TCAF Starts Tonight! Here’s Where to Find Us (From May 8-15)

TCAF POSTERTonight’s the night! TCAF 2021 will be kicking off with its very first event—a panel featuring This is Serious contributors Hartley Lin, Fiona Smyth, and Eric K. Williams, moderated by Joe Ollmann and Alana Traficante. In case you missed it, the This is Serious: Canadian Indie Comics was an  exhibit displayed at the Art Gallery of Hamilton from June 21 2019 until January 5 2020. Conundrum Press was thrilled to publish a book to accompany the exhibit, and we’re grateful that TCAF is highlighted this important title in its kick-off event!  Access the event at 7:00 pm. EST by clicking here.

And that’s just the beginning. Over the next week, you’ll find a little bit of Conundrum almost everywhere you look at TCAF—partly because the incredible Cole Pauls has art in every nook and cranny of this year’s website (and he designed the poster) and partly because the TCAF team has put together an amazing virtual festival with plenty of opportunities for exhibitors, guests, and attendees.

Read on to learn more about Conundrum’s panels and presentations, social media features, marketplace listings, and a book launch!



Panels and Events

May 8 at 7:00 PM EST: Cole Pauls Spotlight

What TCAF says: “What’s better than pizza and punk music? Pizza, punk music, and comics! Cole Pauls (Dakwäkãda Warriors) returns with Pizza Punks, his latest graphic novel that finds out just how far a devoted punk will go to get some pizza! Jarrett Samson (Tough Age) joins Cole to reveal a secret project exclusively premiering at TCAF 2021. When comics and punk music come together, Pizza Punk anthems are inevitable. Drop in for a sneak preview of this exclusive and delicious collaboration!”

Live or pre-recorded? Pre-recorded.

How to buy: Visit Cole’s TCAF booth! [LINK TO COME]

How to join: Click this YouTube link


May 9 at 7:00 PM EST: Parenting and Comics Panel

(featuring Conundrum creators Catherine Ocelot and Dakota McFadzean)

What TCAF says: “Being a parent is rarely simple or straightforward, but being an artist and a parent is a special challenge. Catherine Ocelot (Art Life) explores the challenges of these competing identities and their special struggles by exploring these struggles with seven artists. Keiler Roberts (My Begging Chart) finds inspiration in the small moments of family life exploring the complex roles we perform as parent, child, partner, and artist. Shira Spector negotiates the struggles of getting pregnant alongside the slow decline of a parent. Dakota McFadzean (To Know You’re Alive) takes a glimpse at the parent-child relationship through the lens of fantasy and the absurd. Together these creators discuss how life influences art and art influences life.”

Live or pre-recorded? Live

How to buy Art Life and To Know You’re Alive: Visit Conundrum Press’s TCAF booth! [LINK TO COME]

How to join: Register here to get your Zoom link.


May 12 at 8:00 PM EST: LGBT+ Micro and Macro Perspectives

(featuring Conundrum creator Sami Alwani)

What TCAF says: “The lines between the personal and political can blur and blend within the queer community. Tensions can arise within personal relationships or society’s limitations. Achieving growth and understanding can be a complicated process. These artists discuss how comics illustrate extremely personal desires and how the collective desires of a community can be met through social activism.  Lee Lai (Stone Fruit) explores the tensions that keep us apart and the commonalities that bring us together. Syan Rose (Our Work is Everywhere) collects voices from all corners of the queer community examining the nuances that affect diverse range of community issues such as Black femme mental health, Pacific Islander authorship, fat queer performance art, disability and health care practice, sex worker activism and more. Sami Alwani (The Pleasure of the Text) integrates both comedy and tragedy into a collection of riotously colourful slice of life comics that question the very ideologies underpinning our society. These panelists discuss how the personal becomes political in the queer community and vice versa, in conversation with moderator Cleopatria Peterson (New Growth), co-founder of Old Growth Press.

Live or pre-recorded? Pre-recorded

How to buy The Pleasure of the Text: Visit Conundrum Press’s TCAF booth! [LINK TO COME]

How to join: Click this YouTube link.


May 12 at 6:30 PM EST: Rick Trembles Book Launch with Strange Adventures 

TCAF Affiliate Event

Join Strange Adventures and Conundrum Press on Instagram Live to celebrate Montreal cartoonist Rick Trembles’ latest collection of short comics: REPRESENTED IMMOBILIZED.
During this intimate event, Trembles will share stories from his new collection, and reflect on how being raised by a Golden Age comic artist influenced his own work. The event will also include a “Show and Tell” segment where Trembles will share some of the objects and memorabilia that inspired the book.

Live or pre-recorded? Live

How to buy Represented Immobilized: The book can be purchased from Conundrum Press’s TCAF booth, however attendees who wish to purchase a copy of the book are encouraged to order from Strange Adventures. As an added bonus, copies of Represented Immobilized that are purchased from Strange Adventures only, between May 8th and 14th, will come with a mystery backlist title from Conundrum Press.

How to join: Visit Strange Adventures’ Instagram Page.

TCAF Marketplace

For those who miss wandering through the Toronto Reference Library, checking out the latest work by some of Canada’s best comic artists, it’s time to celebrate. This year, TCAF has put together a fabulous TCAF Marketplace, with exhibitor “booths.”

The Conundrum Press booth is all stocked up with all the graphic novels released from Fall 2019 until now (you can even grab an early copy of The Gift by Zoe Maeve—the official publication date isn’t until June!).

Many of these titles have an added bonus attached—the first few copies sold will come with free bookplates, signed and doodled on by the creators themselves! Not all artists had the capacity to participate however, so be sure to check out the individual listings to make sure the book you’re interested in is included in this promotion.

How do you access this wonderland of visual storytelling, you ask? Just click here.


TCAF Zoom Exhibitor Rooms

Of course, TCAF isn’t (all) about buying great comics. It’s also about meeting the people who make them. Fortunately, TCAF has this area covered too, with its Zoom Exhibitor Rooms!

Over the course of the festival, exhibitors have been assigned Zoom rooms, where we get to hang out, mingle with festivalgoers, and in some cases, share work-in-progress and other fun stuff. Conundrum has two sessions—one on May 8th and another on May 9th, both from 5:00-7:00 pm EST.

You can check out the entire schedule at the link provided above, but here’s the Conundrum Press schedule:


Saturday May 8th from 5-6 pm EST

Zoe Maeve (The Gift)

Kris Bertin and Alexander Forbes (The Cursed Hermit)

To join click here.

Saturday May 8th from 6-7 pm EST

Cole Pauls (Pizza Punks)

Laura Ķeniņš (Nova Graphica)

Sami Alwani (The Pleasure of the Text)

To join click here.

Sunday May 9th from 5-6 pm EST

Dakota McFadzean (To Know You’re Alive)

Veronica Post (Langosh and Peppi: Fugitive Days)

Patrick Allaby (The Water Lover and Martin Peters)

To join click here.

Sunday May 9th from 6-7 pm EST

Rick Trembles (Represented Immobilized)

Howard Chackowicz (Nothing to See Here)

David Collier and Gary Topp (Topp: Promoter Gary Topp Brought Us the World)

To join, click here.


We’ve also provided TCAF with fun and interesting content for behind-the-scenes social media posts featuring some of our artists. Keep an eye on TCAF’s social media channels over the course of the week for videos and images from Zoe Maeve, Cole Pauls, Gary Topp and David Collier, Veronica Post, Rick Trembles, Patrick Allaby, Sami Alwani, and Julian Lawrence!

See you there, comics fans!

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