a new exhibit starts Wednesday at Montreal’s biggest museum, celebrating the publisher’s 15 year anniversary
nice Michel Rabagliati poster, as well
artists in the show: Isabelle Arsenault, Pascal Blanchet, Paul Bordeleau, Pascal Colpron, Cyril Doisneau, Patrick Doyon, Jean-Paul Eid, Pascal Girard, Réal Godbout, Janice Nadeau, Michel Rabagliati, Marc Simard, Rémy Simard, Siris and Leif Tande
La BD S’Expose au Musee:
15 Artisites de La Pastèque Inspires par la Collection
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts
November 6, 2013 to March 30, 2014
also, there is this “family activity” scheduled:
Come and meet Quebec’s leading comic-strip artists in connection with this exhibition celebrating the 15th anniversary of the publishing house La Pastèque!
Sundays, November 10, 17 and 24 – 3 p.m.
Duration: 60 minutes
Maximum: 25 people
Artists will demonstrate their drawing techniques, while explaining their work and sources of inspiration.
*Pass required and are available at the Family Lounge in the Studios Art & Education Michel de la Chenelière starting at 10 a.m. on the day of the activity.
The political cartoon drawings and oil paintings of Josh Silburt (1914 – 1991) will be featured throughout the month of October at Art-Square Gallery, 334 Dundas Street W. opposite the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Josh Silburt was born in Plum Coulee, Manitoba, July 24, 1914. He studied at the Winnipeg School of Art under the direction of Group of Seven member, L.L. Fitzgerald and in the early 1930’s rode the rails to Toronto to become a sports and political cartoonist.
He continued to study art evenings at the Ontario College of Art and Design and at Central Technical School while he tried to earn a living by day with his drawing. In the meantime, Josh became a committed Communist and his political activism created a complex set of challenges that culminated in his being fired from his job as staff political cartoonist in the early days of the cold war. At the end of the Stalin era, disillusioned by the dark turn that Communist regime took he and many of his cohort on the Jewish left wing abandoned their political ideals and set their lives in a new direction.
Josh, along with a small group of landscape painters from the Willowdale Group of Artists in north Toronto, focused on interpreting the Canadian wilderness, building upon the style and perspective of the earlier Group of Seven. As Canada passed its 100th birthday many Canadians re-kindled a love for their natural surroundings. Josh developed his unique style of palette knife application of vivid oil impasto and later brushed acrylics, capturing the beauty and ruggedness of Canada. Over the next 4 decades of prolific painting and evolving technique, Josh enjoyed considerable success with numerous one-man shows across Canada. His work appears in private and public collections throughout the world.
This new show presents his political cartoons from the 1940’s published in the mainstream and communist press including the Toronto Daily Star, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Telegram and Sydney Post Record, together with a selection of his colorful and dynamic paintings of the rugged scenery of Algonquin Park, Haliburton, Algoma and the west coast of Canada.
It also will be the Toronto lunch of a handsome coffee table book dedicated to his work.
Full disclosure; Josh Silburt is the cousin [brother in-law of the grandmother of] Max Douglas, aka Salgood Sam, cartoonist and publisher of this site.
Where: 334 Dundas St. West, Toronto – When: October 7 – November 4, 2013
Weekly Event Synopses
Thursday October 10, 7pm: Vernissage and book launch: “A Colourful Life – the art and drawing of Josh Silburt”, Allan Silburt, author.
“A Colourful Life” is a showcase of Silburt’s work over the six decades of his career as an artist and cartoonist. With over 250 illustrations presented in high resolution and large format, it is a delight to the eye. The biography is presented based on first-hand accounts by the artist’s son, Allan Silburt and supplemented by extensive research on the relevant events of the time period including a capsule history of life on the Jewish Left in the mid-20th century. The graphic design, by Marie-Claude Quenneville, is elegant and tasteful as drawings, photographs, newspaper clippings and artwork are woven together with the narrative.
Allan Silburt is the youngest son of the artist. He grew up surrounded by paintings in a home in which vacation meant tagging along on road trips throughout Canada with artists and family members. Allan runs Seven Oaks Fine Art which is dedicated to the preservation of the art of Josh Silburt. He holds degrees in Engineering and Applied science from the University of Waterloo and Carleton University.
Thursday October 17, 7pm: Book launch: “J.B. Salsberg – a life of commitment”, Dr. Gerald Tulchinsky, Prof. Emeritus, Queens University.
This book follows the life and intellectual journey of Joseph Baruch Salsberg, a Polish-Jewish immigrant who became a major figure of the Ontario Left, a leading voice for human rights in the Ontario Legislature, and an important journalist in the Jewish community. His life trajectory mirrored many of the most significant transformations in Canadian political and social life in the twentieth century. It is fitting that this book launch takes will take place right in the heart of the riding of St Andrews, that Salsberg represented as MPP for the Labour-Progressive (Communist) party from 1943 to 1955.
Gerald Tulchinsky is an emeritus professor in the Department of History at Queen’s University. He is also the author of Canada’s Jews and a winner of both the J.I. Segal Award and Toronto Jewish Book Award.
Wednesday October 23, 7pm: “Behind the Podium at Sotheby’s”, David Silcox, Former President of Sotheby’s Canada, Senior Fellow at Massey College, University of Toronto.
David Silcox is an art historian and cultural bureaucrat, who has written books on Christopher Pratt, Tom Thomson (with Harold Town), the Group of Seven, and David Milne, including a 2-volume, fully illustrated Catalogue Raisonné of Milne’s paintings. He has served three levels of government in senior
cultural policy positions, two universities: Associate Dean at York University and as a Senior Fellow at Massey College, UofT, and a multinational corporation for twelve years as President of Sotheby’s Canada, from which post he recently stepped down to pursue projects in the arts — beginning with a
limited edition facsimile publication of a long lost diary of Emily Carr’s trip to Alaska in 1907, which he found last year. David will speak about the Canadian art auction market in general and stories about the Group of Seven art market in particular.
Tuesday October 29, 7pm: “A Tang of the Woods: The Group of Seven and their influence on Canadian landscape painting”, Catherine Sinclair, Senior Curator – Ottawa Art Gallery.
In 1913, young Canadian artists Lawren S. Harris and J.E.H. MacDonald travelled to see a touring show of Scandinavian art at the Albright Art Gallery in Buffalo, NY. Though their thoughts of painting their homeland were already fermenting, this experience was considered notable by both, and served as an
inspiration for the method with which they tackled this idea. Indeed, for Harris and MacDonald the inspiration lay in the way in which the northern European artists had sought to depict their own soil through attempting to capture a greater spirituality of the land. Reflecting on this experience, MacDonald wrote in 1931, “may there always be a tang of the woods in Canadian art, whatever it may make of the standards of Paris.” It was in this that they encouraged each other and the other young artists who came together to form the Group of Seven in 1920.
 J.E.H. MacDonald, “Scandinavian Art,” lecture given at the Art Gallery of Toronto, April 17th, 1931.
Catherine will speak on the genesis of this trend in Canadian landscape painting and its influence on subsequent painters such as Henri Masson and Josh Silburt.
Catherine Sinclair is Senior Curator at the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG). She earned a Master’s Degree in Canadian Art History from Carleton University (Ottawa, ON) in 2006. At the OAG, she has contributed essays to numerous exhibition catalogues, including most recently Natural Motif: Lorraine Gilbert and Natasha Mazurka (2013) and Pat Durr: Persistence of Chaos (2012), and curated many exhibitions, such as Explode: Marcelle Ferron and Rita Letendre (2013), Wally Dion: Star Blankets (2011), and Wyse Works: Exposing the Inevitable (2011). Furthermore, she has presented on a variety of Canadian art historical topics in forums including the University Art Association Conference (UAAC) (Concordia University, Montreal, QC, 2012), the Magnetic North Theatre Festival (Ottawa, 2011), an Ontario Association of Art Galleries (OAAG) panel at the Art Gallery of Hamilton (2011), the University of Ottawa (2009), and the Canadian Women Artists History Initiative Conference (CWAHI) (Concordia University, Montreal, QC, 2008 and 2012).
02.May.2013 Happy 15th Birthday, La Pastèque
The Montreal comics publisher is celebrating its fifteenth (!) anniversary with an exhibit at the Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal. 15 of the the cartoonists published by the company will reinterpret 15 works of art hanging in the museum, in comics form, and the pairs of works will be exhibited together, with the results collected in a book. Isabelle Arsenault, Pascal Blanchet, Paul Bordeleau, Pascal Colpron, Cyril Doisneau, Patrick Doyon, Jean-Paul Eid, Pascal Girard, Réal Godbout, Janice Nadeau, Michel Rabagliati, Marc Simard, Rémi Simard, Siris, and Leif Tande are the participants. The exhibit will run from November to March of 2014.
by BK Munn
Vancouver’s Cloudscape Comics Collective, publishers over the last 5 years of seven books, including an annual self-titled anthology, will launch a group art exhibit May 3 at Ayden Gallery in Vancouver. The exhibit highlights the work of over 30 choice contributors to the Collective since its founding in 2008, including Sam & Fuzzy creator Sam Logan, Simpsons artist Nina Matsumoto, Wasted Talent creator Angela Melick, painter Laura Bifano, video game artist Edison Yan, Much the Miller’s Son creator Steve LeCoulliard, and veteran underground comics artist Colin Upton. Arrayed before their adoring public and curious passerby alike will be pages from the upcoming anthology Waterlogged: Tales from the Seventh Sea (check out the kickstarter here) as well as comic pages and illustrations from each artist’s personal work.
Billing it as a “giant show” launching with a signing by all the involved creators, Cloudscape founder Jeff Ellis reminds us of the origin of the retrospective: “I had a dream that I wanted to boost local comics in Vancouver. The next idea that came… [was] ‘we have all of these artists making comics – rather than spending money to do our own individual works, why don’t we work together and pool our resources to publish something?’”
Cloudscape’s Stratus art exhibit will launch on May 3rd at 7:00 pm and run until June 2nd, 2013.
21.Mar.2013 The 2013 Doug Wright Awards short-list
A feature event at TCAF, The Doug Wright Awards announced their 2013 finalists this morning.
The 9th annual awards short-list includes established creators, past winners, and many first-time nominees. They also unveiled the official poster drawn by 2012 Best Book Award winner & 2013 nominee, Ethan Rilly.
The 2013 Doug Wright Award nominees for Best Book are:
- Lose #4 by Michael DeForge (Koyama Press)
- By This Shall You Know Him by Jesse Jacobs (Koyama Press)
- The Song of Roland by Michel Rabagliati (Conundrum Press)
- Pope Hats #3 by Ethan Rilly (AdHouse Books)
- Wax Cross by Tin Can Forest (Koyama Press)
The 2013 Doug Wright Spotlight Award nominees are:
(a.k.a. “The Nipper” recognizing talents worthy of wider recognition)
- Nina Bunjevac for Heartless (Conundrum Press)
- Brandon Graham for King City (Image Comics)
- Patrick Kyle for Black Mass, Distance Mover, Wowee Zonk #4
- George Walker for The Mysterious Death of Tom Thomson (The Porcupine’s Quill)
- Eric Kostiuk Williams for Hungry Bottom Comics
The 2013 Pigskin Peters Award nominees are:
(Recognizing the best in experimental and avant-garde comics)
- Hamilton Illustrated by David Collier (Wolsak & Wynn)
- Hellberta #2 and “Sir Softly” from š! #12, by Michael Comeau
- Michael DeForge, Larry Eisenstein, Jesse Jacobs, Mark Laliberte (editor), Marc Ngui, Ethan Rilly, Tin Can Forest and Magda Trzaski for 4PANEL, a special comics features in Carousel Magazine #28 and #29
- Ginette Lapalme for “So, what should we do with ourselves?…” from Wowee Zonk #4 and “Little Stump” in š! #12
The Giants of the North: The Canadian Cartoonists Hall of Fame announce that the Quebec cartoonist Albert Chartierwill be posthumously inducted uring the May 11, 2013 ceremony in Toronto. Chartier died in 2004 ending an extraordinary career that lasted more than 65 years during which he drew several popular comic strips including Séraphin, Les Canadiens and Onésime. Onésime is his most well-known work, running for 59 years from November 1943 until June 2002.
About the DWA: Founded in 2004, The Doug Wright Awards recognize the best in English-language comics (or translations of French) by Canadian cartoonists. Now in their ninth year, the Awards will be handed out at a ceremony at Toronto’s Marriott Bloor Yorkville Hotel on Saturday May 11 from 7:00 – 9:00 pm.
The Doug Wright Awards will also be holding a fundraising auction of original art this spring by more than a dozen well-known Canadian cartoonists, including Chester Brown, Seth, Michael DeForge, Michael Cho, John Martz, David Collier and David Boswell.
The finalists for the 2013 Doug Wright Awards were chosen from a long list of more than 120 100 works and submissions published during the 2012 calendar year. This year’s nominating committee included Jerry Ciccoritti, Seth, Bryan Munn, Chris Randle and Sean Rogers.
For more information about the DWAs:
Media inquiries: Shireen Cuthbert firstname.lastname@example.org
Jamie Coville, independent roving comics reporter,
sent us his selection of recordings and photos from the recent convention.
Ty Templeton’s How To Write a Graphic Novel (47:32, 43.5mb)
Ty gave a shortened version of the workshops he gives at his Comic Book Boot Camp. while walking around and engaging the audience. Ty is an excellent teacher, I’ll be putting this one on my ipod myself to hear what he has to say.
Mike Zeck Spotlight (40:00, 36.6mb)
Moderated by Fred Kennedy, Mike Zeck talks about his career and doing licensing work vs drawing comic book stories. I’ll give you a guess of a hint having not yet listened, it involves something that looks like a marked up S?
Sketch Duel: Mike McKone and Lee Weeks (50:34, 46.3mb)
Mike McKone and Lee Weeks draw the Hulk for the sketch duel while people in the audience give suggestions? Thankfully, being a recording, while they sketch they answered some questions for the audience too. The panel was moderated by Fred Kennedy too. He’s good so it should be a decent listen.
Sketch Panel: Joe Jusko (53:03, 48.6mb)
Scheduled to be a sketch duel between Joe Jusko and Mark Texeira but Texeira did not show up so Joe talks while he draws on his own. No mention of moderator for this one.
Jamie Coville hosts these and much more on his site here.
15.Mar.2013 Inkstuds Live at the Vancouver Art Gallery
As part of the continuing comics coverage associated with the Art Spiegelman Co-Mix show, Inkstuds podcast host Robin McConnell will be interviewing cartoonists Emily Carroll, Brandon Graham and Jen Vaughn “on the art and tradition of comics.” The creators will also be signing their books after the event.
Tuesday, March 19
Free for VAG Members or with Gallery admission/pay-what-you-can
03.Mar.2013 C-list – all the pretty pictures
Max here, thought i’d put in a post, we’ve been slow with the updates lately. Maybe a good time to also mention we’re always open to context appropriate guest blogging here at Sequential, if you’re interested in generally unpaid writing opportunities check out our about page to get out mandate and let us know if you have a story.
Item: Starting off this line up of links underlining the update we made a little while ago to our post about Joe Ollmann‘s next book, now called Science Fiction, previously Burden. Now being published by Conundrum, previously D+Q. The book moved from D+Q to Conundrum and re-titled ”Science Fiction” after D+Q backed out. Joe noted on his blog, “my latest book called Burden was supposed to come out from Drawn & Quarterly in January. It didn’t. They feel this book is not a good follow up to Midlife and decided not to publish it. I think Burden is a good book which is decidedly more serious in tone than the farce quality of Midlife, but it’s the book I want to do right now. So, the book is now being published by my old friend the good Andy Brown at Conundrum Press, and should debut at TCAF in May. As the book was already listed in catalogues and websites, we decided to change the name to simplify the publishing process.” – Kind of surprising D+Q backed away from something more serious? I guess i’ll have to reset some of my own assumptions about them. I’ve got a preview of the new book from Joe and plan to sit down with it soon with posting a review in mind.
Item: Rick Trembles says Happy 80th birthday King Kong! A film produced by a great, great great? Cousin as it happens.
Item: The Comic Book Lounge & Gallery, just after it’s 1 year anniversary of opening, threw lots of parties, and have really established themselves as one of the prime comics masons of Toronto in a very short time. Happy birthday and a bit guys.
Item: On youtube my old buddy George sat down with Jeff Lemire to discusses his approach to Animal Man and his work on Superboy.
Item: Over on the Fredcast, Fred had a great talk with writer Conor McCreery, of Kill Shakespeare fame.
Item: Once a great curmudgeon about the internet, Colin Upton has a tumbler page now!
Item: Nina Bunjevac posted the cover for the new french edition of her book, Heartless, to appear in April from Ici-Meme, and some more examples of her great rendering skill with this shot of Zemun, Serbia.
For my own bit I’ve been busy, Dream Life comes very near being done, had the pleasure of illustrating something connected with Dr Daniel Levitin! Cool. Also had fun taking a swing at Lichtenstein for the IMAGE DUPLICATOR show being put on by Rian Hughes. Check this FB group to see more about that. See you after the page turn! – max
22.Feb.2013 Valium Exhibit, Montreal
Henriette Valium Exhibit
January 30 to March 2
L’Espace Robert Poulin
#411 du 372 Sainte-Catherine Ouest
(édifice Le Belgo)
still some time to see this show!
18.Feb.2013 “I did Maus and I did this page.”
Notes on Art Spiegelman in Vancouver @ the VAG
By David Lester
As he puffed on a cigarette, Art Spiegelman was charming and witty in conversation despite the meandering questions of Vancouver Art Gallery curator Bruce Grenville. In town for the opening of the art gallery’s retrospective of Spiegelman’s work called CO-MIX, the artist touched on his origins as a cartoonist at Topps Bubblegum; the stain glass window of art he created at the request of his former high school; the importance of Robert Crumb, Spain, S. Clay Wilson; his New Yorker covers; and making prints from stone.
In reference to a projected slide Spiegelman talked about how it was a page of art he is proud of and it “took six months to draw,” and he thought it weird to be able to say in retrospect “I did Maus and I did this page.”
He pointed out the unique qualities inherent in comics to be able to compress a story. For Maus, Spiegelman wanted the art to have a hand drawn feel but the look of a font. And how Maus “was built around language.”
Spiegelman noted the ongoing debates over comics as high art or low art, and his annoyance at Roy Lichtenstein. “Lichtenstein did no more for comics than Warhol did for soup,” he said.
Art Spiegelman CO-MIX: A Retrospective of Comics, Graphics and Scraps runs until June 9, 2013 at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
16.Jul.2012 The Comic Book Lounge Kids Comicfest
July 21 – KIDS COMICSFEST
11am-4pm in conjunction with sponsors the Toronto Cartooonists Workshop, Playful Grounds Coffee Shop and the Joe Shuster Awards! Guests include Willow Dawson, Agnes Garbowska, Chris Yao and Karly McDonald. (We will be open one hour earlier than normal on July 21)
August 18 – A NIGHT WITH PLAYBOY CARTOONIST DOUG SNEYD
7pm-10pm $10 Admission. In anticipation of the event we have lots of copies of THE ART OF DOUG SNEYD in stock. Let Joe know if you are interested in getting one for the event. We’ve seen the image for the exclusive Black Canary print for the event and it is something that you are going to want to get.
by BK Munn
Toronto artist Shary Boyle has been named as Canada’s chosen representative to the prestigious 55th International Art exhibition at the Venice Biennale for 2013, according to Marc Mayer, Director and CEO of the National Gallery of Canada in a surprise announcement Friday night at the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art Toronto (MOCCA).
Mayer spoke on behalf of the National Gallery of Canada and the Canada Council for the Arts who are again working in partnership to organize the Canadian representation at the 2013 Venice Biennale. The only international visual arts exhibition to which Canada sends official national representation, the Biennale is among the most important contemporary exhibitions in the world and will showcase official entries from over 80 countries. The Canada Pavilion is situated in the heart of the historic exhibition grounds and has presented the work of some of Canada’s most accomplished artists on the world stage for over 60 years. (The Globe and Mail reports on the sorry state of the Pavilion and the lack of Canadian funding here.)
Boyle has become known in comics circles for her narrative drawings. Combining drawings with text, her early work explored themes of shame, sexuality, and body image in an autobiographical mode similar to the work of comics makers like Aline Kominsky, Megan Kelso, and Julie Doucet, but without those artists’ more traditional approach to word-balloon-heavy sequential storytelling. Her works on paper (she now works extensively in ceramics) fall somewhere between the Royal Art Lodge/Marcel Dzama schools and the comics and collective doodle art of Marc Bell. In 2004, Conundrum Press released Witness My Shame, a collection of Boyle’s self-published mini-books filled with captioned drawings depicting embarrassing life moments and romantic humiliations. Her work has also appeared in the U.S. avant garde comics anthology Kramers Ergot (issues 6 and 7), leading her to be sometimes associated with that aspect of contemporary comics making, although she recently noted that “the world of comics can be a sequestered and dusty place.” Boyle remains the only artist associated with comics to represent a country at Venice, although some U.S. artists (Crumb, Chris Ware) have showed at the bigger American Biennials (Whitney, Sante Fe).
The selection committee for the Venice show included Gaëtane Verna, Director of The Power Plant, Toronto; Timothy Long, Head Curator of the MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina; Sarah Fillmore, Chief Curator at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax; Josée Drouin-Brisebois and Marc Mayer of the National Gallery of Canada.
Josée Drouin-Brisebois, Curator of Contemporary art at the National Gallery of Canada, will be the curator for the Canadian project.
According to the National Gallery’s press release, Boyle is known for her “bold, fantastical explorations of imaginary narratives featuring a cast of marginal characters. By giving voice to these alienated figures she redeems their emotional states of pain, grief and anger with defiant grace. Employing a high level of hand-made craft and detail her multi-disciplinary practice mines the history of porcelain figurines, animist mythologies and arcane techniques to create a symbolic language uniquely her own.
Fueled by her concerns about class and gender injustice, Boyle transgresses traditional boundaries between human and animal, animate and inanimate, life and death, young and old, male and female. The artist embraces the realm between the tangible and intangible – the soul and what is timeless, essential. From sculpture to projection she translates her personal vision of sexuality, relationships and human vulnerability through a poetic and humane lens.”
Gallery director Marc Mayer sees her as “one of Canada’s most innovative mid-career artists”
Born in Scarborough, Ontario in 1972, Boyle graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in 1994 and has had solo exhibitions in Canada, the United States and Europe, most recently Fleshand Blood at UQAM, Montreal, Quebec which traveled to Art Gallery of Ontario and Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver (2011); Canadian Artist at the BMO Project Room, Toronto (2012); The Illuminations Project with Emily Duke at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia (2011); Moon Hunter at Fumetto Festival, Lucerne, Switzerland (2009) and The History of Light at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Lethbridge (2008). Boyle also participated in L’Espace des métamorphoses, Biennale internationale de Vallauris, France (2012); Le sort probable de l’homme qui avait avalé le fantôme in conjunction with Nouveau Festival, Centre Pompidou, Paris (2009); Noise Ghost (Shary Boyle and Shuvinai Ashoona), Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Hart House, University of Toronto (2009); My Winnipeg, La Maison Rouge, Fondation Antoine de Galbert, Paris (2011) which traveled to Musée International des Arts Modestes, Sete, France and Plug In ICA, Winnipeg (2012). Shary Boyle has performed at the Olympia Theatre, Paris (2005), The Sonar Festival, Barcelona (2005), The Hammer Museum, LA (2006, 2008), Brooklyn Academy of Music (2008), La Maison Rouge, Paris (2011) and presented a new theatre work Everything under The Moon with musical collaborator Christine Fellows at the Enwave Theatre, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto in February 2012. Shary Boyle was a finalist for the Sobey Award (2007, 2009), the recipient of the Gershon Iskowitz Prize (2009) and the Hnatyshyn Foundation Award in 2010.
05.Jun.2012 FBDM 2012 | Day 3
Video of Day 3 of The first Festival de Bandes Dessinées de Montréal!
A small but promising start.
Organizers estimate 5000+ attended the festival to meet the 37 exhibitors,
despite inclement weather and persistent rain all through Saturday.
Exhibitors expressed satisfaction with the even and the crowds seemed to be having fun.
I shot footage of day one, planed to return Saturday but it rained a lot, all day.
Got caught down town running errands and in the end stayed in once i got back home.
But Sunday talking to guests everyone said despite the horrid weather there was still a good turn out and decent sales all things considered.
Here’s some photos taken Saturday by Jack Ruttan.
But Sunday was lovely, the rain stayed away leaving clear sky and lots of people in attendance. It was pretty crowded really, I can only imagine of more English media had known of the show and passed on word to the student populations of Concordia or McGill.
Striking and maybe a by-product of the area – lots of families live around the park – was the remarkably mixed audience of ages and genders. It’s not really unusual given the more mainstream status of BD in french culture but it stands out even against the diverse crowds seen at TCAF.
I shot a lot more footage, and had many pleasant conversations though mostly off camera. What I caught on camera, I made into the nice long nearly 20 min clip up top. A virtual visit to the premier FBDM. Complete with a welcome from Daniel Dupré, one of the co-founders, and a few random interviews and such.
Here’s some more reporting on the event From Geekorner Montréal, including a photo essay with the names and links for many of the guests.
And Andy of Conundrum Press posted a nice long blog post about the show here.
Andy has been actively promoting more Quebecois creators of late, publishing several translations of books previously only available in French.
30.May.2012 The First Festival BD de Montréal, June 1st-3rd
The fist FBDM, Festival de Bandes Dessinées de Montréal, is this coming weekend.
News to me, not much press to the English media it seems. Well, then again it’s been a while since I read the local weeklies.
Mostly free to attend I think, it’s being held in senic Parc La Fontaine, at the Space La Fontaine [map]. Part of the set up will be under shelters but outdoors, under the wings you can see in the illustration for the show. Here’s some shots of the space and the floor plan. Photos link to source, including this one in a old local issue of the Merto paper that talks about recent renovations to the space. Interested to see that. 8 years ago or so it was a sad cafeteria, but i’ve not looked back in since. The grounds are gorgeous. The Daily schedule is here, day one starts at 1pn, two and three at 10am.
Weather permitting it should make for a lovely atmosphere. The organizers, in collaboration with Lyon Comics Festival & le Collectif Montréal BD-Lyon, are encouraging you to come ‘talk comics’ with a wide variety of authors, community members and their official ambassador. A fan of comics [I should hope so], Stéphane Archambault!
But if comics is what you’re really after, rather than pop stars, the list of exhibitors is quite good. It includes publishers Colosse, Le Studio coopératif Premières Lignes, Bayard Canada, Pow Pow, Éditions TRIP, Glénat Québec, Boomerang éditeur jeunesse, Editions Michel Quintin, Front Froid, Éditions Petit Homme, Presses Aventure & éditions Les 400 coups. Local retailers Otaku Manga Lounge, Librairie Drawn & Quarterly, librairie Planète BD, Librairie Millenium & Librairie Marché du Livre! They also have something called an “ESPACE FANZINE”, for the small press I gather. They appear to be rotating the zine publishers, check this page for what days they will appear: They are Adeline Lamarre, Vaar editor. Antonin Buisson, Antonin Bush. Boom. Cathon. Danielle Archambault, DanieleBD. Dynamo-machine. Frederic Auln. Group Fanzine Frontenac Library. Joseph Baril. Kaylynne Johnson. Martin Monette-Patenaude. Mathieu Dubois. Pierre-Luc Lebeau. Rémi Mathieu Bernier et Paradis, Zidara9. & Martyn Pigeon, Breath of Eden.
And not least of all, many authors! First names last, Authors in attendance are as follows ● A., Alex ( Agent Jean ) ● Al + Flag ● Angers, Philip ● Antoine, Frédéric (El Spectro, Biodôme) ● Archambault, Danièle ● Banville, Simon (Asymptote) ● Baril, Joseph ● Beaulieu, Jimmy ( Romantic comedy pornographic ) ● Bedard, Sophie ● Bernier, Mathieu ( Zidara9 ) ● Bérubé, Jean●Sébastien ( Radisson ) ● Bottenberg, Rupert ● Bouchard, Pierre ● Boudreau, Iris ( of Chat Hosts ) ● Boum ( Boumeries ) ● Bourgoin, Bruno (Front Froid) ● Boutin-Gagne, Patrick ( Brögunn ) ● Buisson, Antonin ● Cantin, Samuel ● Carrier, Dominique ● Cathon ● Champoux, Yanick ( Academy of Bounty Hunters ) ● Claveau, Marie-Pier ( The Front ) ● Colpron, Pascal ● Cyr, Maxim ( The dragouilles ) ● Delaf ( Les Nombrils ) ● Denomée, Ariane ● Demers, Tristan ( Gargouille ) ● Desharnais, Francis ( Burquette ) ● Dijef ( Götterdämmerung ) ● Dion, Jeik ( La Grande Illusion ) ● Dubuc, Maryse ( Les Nombrils ) ● Duguay, Ghyslain ( Lionel et Nooga ) ● Eid, Jean●Paul ( Jérôme Bigras ) ● Etien, David ( The Four of Baker Street ) ● Falardeau, Michel ( Luck ) ● Forsythe, Mathew (Jinchalo) ● Fortin, Ian ● Fournier, Pierre ( Red ketchup ) ● Gagnon, André ● Giard, Vincent ● Girard, Philippe ( Kill Velasquez ) ● Godbout, Réal ( Red Ketchup ) ● Godbout, Benedict ( Academy of Bounty Hunters ) ● Goldstyn, Jacques ( The Débrouillards ) ● Gottot, Karine ( Les dragouilles ) ● Goulet, Albert-André ( Lionel et Nooga ) ● Grant, Michel ( Ti-Guy ) ● Groovie, Annie ( Leon ) ● Hellman, Michel ( Mile-End ) ● Hicham, Absa ● Jalette, Jocelyn ● Jobin, Olivier ( The Front ) ● Johnson, Kaylynne ● Jourdain, Fred ( Dragon Bleu ) ● Lacombe, Michel ( Academy of bounty hunters ) ● Lamarre, Adeline ● Landry, Mario ● Lapierre, Francis ( Wild Chronicles ) ● Laurent, Dominique ● Leriche●Gionet, Samantha ● Levasseur, Marcel ● Loisel, Regis ( General Store ) ● Marcotte, Jean●Philippe ● Mandel, Lisa ( Nini yield ) ● Minikim ( Alta Donna ) ● Mongrain, Yan (Front Froid) ● Ollman, Joe (Mid Life) ● Pageau, Marc ● Paradis, Rémi ( Zidara9 ) ● Parent, Raymond ( BiBop ) ● Pare●Sorel, Julien ( Le Front ) ● Patenaude-Monette, Martin ● Rabagliati, Michel ( Paul ) ● Rodier, Yves ( The Spectro ) ● Rodier, Denis ( The order of the dragon ) ● Roy, Myriam (Front Froid) ● Santos, Carlos ● Sherwin, Tija (You are a cat) ● Simard, Alexandre ● Sirois, Shawn ( Zoockey ) ● Sirois, Bob ( Zoockey ) ● SIRIS ( non la Vogue ) ● Tessier, Marc ● Tija, Sherwin (You are a cat) ● Trahan, Sébastien ● Tripp, Jean-Louis ( General Store ) ● Turgeon, David ( The Muse recursive ) ● Vachon, Jean-Francois ( Zoockey ) ● Vaillancourt, Michel ( Lionel and Nooga ) ● Vaillancourt, Sylvie ● Vézina, Benoît (Front Froid) ● Voro ( Été 63 ) ● Wany, Stanley ● Zviane ( of Chat Hosts ).
Whew! Let me know if I missed any typos, It’s not a very large space so expect it to be packed!
Here’s the PR: The FBDM is a place to meet and exchange ideas with professional cartoonists. It aims to discover the diversity of the 9th art with all Montrealers and all Quebecers: children, families and fans of comics in general.
Many free activities make up the program: theatrical improvisations on BD, BD readings, book signings, panel discussions, and comic animations for the whole family! The various proposed activities and the educational component of FBDM make a true inter-generational event. Many exhibitors reflecting all types of comics will be present and will offer readings as varied and exciting.
Quebecois Comics is currently experiencing a boom thanks to designers like Michel Rabagliati, Guy Delisle, Delaf and Dubuc. Montreal, cultural capital the province, has much to offer it’s visitors.
In a festive atmosphere, fueled by the imminent arrival of summer, the organizer look forward to seeing you at L’Espace La Fontaine this coming weekend!
Sounds great! Wish I was exhibiting! Might ask if there’s space free, I live blocks from this so wouldn’t be hard to set up in a few hours.
08.May.2012 Salgood Sam’s TCAF 2012 report!
This is a truncated version, as I had already posted a lot of the audio stuff before so I just linked to that content here. If you want to read the full version check it out here.
Recorded some of the sights and sounds of various events on my trip to Toronto for TCAF this year.
I was a tourist this time for a change, so was able to take in a lot of stuff. Great fun and got to spend some quality time with lots of old friends. Also met and talked a few times briefly with Fabio Moon which was nice. Been an admirer of his and his brother’s work for years. Ran into him last at the wrap party but was so wasted I probably gave him a funny impression! Ah well, they seem like very laid-back guys. Hope to chat with them under more calm, less profession-defined circumstances one day. Also had a few good short chats with Tom Neely, enjoyed a nice diner with James Turner, Brian Evinou, and Noel Tuazon. Also had a nice dinner on the last night with my primary collaborator here on Sequential Bryan Munn. We only see each other in person a few times a year so that was great. Met Jason Bradshaw in person finally and got a full set of his Boredom pays minis including he said the last copy left ever of his first issue. Had a warm chat on the TCAF floor with Artist and printer Tyrone McCarthy. Oh I could go on and on probably but can’t recall all the names I should right now so lets get on with it. Here’s my Video log, links to stuff, and some of the audio I recorded over the course of the 4 days. For the full experience make sure to have annotations turned on when you play the clip.
In order of appearance and with links as follows…
A few highlights of the first instalment of The Comic Book Lounge’s On the couch [should that not be chesterfield?] with Ty Templeton! His guests were Mark Askwith (producer, InnerSpace), Award-winning cartoonist Scott Chantler (Three Thieves, Two Generals), artist & designer Ken Lashley (Blackhawks), and Will Pascoe (director, Lost Heroes Movie).
And I got roped into this one too at the end. Sorry about my quite voice and poor rhetoric, i don’t level well in a setting like that, I have to be right on top of the mic to be audible most of the time. very low voice and I’m not in the habit of projecting it a lot.
That’s followed but a good 12 or so min of table porn, i tried to scan everything that was on display at TCAF. I missed a room in the back and a few other small spots but otherwise this is just about ever inch of exhibitors spreads, shot in the last hour of the show on Sunday.
Some shots of my Haul from the trip, 22 books I traded for, was given or bought. Look for a nice clean shot of that at the end of the post here.
Some footage of the kick off event, Jeff Smith, Gabriel Ba, and Fabio Moon in conversation moderated by Mark Askwith! Listen to it here.
And last, some snaps of the drawing jam between Becky Cloonan & Zach Worton at the Third Annual Official TCAFête.
It was all a blast! This is just a tiny bit of what I saw and did. TCAF gets bigger every year and this is my first time just going to hang out and take in the sights [I've exhibited I think every year since 2005?] It’s a hell of a lot more fun to attend than exhibit I have to say.
Max here, just got back home to Montreal from TCAF in Toronto.
Waiting for my own half hour video journal to upload i thought i’d gather up some of the various posts and reports i’ve seen so far over the weekend about the big show. Up top is a very slick looking tour of it all put together by Ryan Couldrey.
Item[s]: The Doug Wright Awards got lots of press, the Gazette noted Aislin’s induction into Giants of the North, the Canadian Cartooning Hall of Fame. Yahoo news asked Who was Doug Wright and why is there an award named after him? The CBC noted the winners in their Arts & Entertainment section, and the National ran this report. And the QUILLBLOG posted about the awards a couple times.
Item: The QUILLBLOG also ran some other TCAF stories. A two part series called Killer comics. Part one covers Koyama Publishing and Conundrum Press, part two Editions Tchai, Top Shelf, and Jeff Lemire! And this post about Guy Delisle’s Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City.
Item: The Torontoist posted a couple of lists of Five. One near the end of the even, of Five Up-and-Coming Cartoonists they discovered at TCAF 2012. And one at the start by our own D.Hains of “Five Artists to Catch at TCAF this Weekend“. Both are still good lists to look at, you might just discover something!
Item: Eugene Zhilinsky posted his live sketches from TCAF on the Editions Tchai blog here.
Item: The comic book lounge ran some FCBD events in parallel with TCAF including a new late night panel/talk-show/bar room after-show chat thing called ON THE COUCH with Ty Templeton that will be posted online at some point [look for some highlights in my video journal including me getting called up to the couch for some questions]. And the nights talk was wrapped with the announcement of this years Joe Shuster Award nominees. The lists for the different categories are going up on their site a bit at a time right now, scroll around to find them all.
Item: BlogTO posted a photo report about Kid Koala’s Space Cadet tour, looks like it was quite the visual spectacle as well as an auditory one.
Item: The Ottawa Citizen ran a story on the 4th about “the rise of highbrow comics”. Sounds a bit to my ear almost like a “comics are not just for kids” piece really, but it’s all good. They spotlight the work of Zak Sally & Jeff Lemire.
Item: The IGN blog posted a photo report of their blogers visit to TCAF here.
Item: An to wrap it for this post, ‘cus you’r going to be a while getting through these, The National Post has run Q&As every year with new up and comers appearing at TCAF, this year there are a LOT of them.
MariNaomi, Leah V Wishnia, Benjamin Marra, Jesse Moynihan, Natalie Nourigat, Kristina Stipetic,
Beth Hetland, David Blumenstein, Simon Moreton, Jen Breach, Andrew Fulton, Leland Myrick,
Ed Choy, Matthew Holm, Maxeem Konrardy, Farley Katz, Matthew Sheret, Alison Acton,
Nina Bunjevac, Ryan Dunlavey, Larry Hancock, Michael Cherkas, Emi Lenox, Most Ancient,
Christopher Baldwin, The Devastator, Eugene Zhilinsky and Tatyana Yuditskaya, Deanna Echanique,
Maiji/Mary Huang, Paul Gilligan, Christine Redfern, Robert Ullman,
Mandy Ord, Jose-Louis Bocquet, Kris Mukai & Kris Pearn!
An orgy of major comic book goodness
is happening across Canada over the next few days,
so let’ get to it!
Item! Dustin Harbin announced he will be one of the presenters at The Wright Awards on Saturday.
Item! An angry review of Guy Delisle’s Jerusalem. Brad Mackay also reviews it for the Globe, the AV Club profiles Delisle here, and Macleans profiles it here. The book has its Canadian debut at TCAF and apparently 100,000 copies have been printed.
Item! The Ottawa Comiccon is next weekend, May 12-13.
Item! What John Martz is bringing to TCAF.
Item! A progress update from the Shuster Awards. The awards are scheduled to announce their nominees Saturday night, after the Wright Awards conclude.
Item! The aforementioned announcement being the capper to the Free Comic Book Day activities at The Comic Book Lounge in Toronto. Across town, Little Island Comics has an event scheduled as well with Andy Runton. Others? Well, there is Strange Adventures, with events at all 3 of their stores. Jay Stephens will be at my local store, The Dragon in Guelph. Kurtis Wiebe (Peter Panzerfaust) will be at Regina’s ComicReaders, Tom Grummett will be at 8th Street Books & Comics in Saskatoon, and a giant cohort of comics artists including Marcus To will be at Brampton’s Stadium Comics. All the stores in London, ON have a cool crossover for FCBD. I’m sure there are tons more, but I haven’t stumbled across them.
Item! Robert Iveniuk previews TCAF for BlogTO.
Item! I highly recommend checking out this article about a collection of mass-produced figurines based on designs by Vancouver cartoonist Len Norris. Norris was one of the great Canadian political cartoonists of the 20th Century and I had no idea these artifacts existed. There are really very few “collectibles” of this sort based on Canadian comics. A handful of paper ephemera items and toys from World War II, souvenirs featuring Jasper the Bear, a stuffed Cerebus, various mugs and t-shirts, and that’s about it.
Item! The Toronto Star interviews Kid Koala about his Space Cadet graphic novel and his musical performance of same scheduled as part of TCAF.
Item! I’m one day late on this, but rabble.ca previews a graphic history of May Day, a comic produced by a collective of Canadian artists.
Item! Not exactly comics, but the second annual Star Wars Day TO will take place at the Toronto Underground Cinema on Friday, May 4th, 2012 and all proceeds from the 2012 event will go to the SickKids Foundation. The goal is to bring together Star Wars fans of all ages and levels of interest. This family-friendly event celebrates the series through fan-created materials and activities including costume contests, trivia, special guests, prizes and more.
Item! Alice Quinn from TdotComics provides a Fan Expo Vancouver travelogue.
Item! Evan Annett picks five books to look forward to at TCAF.
Item! Fiona Staples is interviewed in this podcast from Comics Should be Good’s 3 Chicks.
Item! I gotta say, the last half-dozen or so posts on the They Stand on Guard blog describing very obscure Canadian superhero comic books like this one have been hilarious. Check it out!
15.Apr.2012 C-list – a sunday in comics
Item: - Dustin Harbin this week reposted his journal comics this past week documenting his two trips to attend the Doug Wright Awards all in one place along with an essay about what he thinks would make for the kind of awards program comics in general, from a US perspective, needs.
Item: - 20 days left till TCAF.
UPDATE: OPENING EVENT MOVED TO THURSDAY, APRIL 5. 7PM
“Mary of Mud Creek”
An exhibit of art by Caitlin Black,
including puppets, paintings, and origianl art from the graphic novel Mary of Mud Creek .
Toronto Public Library
1806 Islington Ave (at Eglington)
April 1 – 30, 2012
02.Jan.2012 2011: The Year in Review
2011: The Year That Comics Died
by BK Munn
(Or, The year that comics died, were born again, mutated, limped along in zombie form, and continued dying at the same majestic pace.)
Some notes on the year that was from the vantage-point here at the blog about Canadian comics culture.
1. What is comics, anyway?
For the last 3 months the following books have sat on my desk, waiting to be reviewed on Sequential: Melamine Car Bomb by Mark Connery, OMAC #1-4 by Dan Didio and Keith Giffen, The Klondike by Zach Worton, and Drag Bandits by Colleen Frakes and Betsey Swardlick. So, what do a punk collection of street art collected by doodle-king Marc Bell, a Jack Kirby homage penned by DC Comics publisher Dan Didio and José Muñoz-plagiarist Keith Giffen, a historical graphic novel released by A-List publisher Drawn and Quarterly, and a crowd-funded comic book about transvestite highwaymen edited by indie-cartoonist Box Brown have in common? Fucked if I know.
This is the quandary faced by anyone attempting to get a handle on the world of North American comics, circa 2011. What constitutes comics? Where are comics going and how can one humble little news blog cover the whole thing? It’s a fragmented world, to say the least. Print publishing, including books, newspaper comic strips, and traditional comic books, seems to be on its last legs. A new wave of digital and web comics are heralded as the future and a comics design and art aesthetic dominate our visual culture. What we used to think of as comics seems almost dead and buried, and yet comics in their various aspects have never been more ubiquitous, ambitious, and overwhelmingly beautiful and emotionally powerful (not to mention, financially successful). How do we reconcile the comics industry with “comics”?
In this year of revolution, war, reaction, and financial collapse, comics have been our mirror, our diversion, our comfort, and our despair. Cartoonists have taken to the streets, enlisted in the Canadian debacle in Afghanistan, were bombed, arrested, and fired. Cartoonists made us cry. But outside of very few publications, these events were not reflected in the comics of the past year. Instead we got, for the most part, teen-oriented manga, bestselling zombie comics, superhero reboots, golden age reprints, overhyped non-fiction memoirs, literary adaptations, and young adult fantasies.
The highlight of 2011 for the Sequential blog was the Toronto Comics Arts Festival and the publication of the third annual print edition of the Sequential magazine. For TCAF we provided extensive coverage, including a round-table overview, while the print magazine included tons of previews and actual comics highlighting many of the attendees of the festival.
As for the regular blog, Sequential featured a number of interviews representing a diverse cross-section of the comics landscape, including talks with Eugene Zhilinsky and Kimberley Whitchurch, Sarafin, Shannon Campbell of the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival, Rebecca Kraatz, Jesse Jacobs, Benjamin Rivers, John Martz, Joe Sacco, Joan Steacy, Mark Laliberte, Dylan Horrocks, and Nick Maandag. We also offered reviews of books by Maurice Vellekoop and various Koyama Press titles, Lorenzo Mattotti, David Lester, Joe Ollmann, George Walker, Keith Jones, and Steve Ditko. Sequential ranked the Canadian Comics of the Decade, and reported on future books by Emily Carroll, Bryan Lee O’Malley, and Jillian and Mariko Tamaki.
In publishing, the Marvel Boycott began and spread to Canada, and the company cancelled perennial sad-sack Canadian punching bag Alpha Flight. Jay Stephens ended his Oh, Brother! comic strip, the Xeric grants ended, Udon phased out pamphlet publishing, New Reliable Press ceased operations, and the Comics Code finally died.
In convention news, besides our TCAF roundup, we covered Fan Expo and a number of other events, including Wizard dropping its Winnipeg con, and a new Vancouver event announced its intentions. Venerable comics retailer Silver Snail moved and upstart Little Island opened.
The comics journalism world was rocked by the news of cartoonist and publisher Dylan Williams death, and the illness and hiatus of beloved comics newshound and critic Tom Spurgeon. Wizard Magazine imploded, and The Comics Journal received a new transfusion of talent.
3. “The Comics Industry”: Culture of Fear
I’ve been doing this year end review thing for Sequential since 2006 and the theme every year since then has been how comics, and especially the tiny world of Canadian comics, have been growing from strength to strength, becoming more popular, and becoming more accepted by what remains of mainstream culture. The evidence is always anecdotal, based mostly on industry hype and the generally blinkered view of someone (me) who spends his spare time trolling Google news for tidbits about graphic novels publishing and blog reviews. Even so, there is no denying that, despite some major successes and crossovers in the larger public consciousness, 2011 was also a year of diminished expectations. The new permanent recession economy means that our (that is “the comic book industry’s”) highs will be less high and successes will be less successful. Despite the early Christmas that comic book shops received in the form of a temporary return to 1995-era levels of sales and excitement (not to mention the 1995-era eye- and mind-bruising stories and art typical of the Image-dominated superhero comics of that time) with DC’s “New 52″ initiative, comics sales and the audience in general seems to have been shrinking for years and the trend continued in 2011. We just have to look at the numbers that comics distributor Diamond posts about sales to see how small the traditional “Direct Sales” comic shop market is, with a basic audience of little over 100,000 people in North America for even the bestselling $3 monthly comic book. This is not a mass market but a boutique industry. And that goes quadruple for Canada.
Of course, what I like to think of Canadian comics culture is much larger, even if you don’t include the audience for superheroes, and factoring in the readership for digital and webcomics, people who buy graphic novels and manga in bookstores and take them out from libraries, and those who attend comics and pop culture conventions, the world of comics is much larger than the world of the comic shop and superhero fandom. Larger for certain, but is it 10 times larger?
In regards to the actual economics of the Direct Market in Canada, I can only reiterate what I noted in last year’s report. Within the general downward decline, anecdotal evidence suggests a sort of homeostasis within the comic shop economy. There hasn’t been an avalanche of store closures, but few new stores opened and current owners aren’t exactly buying luxury Batmobiles. Ditto for the larger book market. We haven’t had something like a Borders bankruptcy, but a major Canadian book distributor (H.B. Fenn) did go under, and traditional small bookstores are closing left and right. The print book seems imperiled, yet everyone is still talking about reading and the business of digital.
Indeed, the industry seems to be contracting in very specific ways, with layoffs, book cancellations, and an eye for the corporate bottom line becoming the new norm; recessionary business strategies tailor-made for the tightly-squeezed boutique publishing/R&D organelles that DC and Marvel constitute in the larger Warner-Disney constellations, and within the larger “content producing” industries in general. Most comic creators, as Marvel illustrator Dale Eaglesham noted last week, are working in a culture of fear, wherein it seems the next digital announcement or quarterly report could signal the end of a way of life that has existed for a small number of artists and writers churning out a very specialized form of genre entertainment off and on for 60 years.
In terms of specific publishing enterprises in Canada, nothing really seismic was recorded on the Sequential Richter scale this year; the same handful of English-language publishers (Conundrum, Drawn and Quarterly, Koyama Press) lead the pack in terms of locally-produced comics, graphic novels and related publications, with a few small presses, vanity presses, self-publishers and even large-ish dilettante international concerns shepherding the occasional graphic memoir or young adult fiction to bookstores. And the same is true for Quebec. Sure, many new young cartoonists came out with impressive work and many older lions fought hard to maintain primacy, but the tiny game board on which this artistic to and fro took place remained largely unchanged.
Which brings me to my next category:
4. Newsmaker of the Year: Drawn & Quarterly
Over the past 20 years, Montreal publisher Drawn and Quarterly has evolved from a one-man show responsible for a marginal anthology to a major book publisher with an international roster of artists in its catalog and an industry dominance that puts it in the forefront of comics publishing worldwide and dwarfs at the same time as it inspires its competition locally in Canada. The dream team of founder Chris Oliveros, co-publisher and publicist Peggy Burns, ex-Highwater Books publisher Tom Devlin, and a ragtag cohort of editors, designers, translators, booksellers, and dedicated interns make the modern D+Q a beehive of comics greatness and news-iness.
It’s a trifle unfair, you might mutter, to award a publisher and not one of its individual authors the newsmaker trophy, but when I really sat down to think about it, looking over the past twelve months of comics coverage on Sequential, around the web, in print and other media, no other entity really dominated the consciousness of the Canadian comics imagi-nation. From the announcement of a new Seth book that kicked off the new year to the publisher’s recent crowing about six out of its twenty-four 2011 titles (one-quarter of its output) ending up on the New York Times graphic novel bestseller list, D+Q had a banner year in terms of publicity, corresponding sales, and public engagement. Sure, any one of those bestsellers deserves special consideration this year, and any one of their creators would make for a fascinating profile here, but whether it’s the mega crossover success of Kate Beaton, Dan Clowes’s canonization, or Chester Brown’s massive signing lines despite a controversial book about prostitution and Libertarian candidacy, Drawn and Quarterly’s quality control and tireless, Napoleonic-quality publicity efforts are the common thread behind these successes, almost above and beyond the skills and personalities of individual artists. Even tangential stories this year, like Seth’s Harbourfront prize win or the announcement of Conundrum Press signing Michel Rabagliati, are in some part D+Q stories. Seth, Rabagliati, and Conundrum had good years, sure, but D+Q had a better one. The Canada Reads horse race? Jeff Lemire got booted off the island but still sold books; Chester Brown and D+Q got a boost for Louis Riel, without it making it to the island at all.
Certainly, D+Q isn’t exactly leading the charge to publish a ton of hot new talents –people like Emily Carroll, Jonathan Dalton, Michael DeForge, Patrick McEown, and Ethan Rilly are all being published elsewhere– but they still found a place in their schedule for a solid debut by Zach Worton and a successful sophomore effort from Pascal Girard. As well, D+Q’s stable were essentially the stars at TCAF and other big events, and D+Q did keep up with some trends, keeping a finger in every pie whether it was manga translation (a potential book of the year with Onwards Towards Our Noble Deaths), classic strip reissues (Doug Wright), webcomics (Kate Beaton), and digital (Chester Brown, initially).
With no close rivals, the publisher looks positioned to continue its dominance of hearts and minds in the years to come, continuing with longterm reprint projects like the John Stanley Library, Moomin, Gasoline Alley, and Nipper, and expanding its catalog to include major U.S. talent like Gilbert Hernandez, at the same time as it maintains its gold standard in terms of Canadian graphic novel production.
Every year we can get some sort of sense of the best comics of the previous year by looking at the various awards handed out in Canadian comics in 2011. And the winners were:
As always, we end our year in review by remembering those who have left us over the previous year, including cartoonists, writers, and cultural critics.
Alvin Schwartz (1916-2011) creator of Bizarro Superman
Norm Muffit (1942-2011) political cartoonist for northern newspapers
Gordon Reid (1936-2011) Calgary political cartoonist
Bob Monks (1928-2011) Windsor historian and cartoonist
Charlie Bell (1916-2011) Regina policart
Clement Sauvé (1977-2011) young Montreal comics illustrator
John Gallant (1917-2011), co-author, Bannock, Beans, and Black Tea
(thanks to David Hains, Robert Pincombe, Salgood Sam, and Dalton Sharp for their contributions to Sequential throughout 2011!)