TCAF Report

May 17, 2013 by

I’m a bit late getting this out there but I have been through 38 hours of driving and another event in Montreal for Chihoi (I will split up the two postings), and getting caught up in general from the post-TCAF glow. I had huge expectations going to TCAF this year. I’ve been to all of them and I knew this year the organizers were stepping up their game so I felt I needed to as well. So I planned 5 debut titles and got myself set up with a credit card machine. I assumed something had to go wrong but everything worked out perfectly. Dare I say the event exceeded my expectations. One thing that was different this year was the number of Americans and International talent. Obviously word has gotten out that TCAF is one of the premiere festivals in North America (if not the world). Hooray for Canada!

As always the festivities started at The Spotted Dick, the delightfully named bar across from the hotel. My roomies Billy Mavreas and Joe Ollmann accompanied me.

Then it was off to catch the discussion at the library with Los Bros Hernandez, moderated by Tom Spurgeon. I must confess to being one of those people who is so overwhelmed by their (awesome) body of work that I have never known where to start. I am proud to say that I picked up Gilbert’s new Children of Palomar to start the ball rolling.
After a frantic setup in which it took an hour just to assemble my new Conundrum sign (did I mention taking it up a notch?) and hauling in boxes we got a restless sleep and then…
…it’s on! Right away Joe Ollmann was signing his brand new book Science Fiction. Not only was he getting compliments on that, but he had just been the cartoonist in residence at the Comics Journal that week, doing his Cartoonist’s Diary. Everyone was unanimous in thinking that he hit it out of the park. Speaking of Joe Ollmann fans. This woman has got to be number one. Here she is showing off her Joe Ollmann tattoo:
I mentioned the international presence. Well here is the very stylish Ulli Lust from Austria signing her new book:
05ulli lust
I quickly had to scamper over to introduce Chihoi, for his Spotlight presentation. He had just flown in from Hong Kong. He told a decent-sized crowd all about the rise of gangster comics, his inspirations, his pencils of choice, and of course the creation of his debut book, The Library.
Then the crowds peaked and books were sold at a dazzling rate. Thanks Point of Sale machine! What follows is some of the Day One madness…
Lilli Carré and Tom Kaczynski at the Fantagraphics table.
Drawn and Quarterly publisher Chris Oliveros and Dave Collier share a laugh.
Ollmann and his proud daughter Liz.
Britt Wilson.
Doug Wright Award nominees Dave Collier and Ethan Rilly, and the gorgeous poster for the event by Rilly. 
Collier with Serena McCarroll. Collier has new comics and drawings in McCarroll’s art book All Citizens. But you already knew that.
Michel Rabagliati debuted Paul Joins the Scouts and here is the line up for his signature. Right up front is fan Tina Coleman of the American Library Association. Check out the credit card machine, or what I was calling Alladin’s Magic Lamp. Magic indeed!20michelsign
Marc Tessier watches over the Mille Putois table. Check out that $200 Montreal silkscreen atlas printed by Simon Bossé. Also in this shot is Charmwitch. 
I got to meet the talented Ivan Brunetti. A big moment for me. 
Dave Lapp had his own table to sell his three Conundrum releases.
Later in the day Lorenz Peter showed up to sign his debut book The Grey Museum.
Billy Mavreas with our dear friend and writer LE Vollick.23DQ
The Drawn and Quarterly gang were sporting matching outfits!23DWA
That night were the Doug Wright Awards celebrating the best in Canadian Cartooning from the previous year. The event was held right in the hotel ballroom which was a much more convenient venue. Here are all the nominees on stage after recovering from the fire alarm going off. Two Conundrum titles were up for awards. And lo and behold both of them won! 
Michel Rabagliati won for Best Book for his “mid-career masterpiece”The Song of Roland. Apparently 4 out of the 5 jury members wept when they read it. Who was the heartless one who remained dry? Speaking of Heartless, Nina Bunjevac took home the Nipper award for new talent. I’m so proud of them. Scott Thompson of Kids in the Hall fame did a tremendous job as host, moving us with his own tale of how making comics helped him through his cancer treatment. And then there was the third winner…
Dave Collier won the Pigskin Peters Award for his book Hamilton Illustrated published by Wolsak and Wynn. Although the book isn’t a Conundrum publication, Dave is definitely a Conundrum artist, his previous book Chimo being nominated two years ago. Seth gave a great introduction, which encompassed Collier’s entire career, but Dave became impatient and attacked him with a pillow. Then the classic Collier digression machine took over, baffling poor Scott Thompson, not to mention the half the crowd who did not know Collier. Now everyone has a Collier story. What a night! 
Later we celebrated at an Italian resto where Joe’s daughter Liz was waitressing. Many of the comics heavyweights were milling about. Here I am gesticulating to Jaime Hernandez. I have no idea what I was saying.
The next day was not quite so crazy but just as awesome. Here is Collier wearing his award, the hat he received for his Doug Wright win.
He is always sketching. Here is a sketch he passed in giving one of the TCAF volunteers her own award.
The Conundrum booth from above. That’s Lorenz, Joe, and Robin McConnell of Inkstuds fame. Check out that sign!
Philippe Girard flew in from Quebec City for the day. Here he is signing his debut Obituary Man.
Here is Nina talking to Caitlin McGurk while Joe signs. My biggest regret of the show was not getting to meet Caitlin. I love what she is doing at the Billy Ireland Museum in Columbus Ohio. 
Conundrum artists Sherwin Tjia and Maryanna Hardy.
Met up with Doug Wright nominee George Walker who proudly displays his new book about the life of Conrad Black. This is a limited edition woodblock printed book. George says it’s already sold out, mostly as investments by lawyers!
Expozine co-founder Louis Rastelli with Girard and Zach Worton.
And here is the swag shot. This was after I got back to Nova Scotia. There is a whole other story (not to mention hours of driving) between TCAF and this. Next post… Chihoi in Montreal!

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