Batman: The Cult despite it being a top seller. They wanted Bernie Wrightson to do a new Swamp Thing with Len Wein and that didn’t happen. Starlin re-did the follow up story as Punisher: POV.
– Digital lettering has certain quirks which are difficult to work around.
– If the 2000 X-men movie flopped, the Bankruptcy judge that was running Marvel was going to take rights to the Marvel characters and individually auction them off to the highest bidder.
– Little kids would write to DC Comics love advice letter columns and detail their sexual abuse by family members or members of clergy. DC felt they could do nothing about it.
– Barbara Randall Kesel is pretty awesome.
– Willy Mendez was a much bigger part of the underground comics than previously known and that hasn’t been acknowledged until Kim Munson did research her career and wrote and article giving Willy her due.
– Jimmy Palmiotti always has interesting stories to tell about dealing with Hollywood people.
– Joe Shuster may not have drawn the underground erotic art that has been credited to him.
– When Marvel was stonewalling on returning Jack Kirby’s art in the 1980s, using the argument it was custom practice that publishers kept the art, Frank Miller was behind getting DC to publish an letter saying it was their view that art belong to the artist, undercutting Marvel’s argument. This was surprising as Bill Gaines, still alive and running MAD Magazine under DC, was still adamant about publishers owning the art.

DC Letter to the Comics Journal regarding Jack Kirby's art return, printed in TCJ 105

I did a little bit of shopping at the con, but not as much as years past. One of the sad things about San Diego is the Gold and Silver section is shrinking. Less and less dealers are coming to the con and those that do often don’t have what I’m looking for and also aren’t interested in discounting very much. I can’t say I blame them, San Diego is an expensive show and it’s just not a show where lots of back issue buyers show up.

Another issue I’m finding more and more is something a dealer friend told me about many years ago. Some dealers don’t acknowledge the grade ‘Good’. Books that are in Good grade get labelled Very Good and stickered with Very Good prices. Then Very Good books get labelled Fine and so forth. I bought a couple of books that were higher in grade and price than I wanted to pay, just to reward the dealer for accurately grading and pricing their books.

I took some pictures of cosplayers and recorded some videos, particularly of a cosplay knight sword fighting which looked fun for those doing it.

I also took a video of this moving Baby Yoda, which was neat. I wondered if it might have been Grant Imahara’s (from Mythbusters) as he created one to send around to hospitals for sick children before he died, but didn’t bother to ask.

Unique for me this year was attending the Eisner’s and getting to sit at a table. In the past when I attended the Eisner’s, publishers and nominated creators get to sit at tables and get a free dinner. Pro’s that didn’t fit in either category sad it chairs behind the tables. As I was an Eisner judge in 2020, but there was no in person ceremony so I never got to experience that. The same thing happened with the judges in 2021. The Eisner’s (specifically Jackie Estrada) was able to get us 20/21 judges a table to sit at and enjoy a dinner, which a nice thing to experience.

As normal with the con, it was also nice to see and catch up with old friends and make some new ones. As usual with the convention, there are people who expect to run into and don’t and those you unexpectedly end up spending a lot of time chatting with. This year I was on a panel, the 3rd time I was on a panel at San Diego. I’m having to get used to public speaking again. Way back when I was in college (1992-1995) I had to do presentations all the time and got pretty good at them by year 2, but I’ve done extremely little public speaking in the years since. My old, had to learn as this doesn’t come naturally to me, public speaking skills have atrophied quite a bit. Ah well, I’ll get better if I keep at it.

I did walk around artists alley towards the last half of Sunday. That’s always one area that Comic Con can improve. I never understood why they place it at the other end of the convention away from where all the comics books are sold. I know a lot of bigger name creators don’t bother with artist alley at San Diego because they don’t make very much money there. Most of the bigger names usually end up getting their own tables either in the self publisher area, the original art area or just sit with their publisher tables. I have no desire to return to NYCC but I have to admit their artist alley section is really good and you’ll see plenty of well known creators there making money.

Then there was the flight home. This was also a little nerve wracking at I’ve been hearing horror stories about US airports. I got to the airport 2 hours early as per Air Canada’s instructions (8am Pacific time). I have to say, San Diego was extremely quick and efficient in getting people through security. I got through everything within a half hour, the quickest in any airport ever. The flight coming in was delayed by 3 hours though. That gave me time to work on my convention pictures and panel recordings. Went I got back to Toronto it then took an hour and a half to get my luggage through, which really sucked. I was planning on going to a restaurant I normally hit that’s just outside of Toronto. It was sadly closed by the time I got there and had to settle for McDonalds 24hour drive through. I got home just before 2am (Eastern) in the morning.

In the end, I really enjoyed going to San Diego and don’t regret going at all. The event takes a lot out of you, that I’m writing this almost a week later tells you how long it takes me to recover from it. I am thinking about doing another convention later on this year but I haven’t decided which one yet.

Thoughts on TCAF 2022

Patrick Sparrow and HinkThe Toronto Comic Arts Festival happened last weekend (July 17th – 19th) and it was somewhat different than previous TCAF shows. For starters it was being run by different people, who had to deal with a lot of uncertainty when organizing this convention. They likely weren’t even sure if it was going to happen and had moved it from Mother’s Day weekend in May to Father’s Day weekend in June to increase the chances of the event happening. In Canada Covid cases kept flaring up every time the province lessened restrictions necessitating the need to re-enact those restrictions.

The event thankfully did happen, but in a toned-down fashion. A lot of the off-site locations the show had used in the past were not used for what is likely a variety of reasons. Usually on Thursday night something is happening at the Pilot (nearby popular restaurant/bar) that normally had events/panels there in the past. Not only was there nothing happening on Thursday, panels weren’t held there during the event either.

I think the biggest impact on the show was the loss of the Marriott Hotel around the corner. This was the most convenient place to stay and many panels and the Doug Wright Awards were held there. I wasn’t able to get a room there so I had to settle for one 3 blocks away, which wasn’t so bad. I soon found out I was pretty lucky. On Friday there was an Academic Symposium happening at what I assumed was that hotel. I had walked around the corner to visit it only to discover the hotel was gone. It had been changed to an apartment building. After checking my phone, I discovered the hotel they were holding the Symposium was about 8 blocks away.

Library and Educator Day normally occurred at the Library on Friday, but they did that virtually this year. The Word Balloon Academy programming happened at the library in its place. It was previously held at the now removed Marriott Hotel. I only went to a couple of Word Balloon panels in the past but was looking forward to doing more. The panels were really good and I’m sure some were useful for creators. I recorded a few of them as part of my coverage of the event. Sadly there was a fire alarm pulled, which caused an annoying alarm to run for several minutes while fire fighters walked through the place checking to confirm it was a false alarm.

One thing that was normal was the TCAF Kick Off Event on Friday Night. It seemed to oddly indicate this was the 20th anniversary of TCAF which is not correct. First TCAF was in 2003, which I know as I was there and took photos. This was the 19th year of TCAF, next year will be the 20th anniversary of TCAF. It will be curious to see if they move the event back to Mother’s Day weekend or not.

Throughout the panels I recorded there were a couple of re-occurring themes. One was creators that went through a Fine Art education and then choosing to do comics. This was an international theme with creators from Portugal, the Nordic countries and the United States all spoke about their experience with this. The other was publishers being more open than usual about using government grants to finance books and being open about discussing print runs for books.

One thing about Toronto that continues to surprise me is how much businesses change in the area around the library. There used to be a Tim Horton’s and a Starbucks that was very popular with creators wanting coffee, but both were gone this year. Lots of other nearby restaurants and other businesses did not survive the past couple of years.

This year TCAF had a whole bunch of free water in a beer like tall can. The water was called Liquid Death and appeared to be quite popular. At the start of the show, they were giving it just to the panellists and exhibitors but half way through Saturday they started giving it out to anybody that wanted it. At the end of the show I saw a lot of attendee’s walking out of the library with 12 packs boxes under their arms.

TCAF itself was little different with the main floor not having the same number of exhibitors. Some of those that were there had reduced the number of tables they used. This did make the main floor feel less crowded and improved getting around, which was a good thing. Which exhibitors and creators that showed up was different, a lot of the usual faces were not there this year. I’m not sure if they pulled out due to the Pink Cat controversy, they weren’t comfortable doing the show for Covid reasons or if the new management decided to bring in new creators.


As usual the show took up 3 floors and the basement level as there was room there for some longer lineups. I’ve heard from a couple of exhibitors that were put in areas with less foot traffic were still happy with higher than expected sales. The “sun room” area on the first floor was a lot more spaced out and not as jammed with people as normal. It was also considerably cooler than previous years with that place being very hot with the bright sun shinning in.

The Doug Wright Awards were unfortunately not able to hold their awards ceremony at the Hotel like usual. Having it in a nearby park was not the best. While the weather thankfully co-operated and we had sunny skies, the constant wind did make it a bit chilly and the constant subways running under the park were disruptive. The organizers promised they’ll have the awards inside next year. Perhaps they’ll have it at the Pilot. I should mention I was a judge for the Doug Wright Awards this year and that was a pleasurable experience. It was nice to see the creators at the ceremony getting their awards.

I heard from a few exhibitors that the show had about 70% the attendance that it normally does and sales reflected this as well. One thing that might have also affected this was the TCAF: Page and Panel Comic Store was having a going out of business closing sale and were discounting much of their books by 30%. It was surprising and sad to see the store was closing. With inflation being what it is these days, lots of people were buying from the store.

As usual I did have a good time at the show. I did not buy as many books as I normally do because of the judging of both the Eisner’s in 2020 and the Doug Wright Awards this year left me with a fairly large stack of unread books I need to get through. It was nice to see some familiar faces I hadn’t seen in several years and people seemed as friendly or friendlier because of that. I’m looking forward to going 20th anniversary show next year.

The panels I recorded can be found here. There are also links to the pictures I took as well.

 

Toronto Comicon March 20th, 2022

So I went to my first comic convention since going to the Guelph Comic Jam in 2019.

Toronto Comicon took place on March 18th to 20th at the Toronto Metro Convention Centre. I went with a friend who like me, was a little anxious about going to a comic convention when Covid is still active. We decided to just go up and down for 1 day and do it on Sunday, which is the normally the least crowded day of the convention. I bought some N95 masks for us and hoped for the best.

Late last year when the Covid numbers were down the convention did put on a show and the reviews coming out was the organizers did a good job of spacing everything out, which was nice to hear. This convention in particular is a bit notorious for packing people in like sardines, leading to regular log jams when trying to make your way through the isles. Sadly this was more of the same, but they did require masks to be warn inside and from what I saw 99.9% of people complied. It was a large crowd (much bigger than I was expecting) but I only saw a few people walking around without a mask or wearing it under their nose.

I was told by multiple people that Friday was crazy busy. It seems there was pent up demand for a convention and people came out in huge numbers to participate in this one. Saturday was either almost as busy as Friday and Sunday was less busy as expected. Most of the comic guests were Canadian, with only a small number of Americans coming over the border to attend. This is likely due to the requirement that people pay for, take and provide proof of a negative Covid test just prior to coming into the country. I do not believe there are any tests required to travel to the US. I know I wasn’t asked to provide/take one the two times I drove over the border and back late last year.

Regarding the show I did a little bit of shopping and some catching up with creators I haven’t seen or spoken to in a couple years or more. I took some photos of creators and cosplayers and I attended and recorded a panel put on by Amy Chu and Dan Parent called Let’s Talk Story: Writing for TV and Comics. They spoke to a room with a fairly large number of aspiring writers and spent most of the time answering questions from them. It was mostly about comics but with a bit of TV writing thrown in.

As usual with conventions of this type there is always an odd moment that only happens at a comic book convention. Mine was in the bathroom after the show ended. I saw a guy trying to get out of his Spider-Man suit but couldn’t reach the zipper in the back, so I helped him out. In all it was a good, light show for me to get back into the swing of doing comic conventions again. Thankfully driving to the show and parking nearby was probably the best experience I’ve had attending this show ever. If they have another later this year and it feels safe I will probably attend it for multiple days.

 

2019 Guelph Comic Jam & 15th Annual Joe Shuster Awards

Brenden Fletcher @ 2019 Guelph Comics Jam

Brenden Fletcher @ 2019 Guelph Comics Jam

Last weekend I went to Guelph to go to the Guelph Comic Jam. It was sponsored by The Dragon, a 3 chain store owned and run by Jennifer Haines. The Dragon is an Eisner Award winning comic shop that is different from other shops as it is very family friendly store. There are two stores in Guelph and one in a nearby Milton, Ontario. I witnessed one comic creator beg Jennifer to open a 4th store near where he lived saying he would happily work there. I could write a lot more about the all the wonderful work that Jennifer does for the comics community but I think she’d rather I focus on the event she just put on.

The Comics Jam was held in the Old Quebec Street Shoppes @ 55 Wyndham St N, Guelph, ON where the Dragon’s flagship store is. It was free to attend and the Jam was in the isles of the mall. I had a good time chatting with a lot of creators, among them Sam Noir, Jay Stephens, Brenden Fletcher & Andy Stanleigh. I also enjoyed a few conversations with Robert Haines too. I took photos which you can see here.

On the night of the 14th, I also attended the 15th Annual Joe Shuster Awards. Kevin Boyd did the presenting of the ceremony, except for Jennifer Haines who presented the The Dragon Award (Comics for Kids). Robert Haines also presented a surprise T.M. Maple Award to his wife Jennifer. My audio recording and pictures of the ceremony are here. It was particularly nice to see Gerhard, who was the background artist on Cerebus get inducted to the Hall of Fame.

Gerhard gets inducted to the 2019 Joe Shuster Awards Hall of Fame

I left fairly early on Sunday as I had a long drive ahead of me and I wanted to visit The Dragon in Milton on my way home. The Guelph Art Museum did have a Exhibition on Seth’s work and I did stop by the museum late Sunday morning, but it was closed. For those that don’t know Seth is a popular cartoonist who created a number of critically acclaimed graphic novels.

Regarding The Dragon stores, they are all brightly coloured stores with a dedicated kids  area with a small table and chairs and nearby small bookshelves with age appropriate books. They focus on graphic novels but do have some comics and pop culture products there. A nice touch was a healthy diversity of stuffed animals for kids, which gave the stores a fun atmosphere. The graphic novels were broken down by genre with books going alphabetically by title. They also had a comic book section and place for gaming too. The staff were all very friendly as well.

I spent more money than I was expecting. Below is my haul from the show and the Dragon store shopping.

Guelph Comic Jam & Dragon Haul

Toronto Comicon 2019

Rhino. Toronto Comicon 2019

Rhino. Toronto Comicon 2019

Over the weekend I went to Toronto Comicon. I used to attend this con regularly but stopped going back in 2013. I won’t go into the details as to why, but I will say it was nice to go back and see some people whom I haven’t seen in many years. Compared to San Diego Comic Con and TCAF, this con was ‘light’ work for me in terms of recording panels and didn’t require me to take days off work to get my stuff online quickly. I audio recorded 5 panels and took some pictures.

Two of the panels were spotlight panels of creators I’ve recorded before at San Diego (Steve Englehart & Ron Wilson) but I learned some new stuff about the creators at both of them. I’ve recorded Denny O’Neil at other panels, but not a spotlight panel. I also learned that some colourists really don’t like working on Green Lantern books and that Marvel’s current Editor in Chief C. B. Cebulski really appreciates it when a creator makes a very difficult deadline.

All of the panels were in the same room and it was easy to find the comic guests. Having a laptop with me instead of a tablet made a huge speed difference in terms of preparing audio and pictures. As usual with this convention, there was a lot of cosplay and one could spend all their time just taking photos of cosplayers and still not get them all. I used to take a lot more photos but between going to panels, taking photos of pros’s, chatting with friends and doing some shopping for myself I no longer have the time to devote to it.

I did take a couple of short videos showing some of the fun of happening at the convention with cosplayers.

The only thing that disappointed me about the trip was the handy and close to the convention public parking lot I used to use was no longer there. It’s been replaced by large half-built condo sky scrapper, which meant finding a new place to park and going for a longer walk.

 

King Con 2019

So I went to King Con, a local convention in Kingston, Ontario, Canada that was able to bring in a surprising number of comic book creators, a prose writer, a magician and even a celebrity. The event was held at Sydenham Street United Church and Chalmers United Church as the Kingston Public Library was not yet finished it’s renovations.

David Lloyd Sketch, King Con 2019.

David Lloyd Sketch, King Con 2019.

As usual I mainly stuck to the comic books portion of the show but I did spent some time watching the magician James Harrison do magic and even teach some simple magic. I  took a number of pictures, audio recorded some panels and got to speak with a number of creators which was nice.

I almost never get sketches, but David Lloyd got me to pay for a sketch and I got a nice V for Vendetta from him. David’s sketch also came with a free issue of Aces Weekly, an online comics anthology he puts together. Georgia Webber, Chip Zdarsky, Allison O’Toole & Jason Loo signed their books for me. I got to take pictures of some cosplayers, including several from the 501 Legion, but unfortunately was unable to wait for the cosplay contest as they were running late and I was exhausted.

I did attend but did not record a Group Cosplay Panel which was really well done. I have attended a number of cosplay related panels this was the first one on this particular topic I’ve seen and those on the panel did a great job highlighting the benefits of doing group cosplay. Among the reasons were combining resources, using each others unique skill set  and inspiring each other to work on their costumes.

I had a good time at the convention, but I’m looking forward to it being back at the newly renovated library next year.

 

Will Eisner Week

A bunch of my friends on facebook are calling this Will Eisner week to celebrate the man.

In going over some old notebooks I came across some notes I took the one time I met and saw Will Eisner talk on a panel. This was at the 2004 Paradise Comics Toronto Comic Con. I was not yet recording panels so I only have the notes I scribbled down. The notes are faded and will be illegible soon so I’m putting them here to preserve them.

The title of the panel was Graphic Novel Pioneers. On it was Will Eisner, Dave Sim and Chester Brown.

2004 Paradise Comics Toronto Comic Con - Graphic Novel Pioneers panel. Will Eisner, Dave Sim, Chester Brown

2004 Paradise Comics Toronto Comic Con – Graphic Novel Pioneers panel. Will Eisner, Dave Sim, Chester Brown

Will Eisner starts off telling Dave Sim “We have to be very careful about what we say, there is an audience.”

Eisner thinks a Graphic Novel is about the content, not page numbers.

He thought readers were older and wanted to read something other than 2 mutants smashing each other.

Eisner said the President of Ballantine Books was very impatient.

Chester now accepts the Graphic Novel name. He didn’t before.

Eisner calls some books graphic narrative.

Al Capp told Eisner in 1945 he’d never make it, said he was to normal.

Rube Goldberg told Eisner that comics wasn’t nothing but vaudeville and jokes.

Spirit got 5 million in circulation, that was considered nothing then.

Eisner talked about how comic strips had huge cultural impact among immigrants.

Eisner said Superman had the same costume as strong man in circus.

Eisner said the Spirit was supposed to be short stories. Eisner did Splash pages to get attention.

Dave did Cerebus because of the direct market, the retailers took all the risk. He did things in Cerebus that he knew couldn’t do in Marvel/DC. He had almost complete freedom and he pushed boundaries.

Dave said he and the people in Beguiling (Popular Indy focused Comic Book store) thought Louis Riel was career suicide.

Eisner thought undergrounds was literature because Denis Kitchen introduced him to them.

Eisner sold his company and went into doing Graphic Novels.

Dave said Cerebus + Star Reach was called Ground Level Comics.

Eisner credits the undergrounds for the Graphic Novel.

Eisner thinks the Editor should be the reader surrogate, tell him what doesn’t work and Eisner will fix it himself. He doesn’t want advice.

Chester uses Seth as his “editor” to give him advice. Sim did it all himself.

Eisner used Dave Shiner, a friend, as an editor, he died recently. He now uses his wife Ann who never read comics prior to this.

Eisner said doing comics is like sex. He doesn’t like talking about it while he’s doing it. After he’s finished, then he goes through it.

Eisner starts writing with the ending. He writes a timeline, not the story.

With Louis Riel, Chester did his work on panels with dialog at first, did stick figures if he didn’t think he would remember.

Will Eisner

Will Eisner

Dave Sim

Dave Sim

Chester Brown

Chester Brown

Will Eisner and Chester Brown

Will Eisner and Chester Brown

Will Eisner talks to media

Will Eisner talks to media

TCAF & Doug Wright Awards 2018

TCAF 2018 – Brigitte Findakly, Lewis Trondheim, Ananth Hirsh, Yuko Ota, Eddie Campbell and Audrey Niffenegger

I went to Toronto Comics Arts Festival and audio recorded 14 panels and the Doug Wright Awards.

TCAF had a different feel this year. One of the major Canadian publishers, Drawn & Quarterly was not there. They put less tables on the main floor which made the convention more bearable to walk around and browse. In the past few years TCAF had several  popular Image Comics creators, but not so much this year. I haven’t compared numbers but friends of mine believe there were more international creators than usual.

Also different was the spaces outside of the Library being used. The Masonic Temple that normally hosted the Image creators was not utilized and the empty upstairs area of a mall across the street was. Within that space was a Zine Fest which I did not visit, but I understand it was popular. I also couldn’t help but notice the Friday Night kick off event was also less popularly attended than usual. Even the Doug Wright awards were put into a smaller room and was done in an hour.  I’m not suggesting that any of these changes were bad, some of them were quite welcome, but it gave the show an ‘off’ feeling. It will be curious to see what happens with next years show to see if this is a trend or not.

 

King Con 2018

Tom Fowler at King Con 2018

Tom Fowler at King Con 2018

I attended a local convention in Kingston, Ontario called King Con. It was held this year at Sydenham Street United Church at 82 Sydenham Street. I personally enjoyed the show and chatting with some creators, some I hadn’t seen in several years.

Some of the creators include: J. Torres, Andrew Wheeler, Attila Adorjany, Kat Verhoeven, Tom Fowler, Craig A. Taillefer, Andrew Thomas, Salgood Sam, San Noir, Dan Day and more. Andrew Wheeler did a panel on the history of LGBTQ Superheroes which I recorded.

There was also a popular magic show, which I enjoyed as the magician (James Harrison) had a very good act. I was talking with him earlier and he was doing the whole ‘find the ball’ trick on me with.

At the end of Saturday there was a cosplay contest that was mainly aimed at kids.

Pictures are here and Audio is here.

 

 

The winner of the cosplay contest is here (recorded and posted with permission):

Warren Ellis Interview

Warren Ellis at 2005 Paradise Comics Toronto Comic Con

Warren Ellis at 2005 Paradise Comics Toronto Comic Con

Originally published in January of 2004. I once tried to interview Warren Ellis at a 2005 convention in Toronto but that fell through. Previous to this Warren sent out a message saying he would do 4 question interviews to anybody that e-mailed him questions. Prior to that Rich Johnston posted the rumor that Warren Ellis was going to be doing a book at TOYKOPOP, who were then hiring creators to come up with their “OEL (Original English Language) Manga” line. I decided to take a gamble use the interview to ask him about it in hopes of breaking some news.

 

Interview with Warren Ellis

Warren Ellis is a writer and sometimes comic book activist. He is best known for his books Transmetropolitian, Planetary and The Authority. He also spent quite some time writing about the comic book industry and it’s need to change and improve, which along with his comic work has gained him a very large following in the industry. The following is a mini interview he allowed via his DiePunyHumans list.

 

Jamie: What are you doing for TOKYOPOP?

Warren Ellis: Um . . . nothing, yet. You seem to be playing off a rumour that I think Rich Johnston ran the other week. I’ve had a conversation with Tokyopop, but nothing else.

 

Jamie: Are you writing stuff for their young female readers or your typical audience?

Warren Ellis: See above. Sorry, but you’re way ahead of reality here…

 

Jamie: TOKYOPOP is only starting to do original material and much of that is from their fans via their Rising Stars contest winners. One might assume the company is closer to Archie or Marvel when it comes to respecting and fairly paying their creators. Are you having to guide them towards DC or better standards or have they figured that out on their own?

Warren Ellis: I haven’t even seen their standard contract and have no idea what they pay.

 

Jamie: Just off the top of your head, what do you think the better GN’s of 2003 were?

Warren Ellis: I really didn’t read many graphic novels in 2003. I certainly couldn’t name any off the top of my head. I think I went into a comics store once in that year, and that was just to say hello to someone while I was passing.

 


 

While this interview isn’t all that exciting I do have a treat for you. Warren did a nearly 2 hour hilarious, story filled Q&A panel at the 2005 Paradise Comics Toronto Comic Con. I uploaded clips of this panel roughly around 12 years ago and since then I’ve found the full audio file and I’m making it available here for the first time. Enjoy!

 

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