JSA noms coming week of June 1, happenings, TCAF, Doug Wright Awards…

While we have finalized some categories, some of the selection committees have asked for an extension, so we will announce all of the 2014 nominees the week of June 1.

You may have noticed I’ve cut back on the announcements of upcoming conventions — it’s getting to the point where there are so many events going on every week across the country that we aren’t able to give all of them the attention that they deserve. We suggest you consult the list of conventions across Canada that we have posted elsewhere on this website.

This week however is a busy one with a convention in Ottawa and the Beguiling’s Toronto Comic Arts Festival (in Toronto, obviously). The festival is also the host event for the annual Wright Awards for Canadian cartoonists who work on non-mainstream, independent books like the books published by awards sponsors Drawn + Quarterly, Conundrum Press and Koyama Press. The Giants of the North (their hall of fame) appears to be sponsored by CGA Comics, who is debuting the Nelvana of the Northern Lights collection at the event and using it to maintain interest in their future reprinting plans.

Convention news: New shows in Ottawa and Regina

This weekend, December 7-8, 2013 at the Ernst and Young Centre in Ottawa it’s the new OTTAWA POP EXPO from the same folks that bring you the Ottawa and Montreal Comic Cons.popexpo2013Recently, Informa Canada announced that they are expanding their recently purchased Fan Expo brand with a new show: FAN EXPO REGINA will be helf in Regina, Saskatchewan on May 3-4, 2014.

ferSpeaking of Informa Canada, they are holding a one day Toronto ComiCON/AnimeCON on Sunday December 15, 2013 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Hall F (South Building). Admission is $10.

Expos, ComicCons – updates, changes, rumours

tgThings are somewhat quiet here at the JSAs as we regroup after a busy couple of months prepping for last month’s awards.

However, con season never seems to end, and we apologize to the Saskatchewan Entertainment Expo who held their event last weekend for not mentioning the event beforehand on the site.

However, on September 28-29 it’s the return of the Edmonton Entertainment Expo and it also looks to be a great convention.

The week after that Hamilton gets the spotlight with the debut of the new Hammer Town Comic Con on Saturday, October 5th.

We barely scratched the surface of the story back in late August, but Hobbystar Marketing, Inc. – the company that puts on Fan Expo Canada, Fan Expo Vancouver and the Toronto ComiCON — was purchased earlier this summer by Informa Exhibitions, an English/Swiss Company that puts on events all around the world. It is literally one of the world’s powerhouse event organizers, with a history of putting on events that goes as far back as 1880 with the launch of IPEX, the oldest running print exhibition in London. The purchase has raised many questions, but the word for now is that it means business as usual for Canada’s largest comics-related event as the existing management is being absorbed into the Informa structure (here in Ontario they put on the One of a Kind Craft Shows so they have experience running events locally as well, so the old HSM team will be sharing their experience with others and learning from them as well). The Informa influence in this year’s show seems to have been more money for guests to help launch the expansion of the Expo into the entire Metro Toronto Convention Centre and the new Fan Expo Sports. Since they bought a brand, don’t expect them to change the name — chances are you may end up seeing the addition of more Fan Expo events in different locations around the world in the coming years.

The buzz on the floor of the Montreal ComicCon last weekend seemed to be that other people are looking at Toronto as a potential site for new comic cons. One exhibitor seemed to hint that a new player was coming to town, one with 10 years+ experience organizing comic shows (Reed Exhibitions perhaps?), or maybe Wizard is planning on reviving their dormant Wizard World Toronto (one artist I spoke to seemed convinced that was the case). It’s also been suggested that at least two* different GTA stores (one central, one west end) are looking at starting their own conventions, so who knows what the future holds.

(*I’m not interested in naming names until something more concrete is announced, but it’s definitely not my store.)

One event that was announced for 2014 that seems to be under construction is the new GTA Comic Con, which was supposed to debut next April in Oakville, ON. The website says that the dates and location are now changing, so we’ll let people know when we hear anything new.

That’s the fall update on the world of comic cons, there are some pretty high profile events comic up in November (HalCon, The Central Canada Comic Con, along with a new December event in Ottawa), we’ll be running stories on those when we get a little closer to their dates.

Needless to say, Comic book conventions and pop culture fairs are now big business and attracting a lot of interest. The big ones get bigger, and the fascination with them and the massive success of the big events (like San Diego, Seattle, Calgary, Toronto, Chicago and New York) will seem attractive to new investors, players and outside money. Will the bubble grow or burst? Only time will tell.

Happenings: OMG…. is Fan Expo really next week? August 22-25, 2013

2013cSo in 8 days the big show aka Fan Expo Canada starts at the Metro Convention Centre. This year the show is so massive they had to add a second building and for the first time ever the event will be in both the North and the South Buildings.

phototoddMost of the comics folk are in the South Building though, and that’s where the comics programming will be as well.

Many Joe Shuster Award nominees and winners (past and present) are at the event, and we encourage you to visit the website to look at the floorplans and schedules.

2011 JSA Hall of Fame inductee TODD MCFARLANE is a headlining guest. Full guest list here.

Our retail sponsors The Dragon and The Comic Book Lounge (my store) will be in the dealers section along with Harry Kremer award winning retailers Big B Comics (Hamilton) and the Silver Snail (Toronto).

There are two Canadian comics related panels worth checking out:

FRIDAY AUG 23 – 11:15 AM In room 703


With projects like the True Patriot anthology, the Captain Canuck webseries, the Lost Heroes documentary, The Wolverine movie and more – are we witnessing a Canadian superhero renaissance? Where is this all coming from? Does the industry need this? Will the market support it? Are Canadian superheroes poised to be the next big thing in comics?

Join moderator Fearless Fred and panelists Jay Torres (“True Patriot”), Ramón K Pérez (“True Patriot”), Mike Valiquette (“Captain Canuck”), Hope L Nicholson (“Lost Heroes”), and Kevin A. Boyd (“Joe Shuster Awards”) to discuss The Canadian Superhero Renaissance.

SUNDAY AUG 25 – 2:15 PM in room 703


During WWII the Canadian government initiated the War Exchange Conservation Act and Canadian artists stepped up to fill the void of comics on our newsstands.

Join moderator Ivan Kocmarek and a panel of industry experts as they discuss the first age of Canadian comics and characters like Iron Man, Johnny Canuck, Freelance, The Penguin and many other forgotten heroes and their impact on Canadian-made comics.



Joe Shuster Awards Ceremony: 8:30 PM – Saturday, August 24, 2013 at Jackman Hall, Art Gallery of Ontario

jhJuly 5, 2013 – TORONTO, ON

The Canadian Comic Book Creator Awards Association is pleased to announce the venue of the 2013 Joe Shuster Awards Ceremony. The 8 2013 awards and 3 Hall of Fame presentations will be presented on SATURDAY, AUGUST 24, 2013 at JACKMAN HALL at the Art Gallery of Ontario, starting at 8:30 PM.

Seating: 200 – priority seating for nominees, their family and friends and other industry professionals, with limited general admission seating.

The Art Gallery of Ontario – 317 Dundas Street West, Toronto, ON

The Art Gallery of Ontario is an art museum in Toronto’s Downtown Grange Park district, on Dundas Street West between McCaul Street and Beverley Street. Its collection includes more than 80,000 works spanning the 1st century to the present day.

Jackman Hall has it’s own entrance on McCaul Street, South of Dundas Street West (pictured above)

.About The Joe Shuster Awards

Established in 2004, The Joe Shuster Awards are Canada’s first national and bilingual award recognizing outstanding achievement in the creation of comic books, graphic novels and webcomics. The awards are named after pioneering Toronto-born artist Joe Shuster who, along with writer Jerry Siegel, created the iconic super-powered hero, Superman. The name is used with the approval of the Estate of Joe Shuster – Michael Catron, Estate Agent.

2013 Sponsors include: Guerilla Printing, The Dragon, The Comic Book Lounge & Gallery, Autodesk.

For more information please contact info@joeshusterawards.com


Festival BD de Montreal – May 31, June 1-2, 2013


D-Day is here! The second edition of the Festival BD Montreal will begins today and will continue until June 2 at Espace La Fontaine in the park of the same name. 40 exhibitors and nearly 150 authors will be waiting for you in the beautiful sunshine along with ambassador Stéphane Archambault, honored guests Delaf and Dubuc (creators of the popular and award-winning Les Nombrils series aka The Bellybuttons) and special guest Guy Delisle for three days of outdoor festivities devoted to the world of the 9th art.

Festival-goers can take part in many activities in the program according to the following schedule:

Friday, May 31: 1pm to 9pm

Saturday, June 1: 10am to 7pm

Sunday, June 2: 10am to 5pm

Many signings are scheduled daily throughout the Festival.

For all the details and possible changes to the program, visit FBDM-montreal.ca

This project is supported by the Arts Council of Montreal, the Office of festivals and cultural events of the City of Montreal, the Caisse de la Culture and is carried out jointly with the Department of Cooperation and Cultural Action of the Consulate General of France in Quebec.

The FBDM is three days of meetings, discoveries and fun for the delight of comic book fans!

Halloween ComicsFest, 2013 Awards and another change for Kevin

So we need to start planning for 2013 — interested parties should contact me at kevin@joeshusterawards.com with their ideas and suggestions for next year.

Some of the things that need to be discussed are: coordinators, location, categories and fundraising.

Possible locations: Fan Expo Vancouver, Calgary Comic & Toy Expo, Fan Expo Canada, Ottawa Comic Con, Montreal Comic Con. Generally we would like to continue moving around, and with recent ceremonies in Calgary and Montreal, we would like to consider a new location/event with which to coincide so Vancouver, Ottawa and Toronto are all strong possibilities. Given the timing involved we are looking at 2-4 day comic book conventions scheduled between late April and September. Picking a location will allow us to establish a working timeline between now and then for coordinating.

Speaking of coordinating, we are currently looking for coordinators for the Gene Day Award and the Harry Kremer Retailer Award. If you are interested, please contact me as above.


Diamond has engineered a second free comic book day called HALLOWEEN COMICSFEST that is scheduled to coincide with Halloween. Instead of picking a day for everyone to hold it on, they are letting retailers pick which day on which to hold their Halloween ComicsFest activities, and so you should check with your local retailer to see what they have planned and on which day.  Chances are it will be either on Saturday, October 27 or on Halloween itself, October 31st. There is a shop locator service on the ComicsFest website (click on the link above to visit).


About three weeks ago, upon completion of my 2011-12 contract, I decided not to pursue renewal of my position as a coordinator for Hobbystar Marketing, so I will no longer be involved in Fan Expo Canada/Fan Expo Vancouver/Toronto ComiCON on any kind of organizational level. I do plan to have my store The Comic Book Lounge exhibit at the Toronto events, but the combined workload of the store, a full time job in medical research, as well as other activities (such as the JSAs) requires me to unload some peripheral responsibilities, so this was one of those I’ve decided to cut.

This now ends a complete decade of coordinating aspects of Toronto scene comic book conventions. My first major multi-day convention was back in November 2003, although the first one day event was in March of that same year.

The 2012 Joe Shuster Award winners

Montreal, QC – In a ceremony presided by JASON ROCKMAN and CATHERINE SMITH-DESBIENS at the MONTREAL COMIC-CON, the 8th Annual Joe Shuster Awards for Canadian Comic Book Creators and Retailers were presented to an enthusiastic crowd of nominees, friends and fans of the medium. Continue reading

Back to school and work JSA update for Sept. 4

Welcome back! Hope your summer was as eventful as ours was.

We’re now a mere 11 days away from the presentation of the 8th annual Joe Shuster Awards and we’ll be posting some updates as we near the event.


The Art Jury (Artist, Cover Artist and Webcomics) have finished their selections, as have the ones selecting the Dragon Prize and the Gene Day Award for Self-Publishing. That leaves the Retailer Jury and the Story Jury (Cartoonist and Writer), and we hope to have those wrapped up later today or early tomorrow.


The 10 stores have been narrowed down to a final five – watch for a release here shortly.


Our promotional image is ready, just waiting for some final approvals.


Our Hall of Fame committee has opted to pass on inducting a new member in 2012.

FINAL AWARDS LIST FOR 2012 (8 awards to be given out in Montreal on September 15):

- Artist / Dessinateur
– Cartoonist / Créateur
– Writer / Écrivain
– Cover Artist / Dessinateur Couvertures
– Webcomics Creator / Créateur de Bandes Dessinées Web
– The Dragon Award (Comics for Kids) / Prix Dragon (Bandes Dessinées Jeunesse)
– Gene Day Award (Self-Publishers) / Prix Gene Day (Auto-éditeurs)
– Harry Kremer Award (Retailers) / Prix Harry Kremer (Détaillants)


Late July Update

Things may have slowed down considerably here on the site lately, as running a store as well as the awards, parts of the country’s largest comic-con and a day job have really taken a toll on my time. I had never expected to own a comic shop, but The Comic Book Lounge + Gallery has been growing steadily since we opened it back in February. Huge  props go to manager Joe Kilmartin (formerly of the JSA Executive and former manager of Dragon Lady Comics), for handling the day to day aspects of running the Lounge.

If anyone has any interest in posting news items and articles here on the website, please contact me at kevin@joeshusterawards.com and we’ll get you hooked up.

It has been a very busy summer for everyone, with plenty of great news coming out of the San Diego con. A new series from Ed Brisson, Michael Walsh and Jordie Belaire called Comeback for Image. Also at Image, J. Bone will be doing a series called The Saviours with James Robinson, Darwyn Cooke will be doing at least two more Parker novels with The Hustle set for release in late 2013. Dale Keown will be joining Jeph Loeb for something called A Plus X.

Of course, the big news were the Eisner Awards, which have been summarized elsewhere on this site. Congratulations to the class of 2012! Darwyn and Ramon face off again in September in the Cartoonist category here for the Joe Shuster Awards.

The juries for 2012 have been selected and are beginning their review process. Thanks to the publishers who assisted us providing copies of nominated books for the jury to review. In this regard The Comic Book Lounge has become an official sponsor of the Joe Shuster Awards, providing some of the books not obtainable from the publisher directly.

It has been a big summer for books as well. Richard Stark’s Parker: The Score by Darwyn Cooke was released last week to great acclaim, the colourized Scott Pilgrim Volume 1 by Bryan Lee O’Malley and Nathan Fairbairn is set to arrive next week, as is Jeff Lemire’s The Underwater Welder.

Lots of stuff going on or just passed… Dubai, Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and FCBD

Kill Shakespeare’s Anthony Del Col went to Dubai for it’s first Comic Con and wrote about the experience for the Beat.

Last weekend was the first Fan Expo Vancouver and the turnout was a lot better than anticipated. The rest of the crew is on vacation for a couple of days so I won’t know final attendance until they get back. We had a smaller staff but the show ran smoothly and the people in Vancouver were really great.

Of course, this weekend it’s the original C2E2… the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo at the BMO Round-Up Centre (Friday-Sunday). I wish I could have gone, but it would have been my 3rd convention weekend in a row. I had a blast there last year.

The following weekend it’s TCAF here in Toronto, at the Metro Toronto Reference Library. It’s a real shame that the organizers decided to schedule the show against Free Comic Book Day and one hopes that this will be the last time it happens. The Doug Wright Awards are being presented on May 5th at Jackman Hall at the Art Gallery of Ontario. There are plenty of side events scheduled, so check their site for information.

Friday, May 4th is the appropriate date for Star Wars Day Toronto at the Toronto Underground Cinema.

As I mentioned before, Saturday May 5th IS Free Comic Book Day, so make sure you go down to visit your local Canadian comics retailer and show them some love and get some free comics along the way. Many stores have scheduled signings and appearances by comic book creators as well as other activities like barbeques, sales, cosplay and more!

Friday the 13th Update

Sorry about the lack of updates this week, so much has been going on with… well, everything this week.

Between the announcement of the guest list for the March Toronto ComiCon, plans and coordination for Fan Expo Vancouver in April, the Dragon Lady closing and all of the related press coverage that has been getting, rumours of what is going to happen next with the Silver Snail, coordinating some shipments I have coming in and going out, and so on (not to mention my research work during the day)  I haven’t had time to do much posting. Robert has been working on more regional retailer round-ups.

Next week:

- we’ll be posting the Eligible Creators List for 2011 that we’ll be looking for feedback on. 2012 Nominating committee will be finalized and we can get on with selecting the list for 2012. Andrew completed the updates to the Webcomics list last weekend so if you haven’t had time to check it out, please take a look and discover some great comics.

- on Wednesday night in Toronto it’s the Jim Henson’s A Tale of Sand Industry Night release party at the Toronto Cartoonists Workshop with Ramon Perez. It looks like we have copies of the book available for the event so come on down and check it out of you can.

- Finally, I’ve been working on something top secret that I hope to be able to share the news about with you as early as next Monday.

Fan Expo Vancouver™ to launch April 21-22, 2012 (updated)

For the first time ever, Fan Expo Canada™ is extending it’s show westward!

Fan Expo Vancouver™ is the city’s very first major comicon.

Highlighting celebrities, shopping, panels and workshops, you will be able to find the newest and hottest in Anime, Manga, Comics, Sci-Fi, Gaming and Horror.

April 21st-22nd  2012, come out and meet your favourite celebrity or creator and shop for the hottest or most rare in comic books, graphic novels, manga, toys, t-shirts and more!

Fan Expo Vancouver™ is brought to you by way of Hobby Star Marketing Inc.  HSM was founded in 1992 as one of Canada’s premiere sports and entertainment marketing agencies.   The company first staked its claim in 1995 with the successful launch of the Canadian National Comic Book Expo.  It has since been re-branded as Fan Expo Canada featuring Comic, Anime, Science Fiction, Horror and Gaming.  The event has evolved into a spectacular, annual, multi-media even with prestigious acclaim, becoming North America’s 3rd largest event of its kind.




No guest announcements yet, but there will be postcard distribution to comic stores in BC, Alberta and Washington state on December 28, 2011. As far as I know I will be involved in the event coordinating the Canadian comic guests as well as running the comics programming, as I currently do these services for Fan Expo Canada and the Toronto ComiCONs.

While the announcement is very Hobbystar-centric, it should be noted that we are working with many members of the local comics community, including Vancouver Comicon promoter Leonard Wong, some of the folks involved in the Vancouver Comic Jams, and I’ve been in touch with the organizers of the Victoria Comic Con and VanCAF.

What’s also missing from that initial release is the involvement of the organizers of the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo who are part of this as well and will be helping to run the event, and we are also working closely with the Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle.

The intention of the event is not to step on any toes or alienate anyone but to create a great event in a market that hasn’t had anything like it before.