Sequential Reports: Fan Expo Photos
(Mostly) Canadian Content
As an event partially dedicated to Canadian comics and comics creators, FanExpo 2008 could have been alot worse. FanExpo, billed as "a multi-genre convention" by its organizers, covered over 270,000 square feet at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre this past weekend, August 22-24. Roughly one-fifth of that massive space, accessible through a labyrinthine series of hallways and escalators, was dedicated to comics and cartooning, with space devoted to over 200 artists and writers (the so-called "Artists' Alley"), as well as to publishers, comics retailers, and assorted producers of ephemera.
-As Kevin Boyd notes in his wrap-up, the organizers of the comics show ("Comic Book Expo") made the wise decision this year to integrate all of the creators, regardless of genre ("indy meets pro", as the convention program has it), into one area, which made for a bustling space, with many fans discovering young artists who may have been overlooked in the past. In addition to several big-name U.S. creators like painter Alex Ross and DC editor-in-chief Dan Didio, the convention also featured a large number of Canadian artists who have made a name for themselves in the world of U.S. superhero comics. Alongside these were a huge group of more-or-less independent comics creators, self-publishers, and arts comics auteurs, representing the alternative comics world of graphic novels, minicomics, and fanzines. Jeff Lemire is perhaps the most well-known of this batch, having just won several awards for his Essex County graphic novel trilogy, published by Top Shelf. Lemire was busy sketching and selling artwork throughout the con and I personally witnessed him selling-out of copies of the newly-published final volume, The Country Nurse, around 4pm on Saturday.
-Another sell-out was Benjamin Rivers' very pretty Snow mini. Rivers is a Toronto illustrator and the book he debuted at FanExpo is the first chapter of a longer graphic novel done in his deceptively simple, cartoon-y style.
-It was also delightful to meet longtime Playboy cartoonist Doug Sneyd, perhaps the most successful and enduring of the comics artists present, and a local boy to boot! Doug was selling prints of some of his classic work as well as a book of cartoons called Unpublished Sneyd, dedicated to Sneyd's original Playboy editor, and fellow Canadian, Michelle Urry. Doug also has a blog where his adventures at the con are chronicled in great detail.
-Something of a cross-section of Canadian comics culture was examined at the "Made in Canada" panel Saturday evening, featuring Montreal artist Yanick Paquette, the Toronto comic book creating duo of Stuart and Kathryn Immonen, and the afore-mentioned Jeff Lemire. The panelists talked about their influences and how aspects of their "Canadian-ness" may or may not filter into their work.
Michael Cho and Claudia Davila
Stuart Immonen and Kathryn Immonen --see their webcomic here
Ramon Perez and Rob Cloughler
Agnes Garbowska and Francis Manapul
Kalman Androsopsky and Marcus To
Lemire signs the last copy of The Country Nurse
Blake Bell discusses Steve Ditko with Rob Walton
Steven Silver and Ken Wheaton
Doug Sneyd and his significant other/Girl-Friday Heidi Hutson
The Bear Stories' George Todorovski and Chris Hatzopoulos
Ian Daffern and John Lang are behind the Zuda competitor Shock Effect
Hoverboy, a project of Mr. Comics' Ty Templeton and Canadian tv personality Rick Green. I happen to know from experience that the device on his belt is an antique vibrator.
The Bootcamp gang, another Ty Templeton project. The team was hyping its new mini-collection: Sex & Violence, Suffering and Wickedness.
Zen Rankin, promoting his minicomic epic, Action Satisfaction Supreme
Zen Rankin was also selling the best comics-related novelty at the con, cute little stuffed toys of his V.D. Duck character: it has pubic hair and makes a noise when squeezed!
The Durham Comics gang and their new anthology, Blitz
Michael Cherkas (saving a seat for Larry Hancock)
Jay Saobento and Bang Bang Kill Kill, which is also online.
J. Torres and Scott Chantler
Sequential has a brief chat with Ray Fawkes, writer of The Apocalipstix
(thanks to ace photog Stephen Lewis for the Fawkes and Immonen photos)
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