Graphica / May 07, 2012
It was the Toronto Comics Art Festival at the weekend, and the brilliant Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton won the award for Best Book at the 8th Doug Wright Awards, hosted by Geoff Pevere, which took place on Saturday night at the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Founded in 2004, the annual Doug Wright Awards recognize the best and brightest in English-language comics and graphic novels published in the previous year in Canada.
Speaking on behalf of the jury, Shary Boyle praised Kate’s book. “The world of comics can be a sequestered and dusty place,” she said. “As the comic community bemoans its shrinking readership and dying forms, Beaton rises up and throws open the doors to a whole new audience—welcoming one and all with her generous vision and sense of sophisticated, inclusive playfulness.”
Amen to that!
Graphica / May 19, 2011
If you missed the excitement of Toronto Comics Art Festival (TCAF) a couple of weekends ago, never fear! The awesome online art magazine that is Squidface & The Meddler documented the event with a slew of photographs by talented Toronto photographer Sam Javanrouh.
It was the 6th gathering of the annual arts festival founded by The Beguiling's Peter Birkemoe and Chris Butcher and it was bigger than ever this year with artists, writers, publishers and fans from all over Canada and abroad attending.
Needless to say the folks from Drawn + Quarterly were out in force and Javanrouh snapped these great shots of pals Chester Brown, author of Paying For It, and Seth, whose new book The Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists is published this fall, working away at the D+Q table:
More of Javanrouh's photos of TCAF — including snaps of Adrian Tomine (Scenes From An Impending Marriage), Chris Ware (The Acme Novelty Library #20) and Kate Beaton (Hark! A Vagrant) — can be seen at Squidface & The Meddler, and you can see new pics by Sam every day at his Toronto photoblog Daily Dose of Imagery.
(Special thx to Sam Javanrouh and Mike and Jes at Squidface and The Meddler for letting use these pics).
Graphica / May 02, 2011
Chester Brown's controversial new book Paying For It — both a contemporary defence of prostitution and a memoir of his personal experiences — is out this week, and the Toronto author was profiled in both the Globe and Mail and the National Post this weekend. Brad Mackay also reviewed the book for the Globe:
As is the case in most of his other autobiographical comics, Brown sets himself up as the target of the jokes. Joe Matt, a good friend and recurring character in Brown’s work, gets the lion’s share of the yucks here. I especially liked Matt’s reaction after he learns Brown has visited a prostitute: “This is disturbing, but it’s also good gossip.”
Of course, the art is as idiosyncratic as ever. Brown forgoes the six-panel grid and turns down the cross-hatching that he used in Louis Riel for a small, rectangular eight-panel layout inspired in part by the comics of Carl Barks. These oblong panels house some of the year’s most effective cartooning, capable of lending dignity to even the most awkward sex scenes.
Graphica / March 16, 2011
The Doug Wright Awards, Canada’s premier comics awards, have just announced their 2011 finalists.
The nominees for Best Book are:
- Bigfoot by Pascal Girard (Drawn and Quarterly)
- Chimo by David Collier (Conundrum Press)
- Lose #2 by Michael DeForge (Koyama Press)
- Moving Pictures by Kathryn Immonen, Stuart Immonen (Top Shelf)
- Streakers by Nick Maandag
The nominees for Best Emerging Talent are:
- Aaron Costain, Entropy #5
- Alex Fellows, Spain and Morocco
- Keith Jones, Catland Empire (Drawn and Quarterly)
- James Stokoe, Orc Stain Volume One (Image)
- Tin Can Forest (aka Marek Colek and Pat Shewchuk), Baba Yaga and the Wolf (Koyama Press)
The nominees for the "Pigskin Peters Award" (recognizing non-traditional and avant-garde comics) are:
- Indoor Voice by Jillian Tamaki (Drawn and Quarterly)
- Stooge Pile by Seth Scriver (Drawn and Quarterly)
- So I’ve Been Told by Maryanna Hardy (Conundrum Press)
- Spotting Deer by Michael DeForge (Koyama Press)
- Wowee Zonk #3 edited by Patrick Kyle, Ginette Lapalme and Chris Kuzma (Koyama Press)
In addition, this year’s inductee into "The Giants of the North", the Canadian Cartoonists Hall of Fame, will be legendary Vancouver cartoonist David Boswell, the creator of the influential alternative comic Reid Fleming: World’s Toughest Milkman.
The 2011 nominees were chosen by a committee from a long list of works and submissions published during the 2010 calendar year, which for the first year officially included web comics. This year’s committee included Chester Brown, Seth, Jerry Ciccoritti, Bryan Munn and Sean Rogers.
The 2011 winners will be decided by a five-member jury and will be announced at a gala ceremony as part of the Toronto Comics Arts Festival (TCAF). The jury will include Sara Quin (musician; one-half of Tegan and Sara), Michael Redhill (poet; author of Consolation and Martin Sloane; publisher of the literary journal Brick), Anita Kunz (artist, award-winning illustrator), Marc Bell (artist, cartoonist of Hot Potatoe; winner of the 2010 Pigskin Peters Award) and Mark Medley (National Post Books Editor).
Graphica / May 07, 2010
The event is already sold out, but Daniel is participating in a panel discussion with James Sturm, Seth, Chester Brown, and Jim Woodring
at 11:30am in Learning Centre 1 of the Reference Library on Saturday.
Me: You prefer unlikeable characters? Daniel Clowes: "Characters designed to be likeable are just pandering to the audience's narcissism."
Take that, audience!
A full schedule for the TCAF program this weekend can be found here.
KENK: A Graphic Portrait finally hits stores this week!
Author Richard Poplak and Pop Sandbox publisher Alex Jansen were interviewed about the book by Mark Medley in the National Post at the weekend, and then again by Jian Ghomeshi on CBC Radio One's Q yesterday.
Richard was also interviewed about his involvement in the project by James Grainger for The Torontoist last month.
If you are still wondering what all the fuss is about, Igor Kenk — known in Toronto as "the stolen bike guy" — was the out-sized owner of the notorious and ramshackle Bicycle Clinic on Queen West, a long-neglected stretch of the downtown that was rapidly gentrifying. If your bike was stolen, the Bicycle Clinic was where you went looking, and when Kenk was finally arrested in the summer of 2008, nearly 3,000 bicycles were seized by police.
The book itself was constructed from film footage shot over the year leading up to his arrest and is an intimate portrait of a complex and controversial neighbourhood figure.
To give you a flavour of the book, here are some short excerpts:
Excerpt from Chapter 1 (PDF)
Excerpt from Chapter 2 (PDF)
The entire creative team will be on hand to celebrate the release KENK: A Graphic Portrait at the launch party tomorrow, May 6th, at The Cadillac Lounge in Toronto. The lovely folks from Type on Queen West will be on hand selling books.
Graphica / April 21, 2010
The awesome Dan Clowes is the latest cartoonist to join an elite group of artists — including Art Spiegelman, R. Sikoryak, Seth, Adrian Tomine — who have illustrated tote bags for legendary New York bookstore The Strand.
Graphica / March 16, 2010
In James Sturm's new hisotrical graphic novel, Market Day, Mendleman, a proud artisan, has his life turned upside when he can no longer sell his expensive quality rugs.
Dave Howard has reviewed the book for the Books@Torontoist website:
Sturm’s style is economic and simple... But what is drawn is very expressive. [It] has evolved to use body language and objects to convey the characters’ feelings: Mendleman’s hat, the way it sits way high up at the back of his crown; the folds of a leather boot on a merchant’s table; the different caricature drawings of minor characters, with pushed-in noses, long faces, round eyes as dots, all very simple, but evocative. The economic use of colour stands out. There is a fantastical atmosphere – despite the starkness of the drawing style, there is a sense of the unreal.
James Sturm will be attending TCAF May 8th and 9th at the Toronto Reference Library.
Read a preview of Market Day here (PDF).
Graphica / March 15, 2010
The 15 finalists for this year’s Doug Wright Awards were announced on Friday in Toronto.
Founded in 2004 to celebrate the finest in English-language comics and graphic novels in Canada, The Doug Wright Awards are now some of the most important awards for comics in North America.
Selecting work released in 2009, this year’s nominees were chosen by a panel that included comics historian and author Jeet Heer, filmmaker Jerry Ciccoritti, cartoonist Chester Brown, Walrus comics blogger Sean Rogers, and writer and Sequential.ca publisher Bryan Munn.
The 2010 finalists represent "the finest, most thought-provoking work produced by Canada’s vibrant comics community."
The Doug Wright Awards finalists for Best Book are:
- Back + Forth by Marta Chudolinska (The Porcupine's Quill)
- George Sprott: (1894-1975) by Seth (Drawn and Quarterly)
- Hot Potatoe by Marc Bell (Drawn and Quarterly)
- Kaspar by Diane Obomsawin (Drawn and Quarterly)
- Red: A Haida Manga by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas (Douglas and McIntyre)
The finalists for Best Emerging Talent are:
- Adam Bourret, I’m Crazy
- Michael DeForge, Lose #1 (Koyama Press), Cold Heat Special #7 (Picturebox)
- Pascal Girard, Nicolas (Drawn and Quarterly)
- John Martz It's Snowing Outside. We Should Go For a Walk.
- Sully, The Hipless Boy (Conundrum Press)
The finalists for the 2010 Pigskin Peters Award (for unconventional, “nominally-narrative” comics) are:
- Bébête Simon Bossé (L’Oie de Cravan)
- Dirty Dishes by Amy Lockhart (Drawn and Quarterly)
- Hot Potatoe by Marc Bell (Drawn and Quarterly)
- Never Learn Anything From History by Kate Beaton
- The Collected Doug Wright Volume One by Doug Wright (Drawn and Quarterly)
The winners will be chosen by a jury that has in the past included cartoonists, writers, actors, directors, musicians and politicians. The 2010 Doug Wright Awards ceremony will take place on Sat. May 8, at 7 pm at the Toronto Reference Library as part of the Toronto Comics Arts Festival.
(And while I am obviously cheering for all things D+Q, YAY! KATE BEATON!)
Graphica / March 09, 2010
Wilson is a sharp strike right to the sweet spot of the brain where great comics are enjoyed; it's a late, great start to a 2010 that felt slightly quiet after the rush to publication by book like Footnotes In Gaza in the waning days of 2009. Like all the great steps forward in Clowes' long career, it mixes a fairly straight-forward reading experience with a skein of smartly-applied formal techniques that tease at what we're seeing, growing in clarity and force until they ultimately transform the book into a powerful meditation on a subject at which the reader of the first few pages could only guess.
Wilson is released in May and Daniel Clowes will be at the Toronto Comics Art Festival May 8th and 9th to launch the book.
Other D+Q artists at TCAF include Sonja Ahlers (The Selves), Marc Bell (Hot Potatoe), Chester Brown (Louis Riel), Keith Jones (Catland Empire), Amy Lockhart (Dirty Dishes), Seth (George Sprott), and James Sturm (Market Day).
Wilson also received a starred review from Publisher's Weekly last week:
Clowes (Ghost World) takes his particular brand of misanthropic misery to new levels of brilliance in this book, a series of one-page gags that show the divorced and lonely main character repeatedly attempting to engage with life, and then falling back into his hell of pessimism...Clowes offers another beautifully drawn slice of piercing social commentary.