See the schedule for TCAF 2021 here! Check out our affiliate events page for even MORE exciting events happening during the week of the festival and beyond!
And, of course, don’t forget to head on over to our…
(Open for business on May 8th!)
FRIDAY MAY 7TH
This is Serious: TCAF 2021 Kick-off Panel – 7:00 PM EST
You must know where you’ve been in order to know where you’re going. This is Serious examines the history of Canadian comics through a series of important indie and underground creators. These creators helped shape the contemporary Canadian comics scene that operates today. Co-editors Joe Ollmann and Alana Traficante discuss the impact of Canada’s indie comics scene then and now with such Canadian creators as Hartley Lin (Young Frances), Fiona Smyth (Somnambulance), and Eric K. Williams (Our Wretched Town Hall).
SATURDAY MAY 8TH
Make Comics Your Way with Story Planet – 1:00 PM EST
Take a break from browsing TCAF’s great comics to make some comics of your own! Join Liz Haines and the artists of Story Planet (Vincy Lim, Josh Rosen, Sameena Anis, and Sabrina Tu) and draw along as we invent characters and make 3-panel comics as a group. Geared to aspiring artists from grades 3 to 6, although all are welcome!
Whodunnit? It’s Elementary!: Kids Mystery Books – 3:00 PM EST
It’s a tough case to crack! What makes a great mystery book for kids? We’ve got the clues and in this debrief we’ll explore the works of Searra Miller (Mason Moony: Doppleganger Detective), Tom Angleberger (Geronimo Stilton: Slime for Dinner), and Cale Atkinson (Simon and Chester: Super Detectives) and discuss their experiences creating mystery stories for young readers. Join us as we unravel our guest artists’ favourite mystery books and their inspirations.
TCAF x Loop Sessions: Seeing Sounds – 6:00 PM EST
Seeing Sounds, a collaboration between TCAF and Loop Sessions Toronto, is a live drawing event featuring a roster of 3 illustrators: Freddy Carrasco (GLEEM), Hana Shafi aka Frizz Kid (Small, Broke and Kind of Dirty) and Gyimah Gariba (Big Blue) performing a live drawing session. The illustrators will be complemented with a roster of 3 beatmakers: Cheema, Reazhun and Sikh Knowledge from Loop Sessions Toronto to provide a live soundtrack for an evening hour of creativity and great vibes. Hosted by VJ Smith and Faduma Gure.
Cole Pauls Spotlight – 7:00 PM EST
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!
SUNDAY MAY 9TH
Be the Change – 1:00 PM EST
You’re never too young to stand up for what you believe. Ben Sears (Young Shadow), Fiona Dunnett (Travesía), and Kate Reed Petty (The Leak) discuss stories and characters that make a difference! What would you do if you found out about a conspiracy between some trust-fund punks and the CEO of a chemical plant? Imagine being 15 years old and making the journey to cross the Mexico-US border to start a new life. How can you take action against the people responsible for corrupting your neighbourhood? These creators come together to talk about taking action against injustice, no matter how old you are.
Molly Knox Ostertag Spotlight – 3:00 PM EST
Pre-recorded presentation with LIVE Q&A session.
Molly Knox Ostertag, creator of The Witch Boy series, is performing a recorded reading of her new book – The Girl From the Sea (coming out June 2021!) followed by a live question answer series with fans of the book. Join us for this coming-of-age tale that touches on queerness, seeking fulfillment, and the journey to find oneself!
Subversive Power of Fan Art with ORANGEinal – 6:00 PM EST
In this panel we discuss The Power of Fan Art with special guest artist, Sarah Quildon aka ORANGEinal. Within the comic arts community, fan art (art created by fans of pre-existing content) is often derided as low-brow. Yet, for many artists, fan art is a way to create a body of work that affirms the life experiences of the racialized, queer and neurodiverse communities that are often rendered invisible in the mainstream. We get to hang out and explore ORANGEinal’s inspirations and personal connection to fan art. ORANGEinal’s main focus is to create art for those not equally represented in artistic spaces as well as promote self-love by giving people of colour a chance to view themselves as they truly are: works of art.
Parenting and Comics Panel – 7:00 PM EST
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 are and art influences life.
MONDAY MAY 10TH
Rage, Apathy and Satire in the Black Creative Realm – 3:00 PM EST
We’ll discuss rage, apathy and satire in art as Black creators with special guest artists Abdu Ali (FIYAH!!), Ben Passmore (DAYGLOAYHOLE, Your Black Friend) and Richie Pope (Craig of the Creek, The Box We Sit On). Referencing their work and life, we address the complexities of creative license within the contexts of Blackness, punk and artistry.
We’ll talk about:
- Dismantling the Black Excellence trope in mainstream identity politics.
- In a world saturated with performative behaviour in the context of activism, what does it mean to be a Black punk?
- What does it mean to be continuously creating and contributing to a world of polarizing anecdotes of race and politics?
- The affordability of controversy in artistic expression, and more!
Body Image in Comics – 5:00 PM EST
It’s not easy to feel comfortable in one’s own body, but redrawing the body into comics is another challenge entirely. How do you draw a body you’re not especially comfortable in, or others don’t understand? Marie-Noëlle Hébert (My Body in Pieces) considers how to navigate a body that doesn’t fit society’s standards and the psychic pain of living in such a body. Kimiko Tobimatsu and Keet Geniza (Kimiko Does Cancer) explore how queer and mixed-raced individuals negotiate changing bodies through illness and what it means to play with gender-queerness when facing breast cancer. Héloïse Chochois (The Body Factory) looks at the sudden changes traumatic accidents can have on the body and the psyche, and how we come to terms with these sudden changes through fantasy and the imagination.
Working in Other’s Worlds: Creating in the Sandman Universe and Other Pantheons – 7:00 PM EST
Creating your own fictional world is an incredible challenge, but what is it like to create in a universe created by another author? And what if that world is one of the most beloved pantheons in all of comics publishing — the Sandman Universe? Join Nalo Hopkinson (Sandman Universe: Book of Whispers) and Jill Thompson (Delirium’s Party, Scary Godmother) as they discuss expanding established worlds and stories.
TUESDAY MAY 11TH
Boulet Spotlight – 5:00 PM EST
Online comics superstar Boulet returns to TCAF! Best known for his diary webcomic, bouletcorp.com, Boulet is the French author of over 20 books, including (available in English) Notes and Augie and the Green Knight. He is also a contributor to the Dungeon series with Lewis Trondheim and Joann Sfar. Join Boulet and interviewer Peter Birkemoe in this feature spotlight!
Protest Comics – 7:00 PM EST
Protest is an integral part of a democratic society, but it’s not without its risks. Whether it’s protesting for the fundamental right to be treated equally through the right to vote, or protesting the injustice around the Vietnam War, or protesting the social injustices of our present moment, these creators examine everything from the central figures of these protest movements, the cultural symbols these movements create, and sadly sometimes the victim. Ho Che Anderson (King), Derf Backderf (Kent State), and Nate Powell (Save it for Later) discuss the risks and responsibilities of representing past and present protest movements and figures. Are comics themselves an emerging site of protest?
WEDNESDAY MAY 12TH
The Secrets of Chocolate with Franckie Alarcon (French Language) – 3:00 PM EST
France is renowned for their mastery of the 9th Art. Join Peter Birkemoe in conversation with French artist Franckie Alarcon. Do you want to know about the Secrets of Chocolate, or perhaps The Art of Sushi? Alarcon discusses the process behind creating these works. Alarcon’s The Secrets of Chocolate (June 2021) follows one of the most renowned chefs within the world of chocolate, Jacques Genin, to create this docu-comic series. Bring your own chocolate to enjoy this panel in 4D!
Nagata Kabi Spotlight – 7:00 PM EST
Join groundbreaking cartoonist Nagata Kabi (My Alcoholic Escape from Reality) in this rare interview — her first in North America! Nagata-sensei discusses the struggles in making manga about crippling anxiety; how she got into manga; and how her family reacted to her deeply personal manga. Deb Aoki (Publisher’s Weekly) and interpreter and translator of Nagata-sensei’s works, Jocelyne Allen, lead a quiet, intimate discussion with one of the industry’s most private figures.
LGBT+ Micro and Macro Perspectives – 8:00 PM EST
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.
THURSDAY MAY 13TH
Science and Comics with Cells at Work! – 3:00 PM EST
Join us in this discussion panel as we examine the dynamic, entertaining, and educational world of hit manga series Cells at Work! Wen Zhao, a science teacher, Dr. Yi Ariel Liu, a doctor of medicine, and Deb Aoki, a manga writer, band together to look at the series through their respective lenses, talk about the science behind the stories, and consider the intersection between science literacy and visual storytelling. A sneak peek of the upcoming English release of Cells at Work! Volume 6 will also be available! Don’t miss it!
Health (S)Care: Personal and Global Perspectives – 4:00 PM EST
There has perhaps been no other time in recent history where our health care has been brought to the forefront of our consciousness as during the COVID-19 pandemic. This panel explores health care narratives and the anxieties we face around health care issues both from personal and global perspectives. Glen Downey (Chair of Strategic Thinking with The York School) talks to Mandi and Hana Kujawa, mother and daughter collaborative team behind A Slug Story, about drawing inspiration from their personal experience involving a serious brain injury as a side-effect of a virus and subsequent hospitalization. Publisher of Graphic Mundi, Kendra Boileau, along with artist Maureen Burdock, also join the discussion by looking at excerpts from COVID Chronicles an anthology that examines all the ways large and small that COVID-19 has affected everyone from essential workers to parents juggling working from home while homeschooling.
Exhibitor Zoom Rooms
Meet and mingle with creators and publishers alike at the times below!
FRIDAY MAY 14TH
Richard Sala Memorial – 5:00 PM EST
Friends and colleagues of the late, great cartoonist Richard Sala (Poison Flowers and Pandemonium) gather to remember him and discuss his singular body of work. This panel brings together Daniel Clowes (Patience), Rina Ayuyang (Blame This on the Boogie), Eric Haven (Cryptoid), Adrian Tomine (The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist) and Eric Reynolds, Associate Publisher at Fantagraphics, to share memories of Richard and to acknowledge his unquestionable impact on the history of alternative comics.
R. Sikoryak’s Comics Carousel – 7:00 PM EST
R. Sikoryak’s Comics Carousel is the place where comics and performance meet picture shows. A talented array of creators join Robert to offer an illuminating intersection of comics of the moment. Showcasing Abby Denson (Kitty Sweet Tooth), Decur (When You Look Up), and John Jennings (After the Rain) this Carousel offers comics readings, performances, and introspective looks at a range of comics from the fantastical to the introspective, juvenile and adult. Take a spin and stay to ask some questions about the varied and wonderful world of comics!
Life Into Comedy – 8:00 PM EST
Life into Comedy addresses incorporating life experience and presenting it in the comedy genre with a particular focus on the process of holding life events and producing comedy through sequential art. Meichi Ng (Barely Functional Adult), Shary Flenniken (Trots and Bonnie), Thom (Casa Rodeo), Ananth Hirsh and Yuko Ota (Johnny Wander) are in conversation with moderator Boum.
SATURDAY MAY 15TH
Kids Like Me – 1:00 PM EST
Jen Storm (Fire Starters), Jennifer Haines (founder of The Dragon comics and game store), Yehudi Mercado (Chunky), and J. Torres (Planet Hockey) discuss the genuine representation of BIPOC storytellers and characters. What happens when BIPOC characters and their stories are centred in comics? How does the existence of these narratives impact young BIPOC readers?
Harm Reduction & Comics – 3:00 PM EST
An incredibly important panel discussion featuring Michael Linnell (Linnell Publications), P.J. Patten (Tower25), and moderated by Ruthie Titus from Pieces to Pathways. We will talk about comic arts and its relationship to facilitating language around harm reduction through nuance and genuine narratives. In other words, keeping it 100.
No Holds Barred: TCAF 2021 Closing Panel – 5:00 PM EST
“No Holds Barred,” featuring Jaime Hernandez (Love & Rockets, Queen of the Ring: Wrestling Drawings), Katie Skelly (Queen of the Ring: Wrestling Drawings), Jarrett Williams (Super Pro K.O.!), Aubrey Sitterson (The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling), Chris Moreno (The Comic Book Story of Professional Wrestling), and moderator S-Quire Johnson, is a discussion about the impact of pro-wrestling in our lives as artists who are inspired by history and culture. We’ll talk about:
● The history of women in pro-wrestling.
● What makes us fans of pro-wrestling.
● How pro-wrestling informed our artistic practices, and much more!
Word Balloon Academy presented by Seneca College – Sunday May 9th
Do the Thing – 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM EST
Do you have a comic you want to draw or a book you want to write, but just can’t seem to find the time? Let the RAID studio (Ramon K. Perez, Anthony Falcone, Kalman Andrasofszky, and Danesh Mohiuddin) share their tips for productivity to get you started on creating your amazing stories!
Behind the Merch Table – 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM EST
Grant Writing – 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST
More cartoonists should be getting grants! Having funding allows creators to get their personal projects off the ground. Grants are also particularly useful to people working outside mainstream comic styles, pushing the boundaries of the medium, and people from marginalized communities who may not fit within the existing publishing landscape. Explore grant-writing strategies and funding opportunities that help cartoonists get new projects done! Lorena Torres Loaize covers topics like preparing your publishing history, support materials, effective ways to describe your project and its importance, writing a compelling bio, as well as some great resources for grants and grant writing.
Indie Crowdfunding – 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM EST