Building a Better TCAF

We’ve created a form to collect anonymous feedback for those of you who don’t feel comfortable sharing your concerns and suggestions publicly. The Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) Board is committed to reviewing your comments as part of our commitment to action and doing better.

Kindly note, all fields are optional and you are encouraged to share as much or as little as you are comfortable with.

A subcommittee of three Volunteer Directors, Coralie D’Souza, Kawai Shen, and Khristine Cuthbertson will review your feedback and bring recommendations for changes to the TCAF Board in September 2020. We commit to communicating those changes publicly on the TCAF Blog. All specific responses to this form and any personal contact information shared will be kept within the subcommittee. We invite you to share this form as well, the more information we’re able to collect the better informed our policies will be.

We are also currently reviewing our existing Conduct & Harassment Policy and will be creating an Anti-Racism Policy, along with clear and safe processes for bringing these issues forward, and for addressing these issues, going forward.

We whole-heartedly agree. #TCAFCanDoBetter

New #TCAF2020 Panel: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Crew! Featuring Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Derek Charm, and Wil Moss!

Hey TCAF fans! One of the programs we were excited to present at TCAF this year is a panel celebrating the successful conclusion of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, a popular Marvel series that started basically when we opened Page & Panel: The TCAF Shop, and whose creators have been a fixture at TCAF over the years! While the physical festival couldn’t go forward, we moved this panel online (thanks, Zoom!) so come meet the series’ writer Ryan North, artists Erica Henderson and Derek Charm, and editor Wil Moss, hosted by TCAF’s Alice Quinn and assisted by Festival Director Christopher Butcher.

The full panel discussion is online now at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EXVMBzw4Mhg

While you’re there, why not check out some of the cool archival videos from the history of the fest in the Torontocomics account, and give it a subscribe? 🙂

Announcing the TCAF 2020 Digital Showcase!

We’ve created a FREE digital book, showcasing the amazing creators and publishers of #TCAF2020! 

At the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, we try to celebrate and showcase great cartooning from all around the world. Part of the thrill of the festival is to walk down the aisles of our exhibition and discover new works that you’ll love. After this year’s festival was cancelled, we wanted to replicate part of that experience and have created the TCAF 2020 Digital Showcase!

Head over to Gumroad to download your PDF copy of the book: https://gumroad.com/torontocomics

The TCAF 2020 Digital Showcase is the result of an open invitation to the creators and publishers who were scheduled to appear at TCAF 2020 to share their art with you. In this book, you’ll discover over 100 comic creators and over 400 pages—a stroll through the exhibition that you can enjoy from your home.

The Digital Showcase also includes an original (and beautiful) comic by Karen Shangguan & Laura Cañas. This comic was commissioned as part of the “Blind Date” initiative, our collaboration with the Entreviñetas Festival in Colombia.

We hope you enjoy the showcase and support the exhibitors by clicking on the links provided on their pages, and checking out their work!

Full creator list under the cut:

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Announcing the winners of the 2020 Doug Wright Awards

The Ceremony No Pandemic Could Stop

The 16th annual Doug Wright Awards took place last night. This year’s ceremony was held at a new venue for us: the Internet. Nearly 200 people tuned in on YouTube and Facebook to find out who eventually will receive this year’s trophies once Seth gets his curbside pickup service running. We’re pleased to share the names of this year’s winners one more time:

The Doug Wright Award for best book
Bezimena
Nina Bunjevac
Published by Fantagraphics Books

The Nipper: The Doug Wright Award for emerging talent
(Sponsored by Broken Pencil and Valleyview Artist Retreat)
Sylvia Nickerson
for Creation
Published by Drawn & Quarterly

The Pigskin Peters: The Doug Wright Award for best small- or micro-press book
Gleem
Freddy Carrasco
Published by Peow Studios

The Egghead: The Doug Wright Award for best kids’ books
The Worst Book Ever

Elise Gravel
Published by Drawn & Quarterly

Giants of the North: The Canadian Cartoonist Hall of Fame
Walter Ball
Creator of the strip Rural Route

Earlier this year, we announced that, for the first time, winners would receive a modest cash prize. Along with their trophies (or, in the case of the Pigskin Peters, their bowler hat), the winners of this year’s best book, Nipper, Pigskin Peters, and Egghead awards will each receive $100, an amount we hope to be able to increase in the future.

This year’s Nipper award was sponsored by Broken Pencil magazine and Valleyview Artist Retreat. Valleyview will present Nipper winner Sylvia Nickerson with an additional prize: a week-long retreat in Caledon, Ontario.

Normally, we’d be selling copies of 2020’s nominated books at our TCAF booth this weekend. With the festival cancelled, our friends at the Beguiling have created a DWA nominees list on their new online bookstore. You’ll also find a list of many new books that were slated to debut at TCAF.

If you missed the ceremony last night (and really, what else were you doing? Surely you’ve read all your comics by now), it will be playing in eternal reruns on both YouTube and Facebook. Trust us, you really want to see what David Collier gets up to. (You also missed out on special guest appearances by Fiona Smyth, Lynn Johnston, Dustin Harbin, and Chip Zdarsky.)

Congratulations to this year’s winners! Thanks to our sponsors—Broken Pencil, Valleyview Artist Retreat, Taddle Creek, and the Beguiling—thanks to our host, Don McKellar, thanks to everyone who took part last night, and a special thanks to all those who watched.

TCAF EXHIBITORS: Submit to the #TCAF2020 Exhibitor Digital Showcase!

TCAF, The Toronto Comic Arts Festival will be undertaking a multi-faceted digital initiative this May across its social media: #TCAF2020. We’d like you to participate!

In an effort to help support the creators, publishers, and other exhibitors who would have been present at TCAF this year, we are compiling a digital booklet of sample works and bios of all exhibitors from this year’s canceled show. This is what we’re calling (for now) the 2020 TCAF Exhibitor Digital Showcase. The Showcase will be available to download on Gumroad, for free. It will receive TCAF’s highest level of promotion, being widely promoted and advertised on all of TCAF’s media channels (email newsletter, press list, twitter, tumblr, facebook, website, etc.).

Any creator or publisher who was scheduled to exhibit at TCAF 2020, including those who withdrew their participation for whatever reason, is invited to submit to this project. 

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Announcing #TCAF2020 – Introduction & TWEETSTORM

Hey everyone, Christopher Butcher from TCAF here. As you might know, this weekend, May 9 and 10, was when TCAF 2020 was scheduled to take place. We’ve been seeing the nice things that folks have been posting and sending to us on social media, saying how much you’ll miss the show. We really appreciate it.

We want to take the love we’ve been getting, and send it out to the creators and publishers that work with us. To that end we’ve come up with the #TCAF2020 digital initiative to help draw attention to the great comics being made by our exhibitors year round, and hopefully send interest and sales their way.

We’ve already begun posting creator-focused material across twitter, instagram, and tumblr with the #TCAF2020 hashtag, and our exhibitors have started using it as well. Well, this week, things heat up as we add even MORE content to #TCAF2020 across all social media!

Our goal here is to draw attention to the great comics creators, publishers, and projects being posted in the #TCAF2020 hashtag, to help support creators in this difficult time. And so we’ve scheduled a #TCAF2020 tweetstorm, where we ask all of our exhibitors and friends to tweet at the same time, and get TCAF trending!

Tweet a message using #TCAF2020 on:
Friday May 8th at 6pm EST
&
Saturday May 9th at 1pm EST

Post about a creator whose work you love, or a comic or graphic novel that you found at TCAF. Post about a great TCAF experience, or a creator you’d like to meet some day. Try to keep it positive, and it will help draw attention to all of the great cartoonists that are also posting their work in the hashtag!

TCAF will also be posting content all this week in that hashtag, so when you go to check it out you’ll hopefully find lots of awesome comics to suit your interest!

Right now we can’t hold TCAF, but we can keep supporting the creators who would have been there this year.

Thanks for your time, and see you this Friday at 6pm and Saturday at 1pm!

  • Christopher Butcher, Artistic Director, TCAF

 

TCAF Exhibitors: Submit Your Debuting Works

Were you going to be an exhibitor at TCAF 2020 or Zineland Terrace 2020? Do you have a new work that was going to debut at the Festival?

We’ve got a handy new form where we’re accepting submissions of books that were planned to debut at or near the festival. Fill out the form, and we’ll spotlight these works on our Debut Books page and on our social media!

We ask exhibitors to please include a link where your work can be purchased, whether it is a digital copy or a printed copy that can be delivered. Also please make sure your book will be released between March 2020 and June 2020.

Here’s the form!

To see the debut works that have already been submitted, please visit our Debut Books page.

More to come!

TCAF 2020 Announcement of Event Cancellation

Dear fans and attendees of TCAF,

It is with great sadness that we announce that TCAF 2020, scheduled to take place on May 8, 9, and 10, has been cancelled due to a host of factors resulting from the Covid-19 Global Pandemic.

The response within Canada and internationally has been progressing extremely rapidly, with significant protocol changes being made every single day. TCAF’s team has spent the past two weeks interfacing with leaders in the comics community, TCAF partners, sponsors, venues, our Board of Directors, and health care officials, about the best way to move forward, and we have decided yesterday to cancel this year’s festival based on that feedback, and due to the restrictions on travel and events, with no forecasted end to quarantine measures.

We want to say to the entire comics community: We tried very hard to make this work, as we’re very aware of the financial and career necessity that TCAF has become for many working comic authors. At present, cancellation is the only ethical option.

All TCAF exhibitors will receive refunds for their tables, and they have been sent refund request information.

TCAF is committed to using our media and organizational resources to support all of our exhibitors, including those who had deferred or cancelled, however we can. We’re currently putting together a media plan to promote exhibitors online and through TCAF’s original May dates. We’ll have more information next week.

We are also inviting collaboration and feedback from the comics community, with ideas on how we can work to promote and elevate creators. Online comic con? Hashtag? Store orders? We’re brainstorming internally, and we’re willing to work to build a larger coalition too. We’re heartened by the efforts that have been made by other events and organizers on creators’ behalf, and we want to contribute to and build on that. More details will come on twitter @torontocomics, and on our website at www.torontocomics.com.

The whole staff of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival is sorry to have to cancel this year. It has been an unprecedented time for the comics community. We’ve been humbled by your letters of support, and it was clear to us that creators, publishers, and readers were rooting for TCAF to happen. That makes this harder in so many ways, but it also makes it a lot easier too, knowing you have our back.

Our sincerest apologies, and our greatest thanks to you.

The staff of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival

Questions You Might Have:

Q: Why cancel the festival? Why not postpone?

While other shows announced postponement rather than cancellation, at this time we’re not comfortable postponing because of the uncertainty around the duration of this pandemic. In addition, there are now multiple open-ended government orders around international travel and cancelling large gatherings, and that makes any postponement or possible rescheduling impossible.

Q: Is it possible for TCAF to be rescheduled later this year?

TCAF is a very complicated event, involving not just the front-facing festival, but a massive shipping and receiving infrastructure, international cooperation, the coordination and rental of multiple venues, and a small army of staff and volunteers. Ramping that up takes about 9 months, each year, and it’s not really something we can press pause on for the next 2-3 months and easily resume. Our best estimate is that from the time quarantining measures are halted, it would take us 5 months to relaunch the festival.

Q: Does this mean Zineland Terrace, or Word Balloon Academy, or Library & Education Day are also cancelled?

All TCAF events and TCAF-partnership events are fully cancelled, including the three above and others. Some events have been announced, and may be a part of long-lead promotion and marketing and may still be out in the world, but all events are in fact cancelled.

Q:  Is TCAF going to be okay?

The best answer that we can give you at this time is: We think so. TCAF’s lead sponsor, The Beguiling, as well as our Festival shop, Page & Panel, have both had to close their doors temporarily due to the virus. There are also a lot of costs around the festival that may be unrecoverable. This will put a financial strain on the organization, but we’re hopeful and we’ve had some amazing support from our granting bodies.

Q: What can I do to support TCAF?

TCAF is made up of many moving parts, with many people working on the festival as well as literally hundreds of working artists exhibiting. Right now the best way you can support TCAF is to support the artists that we work with. We’ll try to make it easy for you to find them on social media, and we’ll announce more plans soon. Follow us on twitter @torontocomics, or keep an eye on www.torontocomics.com.

If you’d like to directly sponsor TCAF or make a donation, feel free to reach out at contact@torontocomics.com to discuss first please.

Q: You didn’t answer my question, how can I get in touch with you?

Please email contact@torontocomics.com for anything that we may have missed in this letter. Please be patient with us if we don’t get back to you right away. We’re doing our best but the whole situation is just a bit overwhelming.

March 13 Update on TCAF 2020

March 13 Update on TCAF 2020

As per our last update on this COVID-19 situation, we wanted to keep you up to date on information about impacts to this year’s Festival as soon as we receive it.

We just learned today at 5pm that all public libraries in the City of Toronto are going to be closed for the next 3 weeks, until April 6th, along with a host of other services in the city. This was also the same time libraries learned they were going to be closed, so you can imagine the speed at which these decisions are being made.

We also learned today that the Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health is recommending the immediate suspension of all events and public gatherings over 250 people.

Because of this, we strongly recommend against making any purchases regarding transportation or accommodation to attend TCAF at this time. TCAF’s official hotel block is offering reservation cancellations with full refund, and Air Canada is offering no-fee flight changes. Exhibitors are also still able to cancel participation with no penalty and receive a full refund.

TCAF is currently moving forward because it falls outside of these windows, but that could change very quickly. Closures may be extended and we have no way of knowing when those announcements will be made. Because of this, we want to minimize the financial risk of exhibitors and attendees.

While these government recommendations are being touted as temporary measures ending a month before TCAF, they’re also the first real directives we’ve received from health agencies to make alterations to our program. This is also significantly different than their earlier statements this week, and as an independent arts festival we’re relying on governmental guidance to know the best way forward.

TCAF recognizes the important role it plays for it’s attending creators, both for career building and the often precarious financial situation of working artists. Cancelling the Festival is not a decision to be made lightly, and with 2 months until the event we believe there is time and a real need to consult with our attending creators, our partners, venues, staff and stakeholders, about how we should move forward together. We will update the public as soon as we have more information.

As always, if you have any questions you can reach out to us at contact@torontocomics.com.

Update to the Comics Community Regarding COVID-19 from TCAF and VanCAF

Update to the Comics Community Regarding COVID-19 from TCAF and VanCAF

In the months leading up to the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, including Comics X Games in partnership with Hand Eye Society (May 8-10) and the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival (May 16-17), we wanted to update you on our plans. 

At this point, both festivals will be moving forward, with enhanced cleaning procedures at venues, and additional cleaning/sanitizing materials made available to exhibitors and the public. 

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