TCAF 2012 Announces Panels and Programming!

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival 2012 is proud to announce its full slate of programming for the May 5th and 6th weekend. Incorporating a record 5 venues (including Toronto Reference Library) this is TCAF’s most ambitious slate of programming to date!

Highlights of the program include amazing interviews and presentations by our featured guests, including Kate Beaton (Hark, A Vagrant), Guy Delisle (Jerusalem), and Konami Kanata (Chi’s Sweet Home)! TCAF also features two different panel discussions featuring many of our international guests, including International Perspectives: Europe and Commonwealth Comics. Music & Comics fans will thrill to a spectacular panel teaming Featured Guests Arne Bellstorf (Baby’s In Black), Bryan Lee O’Malley (Scott Pilgrim), and Kid Koala (Space Cadet), talking about how music influences and is interpreted in their work!

2012 will see TCAF’s first-ever series of Workshops, aimed at older teens and adults who are interested in honing their comics skills. Workshops will include an inking demo by Jeff Smith, a pitching-your-comic panel by David Saylor (Editor, Scholastic), and “Living a Creative Lifestyle” with First Second Books publisher Mark Siegel, amongst many more.

We’ve also added a large new programming venue at our Official Convention Hotel, Marriott Bloor Yorkville’s High Park Ballroom. There we’ll throw our biggest panels in the 200-person auditorium.  Reprising our most popular panel of 2011, Adventure Time creator Pendleton Ward returns to TCAF for the ADVENTURE TIME Panel, which will include a Presentation, Q&A, and even a draw-off contest!

Read on for the more than 50 presentations taking place at the main TCAF Exhibition on Saturday May 5th and Sunday May 6th… and don’t forget about all of our amazing evening events happening over the week of TCAF!

1. Toronto Reference Library – 789 Yonge St.

1st Floor: Learning Center 1

Located on the first floor of Toronto Reference Library, this programming space seats approximately 75 people, and programs are geared towards more literary and informative programs.


10:30 – 12:00 – Michel Rabagliati Spotlight
Multiple award-winner Michel Rabagliati debuts The Song of Roland from Conundrum Press, his latest book in English, and what is being called his “mid-career masterpiece.” It focuses on the life and death of the father-in-law of Rabagliati’s alter-ego Paul, who Le Devoir called “the Tintin of Quebec.”  Rabagliati will do a short presentation discussing the process of creating his latest books , including an interview with host Rupert Bottenberg,Montreal comics organizer, artist, and former editor of the Montreal Mirror. Questions from the audience can be in English or French.  Moderator: Rupert Bottenberg

12:15 – 1:30 – Comics vs. Games: Behind the Battle
Participants from the TIFFnexus Comics vs Games project talk about their experiences collaborating across creative mediums and discuss the similarities and differences between working in comics and indie games. What challenges and opportunities face comics and games and what can they learn from each other? With Andy Belanger, John Martz, Christine Love, Steve Manale, Damian Sommer. Moderator: Miguel Sternberg

1:45 – 2:45 – Arne Bellstorf Spotlight
Arne Bellstorf, creator of the TCAF show debut Baby’s in Black, the graphic novel about the beginning of The Beatles’ rise to stardom (called “remarkable” by Booklist), discusses his exciting new graphic novel, his art process, and his interactions with Astrid Kirchherr, the pop-modernist photographer who’s the subject of Baby’s in Black. Moderator: Calista Brill

3:00 – 4:00 – Aislin Spotlight
Aislin is the Canadian political cartoonist for The Gazette, Montreal’s English-language daily newspaper.  His drawings have also appeared in numerous international publications, such as PunchThe Atlantic MonthlyHarper’sNational LampoonTimeThe Washington StarThe New York Times and the Canadian edition of The Reader’s Digest. He is also the current president of the Association of Canadian Editorial Cartoonists.

4:15 – 4:45 – Visual Literacy and Graphic Narrative
A blend of linguistic and visual literacies makes the most productive approach to the demands of life in the 21st century.  Graphic narratives are a hybrid literary form that satisfies the needs of both of these literacies, making comics a key component of understanding the way this 21st-century world works. With Andrew Perry.


11:30 – 1:00 – Thoughts on Panel Layout
This panel looks at the nitty gritty of layouts around the world—where and how scene breaks happen (middle of page, end of page, fade out, formulas for transition), panel shapes and page structures (even grids, angled, borderless), “camera” angles and staging, frequency of certain types of panels (all-text, scenery only, etc), trying to figure out patterns that would be useful to clarify for creators. We’ll talk about individual creators as interesting or notable examples, and look at a big spread of works from every market. With Bryan Lee O’Malley, Jessie Moynihan, Kim Hoang, Aaron Diaz, Emily Carroll, and Francis Manapul. Moderator: Angie Wang

1:15 – 2:45 – Crowdfunding a Project
With the advent of Kickstarter, opening up funding of art projects to the general public has become a reality, with authors and artists receiving directly from fans the hundreds – or thousands – or tens of thousands of dollars that are needed to make their creative projects a reality.  What’s involved with creating a crowdfunded project?  And how does it change the creative process to do something directly for fans, rather than working through the intermediary of a publisher or working on an author-driven project? With Becky Dreistadt, Frank Gibson, Scott Campbell, Raighne Hogan, Yuko Ota, and Evan Dahmn. Moderator: George Rohac

3:00 – 4:00 – Gay for You?  Yaoi and Yuri Manga for GBLTQ Readers
Depending on who you’re talking to, yaoi and yuri manga are adored or reviled.  These same sex romances challenge manga conventions of sexuality, romance, intended audience, and appeal.  Or do they?  Join a panel of manga commentators, reviewers, fans and librarians to debate the joys and disappointments of GLBTQ fans reading yaoi and yuri manga. With Snow Wildsmith, Leyla Aker, and Christopher Butcher. Moderator: Robin Brenner

4:15 – 5:00 – Food vs. Animals Draw-Off
Who would win in a bar fight, food or animals?  Find out in this epic draw-off.  With Andy Runton, Lucy Knisley, Vera Brosgol, Yuko Ota, and Corinne Mucha. MC: Gene Ambaum

1. Toronto Reference Library – 789 Yonge St.

2nd Floor: Appel Salon, Novella Room (For Kids)

Located on the second floor of Toronto Reference Library in the Owlkids Area, these programs will accommodate about 40 kids, and are great for kids up to age 14 who are curious about their favourite books, or interested in creating comics themselves! This area also features The Kids Comics Lounge, for your comics reading pleasure, and TCAF Kids Presents The Art Garage, with two-days worth of crafting fun for kids!


9:00am-10:00am: Free Comic Book Giveaway
From superheroes and fantasy to funny animals and cartoon fun, come to the show early for FREE COMICS! Limit 3 for children 12 and under. Limited quantities each day.

10:00am-10:45am: Let’s Make Comics Together!
Draw one panel and pass it on! Tory Woollcott (Mirror Mind) will lead you in this comics jam where you can create a comic together that everyone can enjoy!

11:00am-11:45am: The Pirate Girl’s Treasure: Read and Create!                 
Meet Hilary, Peyton and Ben (The Brothers Leung) and enjoy an interactive session that includes a reading of the story by the creators followed by some fun origami activities.

12:00pm-12:45pm: Saturday Morning Webtoons: Game Show Fun!
Read comics! Play games! Win prizes! Meet the Saturday Morning Webtoons crew including J. Torres, Jack Briglio, Agnes Garbowska, J. Bone and Stefan Grambart, and learn all about their all-ages webcomics!

1:00pm-1:45pm: Kids Comics Quickfire
Part drawing jam, part fast-paced game show! Volunteers from the audience are paired off with (or against) professional cartoonists in a series of fun-filled drawing challenges! Featuring Dave Roman (Astronaut Academy),Raina Telgemeier (SMILE), John Green (Teen Boat) and Bob Flynn (Heeby Jeeby Comix).

2:00pm-2:45pm: Spotlight: Knights of the Lunch Table
If you love reading myths and legends, you should be reading Knights of the Lunch Table! Join series creator Frank Cammuso and learn how the legends of King Arthur gave him ideas for this series, plus a live drawing demo of the main characters including Artie, Percy, Mr. Merlyn and more!

3:00pm-3:45pm: Owl Comics Games
Comics are great for stories but you can also make them into games to play with your friends. Learn how as Owl cartoonists CTON and Brian McLachlan duel each other with markers, paper and panels.

4:00pm-4:45pm: Facts, Fiction, and Unfolding Comics
If you thought that there was only one way to read a book, think again!  Jon Chad (Leo Geo) will talk about different kinds of books, incorporating science into comics, and how to make your own expanding comic!  Everyone will leave with their own handmade comic!


11:00am-12:00pm: Free Comic Book Giveaway
From superheroes and fantasy to funny animals and cartoon fun, come to the show early for FREE COMICS! Limit 3 for children 12 and under. Limited quantities each day.

12:00pm-12:30pm: Rabbit and Bear Paws Puppet Show
Join your favourite characters Rabbit and Bear Paws and hear the Anishinabe oral story of Nanabazhoo & the Animals.  Audience members will become puppeteers in this comical retelling of how Turtle Island came to be.(Featuring Chad Solomon)

12:45pm-1:30pm: Turn Your Life Into Comics
The inspiration for Raina Telgemeier’s book, Smile comes from her own life as an eleven-year old girl who injures her two front teeth. Are you ready to tell your life story in comics?
Get tips on how to pick ideas from your own life to create your own autobiographical comics.

1:45pm-2:30pm: Kids Comics Quickfire, The Sequel
Part drawing jam, part fast-paced game show! Volunteers from the audience are paired off with (or against) professional cartoonists in a series of fun-filled drawing challenges!  Featuring Jennifer and Matt Holm (Babymouse, Squish), and Andy Runton (Owly). Hosted by Dave Roman (Astronaut Academy).

2:45pm-3:30pm: Spotlight: Explorer The Mystery Boxes
Join the creators of Explorer: The Mystery Boxes: Kazu Kibuishi (Amulet), Jason Caffoe (Flight), Stuart Livingston, Raina Telgemeier (Smile), and Dave Roman (Astronaut Academy), as they read their stories live on stage, with a little help from the audience!

3:45pm-4:30pm: Drawing Simple Characters
Using scribbles, dots and round blobs, you can create lively characters. Join Melissa Mendes (Freddy Stories) and David Huyck (Cloudy & Sunny’s Book-O-Doodles & Things To Do) as they walk you step-by-step through drawing your favourite characters and inventing a couple of new ones, too.

2. The Pilot Tavern – 22 Cumberland St

Located on the second floor of the venerable Pilot Tavern, these programs tend to be a bit more fun… and loud! The Pilot is also a fully-licensed restaurant, so consider taking in a panel and your lunch… or just a bevvy… on Saturday or Sunday! These panels will accommodate about 115 people.


10:00 – 11:00 – Behind the Scenes at a NYC Publisher
This panel takes you inside the offices of one of the most prominent of comics publisher, Scholastic, and shows you exactly how a big publisher works – from contracts to editorial to production to design to marketing, sales, and rights.  With David Saylor, Cassandra Pelham, Kazu Kibuishi, and John Green. Moderator: Eva Volin.

11:15 – 12:30 – Comics & Music
The visual and the auditory – two very different mediums.  But somehow, words and music combine in comics and graphic novels.  Three superstar creators talk about how their own music-based comics projects, and how they make them work. With Bryan Lee O’Malley, Kid Koala, and Arne Bellstorf.

12:45 – 1:30 – Ed Mirvish Rollerball Derby Draw-Off
For generations the question has gone unanswered: who is better at drawing Toronto discounting legend Ed Mirvish — Australians or Canadians? Three uppity Aussies take on three staunch Canadians in a game-show ink battle for the ages. While they draw, host John Retallick will do his best to distract the contestants, quiz the audience and toss free books every which way. With Sarah Howell, David Blumenstein, Matt Taylor, Katie Shanahan, John Martz, and Brian Fukushima. Moderator: John Retallick

1:45 – 3:00 – Comics Childhoods
What was your childhood like?  Four cartoonists discuss their depictions of their own childhoods in comics.  Why does childhood have strong pull on cartoonists’ stories?  And what’s involved with visually recreating youth? With Alison Bechdel, Jenni Holm, Michel Rabagliati, and Raina Telgemeier. Moderator: Robin Brenner

3:15 – 4:15 – New, Exciting, and Queer
This year at TCAF, as part of our queer programming, we spotlight the release of two important anthologies of queer comics that will be debuting at the festival! The books Little Heart and The Letter Q will make their debut, and this panel will discuss these ground-breaking anthologies and the general state of queer comics publishing. With Maurice Vellekoop, Emily Carroll, Lucy Knisley and Raighne Hogan. Moderator: Jose Villarrubia

4:15 – 5:00 – Comics Made Me Gay w/ Brad Fraser & Dale Lazarov
Playwright and illustrator Brad Fraser and gay erotic comics writer/editor Dale Lazarov talk about homoeroticism in comics and why the medium is a perfect vehicle for representing the erotics and aspirations of gay male sexuality, fantasy, and intimacy.


11:00 – 12:30 – Ba and Moon Spotlight: Open Your Eyes, Comics. There’s No Turning Back
The comics medium has the potential for all sorts of possibilities and diversities in subject, format, and technique.  How does that affect the way that creators work and that comics projects develop? Gabriel Ba and Fabio Moon discuss the comics that showed them different narrative and artistic ways to tell stories, and how they endeavor to expand peoples’ ideas of what’s possible in comics with their own work.  Moderator: Jose Villarubia

12:45 – 1:45 – Webcomics Draw-Off
Which webcomics character would win in a battle of words?  Or of thumb-wrestling?  Find out in this draw-off to end all draw-offs! With Jeph Jacques, Meredith Gran, Tony Cliff, and Mark Siegel. Moderator: David Malki!

2:00 – 3:15 – Making Comics: The Process
Creators discuss how they make comics: what’s the process of writing and drawing that they go through to create individual creative projects?  When a comic varies from only writing to nonfiction journalism to fantasy, how does the process change? With Mike Dawson, Adam Warren, Cecil Castellucci, Christine Redfern, and Kagan McLeod. Moderator: Tina Coleman

3:30 – 5:00 – Comics in the New Millennium
Today’s comics can be in print, online, animated, screenprinted, hand-bound, mass-produced – what makes a comic a comic isn’t the format that it’s produced in.  What changes will the comics industry see in the coming years because of today’s changes in technology – do they really foretell a change in reading? With Box Brown, FaithErin Hicks, Jeffrey Rowland, and Matt Forsythe. Moderator: Matt Madden.

3. Ristorante Fortuna (Workshops) – 12 Cumberland St.

TCAF’s first ever steam of workshop programming! For serious aspiring and professional creators only. This space accommodates about 50 people, and space will be strictly limited for each presentation. This is a fully functioning Italian restaurant which we have booked for the day, and food and drinks are available during programs. Participants _will_ have to queue outside if space is not available for presentations, so dress appropriately.


10:00 – 11:00 – The Comics Checklist
In this seminar, Matt Madden will walk you through the many considerations you should keep in mind when you embark on a new comic, whether a one-pager, a webcomic, or a graphic novel.  Madden will help you strategize and come up with a working plan for your next project. He will cover a variety of bases, including:: creative block and coming up with ideas, choosing a format and platform that makes sense, setting goals and scheduling your time so that you can reach them, finding an audience and looking for collaborators and/or publishers. So bring some paper and be ready to take notes on your next big (or small) project!

11:15 – 12:45 – Making Successful Kids Comics
What makes a successful kids comic?  As kids comics become ever popular – with the success of graphic novels like Bone, American Born Chinese, Babymouse, and Amulet – it becomes clear that writing and drawing kids comics isn’t just about using words of only one syllable.  David Saylor, Vice President and Creative Director of Scholastic and Graphix, takes you through what exactly is involved in producing work for kids. Moderator: Cassandra Pelham

12:30 – 2:00 – Living a Creative Lifestyle
Come meet Mark Siegel, editorial director of First Second Books for a workshop on the creative process as it relates to graphic novels. Art and business continue their awkward, sometimes impossible dance. For creators in any discipline, orchestrating these can be a challenge and a source of happiness and/or frustration. Together, let’s look at the whole picture of living the throughout life of a creator in comics.

2:15 – 3:45 – Teen Comics Workshop
So you’re sixteen years old . . . and you want to be a cartoonist.  What should you be doing to help make your career a reality?  Award-winning graphic novelist and webcartoonist Faith Erin Hicks discusses her own journey to publication and talks about things that worked and things that didn’t from her own career. Moderator: Calista Brill

4:00 – 5:00 – The Realities of Being a Comics Professional
So you want to earn your living working in comics or illustration . . .what’s next after college?  Michael Cho will take you through this hour-long workshop detailing the realities of starting your career in the creative industry – discussing work for hire, freelancing, and how to figure out living the life of your dreams.


11:30 – 12:30 – Inking with Jeff Smith
Watch Bone and Rasl cartoonist Jeff Smith demonstrate his artistic process from pencils to inks in this special one-time-only TCAF interactive panel. This hour-long session is not to be missed!

12:45 – 1:45 – Pitching Your Comic to a Publisher
Are you looking for a publisher for your graphic novel?  In this workshop, Scholastic Creative Director David Saylor discusses how to craft a pitch for maximum publisher impact.  It’s not just being able to do good work – it’s knowing how to talk about it.   Moderator: Cassandra Pelham

2:00 – 3:00 – Writing Pictures with Words: Comic Writer’s Craft
Brainstorming ideas, describing scenes, building plot and creating dialogue. Learn comic writing techniques and tips from prolific comic pros Becky Cloonan (Conan, Wolves), Ray Fawkes (One Soul, Possessions), Ryan North (Dinosaur Comics, Adventure Time) and Jim Zub (Makeshift Miracle, Skullkickers).

4. Marriott Bloor Yorkville – 90 Bloor St. E.

High Park Ballroom

Our largest programming space ever! Accommodating nearly 200 people, the High Park Ballroom is located in the The Marriott Bloor Yorkville, our official convention hotel just 5 minutes walk from Toronto Reference Library on Bloor Street east. Due to size and queuing issues, we recommend TCAF attendees arrive for panels up to 30 minutes before their listed start time.


10:00 – 11:00 – International Perspectives
Comics creators from around the world come together in this panel to showcase the similarity and differences of their approaches to the comics medium. With Jose-Louis Bocquet, Gabrielle Giandelli, Tom Gauld, Jason, Hugues Micol, and Oliver Schwauren. Moderator: Caitlin McGurk.

11:15 – 12:15 – My Friend Dahmer
Derf Backderf discusses his critically acclaimed, new graphic novel, My Friend Dahmer, the memoir of his teenage friendship with the strange boy who would become the most depraved serial killer since Jack the Ripper. Derf’s presentation will show how this meticulously researched book, 20 years in the making, came together, with examples of layouts, pencils and sketchbook pages… and dozens of photos and cartoons Derf made of Dahmer when they were in high school together.

12:30 – 1:45 – Comics & Mental Health
Comics offer a unique resource to educate medical professionals and the public about issues of mental health. However, the relationship between comics and mental health can go deeper. What does it mean to people writing and drawing comics that deal with these issues? What is it about comics that lends them to these kind of narrative? Lizz Lunney, Darryl Cunningham, John Porcellino, Simon Moreton, and Ian Williams

2:00 – 3:00 – Guy Delisle Spotlight
Internationally renowned cartoonist Guy Delisle is the author of Pyongyang, Shenzhen, and his latest book, Jerusalem, which depicts his recent visit to that land.  Delisle has spent ten years, mostly inEurope, working in animation which allowed him to learn about movement and drawing.  Here he discusses his background in animation, how it contributes to his comics work, and his influences for his award-winning non-fictional narratives.

3:15 – 5:00 – The Adventure Time Mega-Panel!
Who doesn’t love adventures?  TCAF presents: Adventure Time creators doing what they do best: making crazy-delightful comics about the series they work on.  Don’t miss this fun-filled live drawing session, accompanied by Q&A and general discussion. With Pendleton Ward, Ryan North, Bob Flynn, Andy Ristiano, Michael DeForge, Steve Wolfhard, and Jesse Moynihan


11:30 – 12:30 – Making Manga in North America
The manga aesthetic has permeated American comics culture, with creators like Becky Cloonan, Bryan Lee O’Malley, and Adam Warren using manga storytelling and art techniques to tell their own American or Canadian stories.  How does manga affect their writing and drawing process?  With Bryan Lee O’Malley, Adam Warren, and Becky Cloonan.

12:45 – 2:00 – Younen Manga – Japanese Comics for Kids with Konami Konata
While most people familiar with manga have been exposed to works marketed to and written for a teen audience, at the core of all modern day manga is a long tradition of children’s comics.’s Deb Aoki and Vertical, Inc.’s Ed Chavez will reveal nearly 80 years worth Japanese kid’s manga history. And after their presentation they will sit down to speak with an artist whose works have been read by kids of all ages over the last three decades – Konami Kanata, author of the New York Times Best Seller Chi’s Sweet Home.

2:15 – 3:15 – Commonwealth Comics: What Would the Queen Mum Think?
Canada, Australia, the UK, and the US all have a thriving independent comics scene.  Find out what makes them all tick in this panel with participants from each country.  We promise thrills, chills, and also: accents!  With Pat Grant, Sarah Howell, Anne Koyama, Leon Avelino, and Matthew Sheret. Moderator: John Retallick

3:30 – 4:45 –Kate Beaton Spotlight
Creator of the acclaimed ‘Hark! A Vagrant’ webcomic and subsequent New York Times Best-Selling Graphic Novel, Kate Beaton talks about life, comics, and the vagaries of history.  Moderator: Chip Zdarsky

5. St. Paul’s on Bloor (Owlkids Day) – 227 Bloor St. E.

Owlkids Day is a special one-day-only event on Saturday May 5th that offers a non-stop selection of presentations by TCAF’s biggest kids guests, and creates a special location for families just 8 minutes walk from main TCAF site, at St. Paul’s on Bloor (just east of Church Street). Capacity for all events is approximately 200 people.

Owlkids Day (Saturday Only) Schedule of Events: 

9:30am: Doors open at venue St. Paul’s, 227 Bloor Street East

10am: Meet Owly creator Andy Runton!

Creator Andy Runton will take fans on an amazing journey through the world of Owly! Intended for children 3 and up. Following his presentation, Andy Runton will be signing in the Owlkids Area at Toronto Reference Library!

11am: Meet Jennifer Holm & Matt Holm, creators of Babymouse & Squish!

The creators of the hit graphic novel series’ Babymouse and Squish, brother and sister graphic novel team Jennifer Holm and Matt Holm will wow the audience with an interactive presentation from their series! Intended for kids 6 and up. Following their presentation, Jennifer Holm & Matt Holm will be signing at St. Paul’s! Then they’ll be headed back to The Owlkids Area at Toronto Reference Library!

12pm: Owlkids Presents: How to Write and Draw Max Finder with Craig Battle and Ramon Perez!

One of the most popular sections of Owl magazine are the awesome adventures of Max Finder, the mysteries that you can help solve! Creators Craig Battle and Ramon Perez will create an all-new mystery with the audience! Intended for ages 7 and up. Following their signing, Ramon Perez and Craig Battle will be signing at St. Paul’s, and then headed back to Toronto Reference Library.

1pm: Meet Jeff Smith, the author of Bone!

Jeff Smith is the creator of Fone Bone, Smiley Bone, and Phoney Bone, the Bone cousins! Now, Jeff Smith will do a presentation from his series and answer questions from fans! Intended for ages 10 and up. Following his event, Jeff Smith will be signing for fans from 2pm-3:30pm at St. Paul’s. Jeff Smith will only be able to sign for 2 hours, on a first-come, first-served basis.

2:30pm: The world of Amulet, with creator Kazu Kibuishi!

Kazu Kibuishi is the author of the new smash-hit fantasy series Amulet! Kazu and series colourist Jason Cafoe will be on hand with a presentation from the series! Intended for ages 10 and up. Following his event, Kazu Kibuishi will be signing at his table in The Owlkids Exhibitor Area at Toronto Reference Library in The Appel Salon.

3:45pm: It’s the “launch” of Teen Boat! With creators Dave Roman & John Green!

Friends Dave Roman and John Green have worked together on all kinds of projects, including Nick Jr. Magazine and Avatar: The Last Airbender comics! Now they’ve created their own new graphic novel: TEEN BOAT! It’s the angst of being a teen, and the thrill of being a boat! Join the creators for the launch of the graphic novel at TCAF! Intended for ages 11 and up. Following their event, John Green and Dave Roman will be signing at their table in The Owlkids Exhibitor Area at Toronto Reference Library in second floor The Appel Salon.