Robert Joseph Charpentier (1960-2014), owner of Toronto’s Comics and More (updated)

3031997To follow-up on a recent story, we here at the Joe Shuster Awards are saddened to learn of the passing of ROBERT JOSEPH CHARPENTIER, the owner of Toronto’s Comics & More shop on Danforth Avenue.

Rob or Bob as he was known to his friends and customers, was a long-time fixture on the Toronto comics scene, having owned Shining Knight comics, later renamed Comics & More. He had been a comics retailer for over 20 years.

In the late summer Rob had been diagnosed with a brain tumour after experiencing a series of excruciatingly painful headaches. The tumour was removed, but while undergoing adjuvant treatment it was discovered that the cancer had spread and could not be treated. In September Bob made the announcement on his store blog.

Rob passed on Friday, October 17th. Viewing and service will be held on Saturday, October 25th.

CHARPENTIER, Robert Joseph – Quietly in his sleep at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre after a short battle with cancer at the age of 54. Brother to Stephen Douglas (Elaine), James Thomas (Lynda) and Edward Anthony. Beloved uncle and granduncle to his numerous nieces and nephews and their children. Predeceased by his parents Douglas Charpentier and Evelyn Dame and his sister Sarah Hacker. He will be dearly missed by his whole family, as well as his family at ‘Comics and More’. Visitation will be held from 12-2 p.m. on Saturday, October 25, 2014 at the HERITAGE FUNERAL CENTRE, 50 Overlea Blvd., 416-423-1000, with a memorial service in the Chapel at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations to the

or the Canadian Diabetes Association would be greatly appreciated by the family. Online condolences and directions may be found at www.heritagefuneralcentre.ca -

Details on the service can be found here: Book of Memories
storefront4Official statement from the staff of Comics & More

Bleeding Cool has also run the story, copying the text of the obituary and the eulogy from the Comics and More Site.

Jeff Lemire lives near the shop and was a regular customer, and has blogged about Rob. IN MEMORY OF ROB CHARPENTIER

I was saddened to learn about Rob’s illness a couple months back. He was unable to work at the store anymore, but continued reading. One of his fears near the end was not getting a chance to see the end of Grant Morrison’s long anticipated Multiversity project. (It should be noted that when I reached out to DC Comics about this they helped connect Grant with Rob. Grant spent nearly an hour talking to Rob on the phone in his hospital room. DC and Grant’s kindness was not lost on Rob or his friends at the store, and was a real bright spot for Rob near the end).

This is such a wonderful example of people helping people. Rob was very excited to see where Multiversity was going and worried about missing it’s conclusion, but after the operation, Rob could no longer read (the removal of the tumour had affected his ability to read), so this is an even more wonderful story, in that Grant Morrison was able to tell him about the project, and about how it ended.

Rob Charpentier, comics retailer hospitalized

storefront4It’s with a heavy heart that I must report some unfortunate news that I’ve known about for a little while…

Rob Charpentier is the owner/operator of Toronto’s Danforth Avenue store Comics & More. Comics & More has been around in various incarnations since 1987.

Unfortunately, back in the summer Rob was diagnosed with progressive brain cancer, a situation that he recently shared with his friends and customers on his store blog a few weeks back.

Not sure what you may have heard around the store, but the reason you haven’t seen much of me lately is due to my hospitalization, Just a warning to anyone reading these words, if you suffer from occasional migraines and they suddenly increase in intensity and frequency – get to a damn hospital quick. A brain tumor is not something you can tough out.
It has been strange what has been going through my head lately, well, other other than radiation and scalpels that is. I am worried that I might not see the end of Grant Morrison’s Multiversity series – even if they manage to keep it on schedule – it’s six months away. More of a worry if the store will still be open at that point. I have limited options; I can try and sell, shut it down or just kind of fade away. I will not be able to work in the store again but I will try and do what’s fairest for all the loyal customers who’ve been with me over the years.
i will try to update you more often

Rob is currently undergoing palliative treatment and is under observation. Friends, like his former business partner Peter Fisico (online retailer All New Comics) who have visited him say that he remains positive and upbeat. At this point, the future of the store is uncertain, as it’s unlikely that Rob will be able to return to the store. Thankfully friends and staff have been keeping the business going for him.

I’ve known Rob for a long time, mostly from my days as a show promoter, but I have visited his various stores over the years and I’ve always found him to be a friendly, warm guy always happy to talk comics and discuss the business of comics retailing and shows. I regret I haven’t seen him for while, since he stopped exhibiting at events, but I know many people who call Comics & More their home store, and everyone in the community is distraught over the news and wishing the best for Rob. It can’t be easy.

The winners of the 2014 Joe Shuster Awards

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On Saturday, September 20th at Back Space Toronto we announced the winners of the 2014 Joe Shuster Canadian Comic Book Creators.

Continue reading

Staples, Zdarsky, North represent Canada in the winners circle at the 2014 Harvey Awards

harveyawardwinnersNamed in honor of the late Harvey Kurtzman, the Harvey Awards recognize outstanding work in comics and sequential art. The winners were presented September 6, 2014 in Baltimore, MD, in conjunction with the Baltimore Comic-Con.

This was the ninth year for the Harvey Awards in Baltimore, MD.

The 2014 Harvey Award Winners

  • Best Artist: Fiona Staples (Saga)

  • Best Continuing or Limited Series: Saga by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples, Image Comics
  • Best Cover Artist:  Fiona Staples, Saga, Image Comics
  • Best New Series: Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction & Chip Zdarsky, Image Comics
  • Most Promising New Talent: Chip Zdarsky, Sex Criminals, Image Comics
  • Best Original Graphic Publication for Younger Readers: Adventure Time, KaBOOM!
  • Special Award for Humor in Comics: Ryan North, Adventure Time, KaBOOM!

Fiona Staples, Chip Zdarsky and Ryan North are all nominated for 2014 Joe Shuster Awards, which will be presented in Toronto on Saturday, September 20th.

New award for 2014: T.M. Maple Award

In 2014, with the arrival of the 10th Annual Joe Shuster Awards, we are introducing a new award into the current line-up, one that will replace the long defunct Outstanding Achievement Award and fill a gap in our existing coverage.

The new T.M. Maple Award will go to one person (living or deceased) selected from the Canadian comics community for achievements made outside of the creative and retail categories who had a positive impact on the community.

Since this is the inaugural year for the TM Maple Award, two recipients will be recognized:

T.M. Maple was the pseudonym of Jim Burke (1956-1994), a fan who wrote more than 3,000 letters to comic book letter columns between 1977 and 1994. Burke’s letters were quite popular among readers as well as editors, and he wrote prolifically to a diverse number of comic publishing companies and titles. Burke originally signed his letters as “The Mad Maple,” but Marvel Comics editor Tom DeFalco abbreviated it to “T.M. Maple” to make it sound like a real name (thus circumventing a new policy at the company to stop printing letters submitted under pseudonyms). Burke took a liking to the new name and began using it exclusively (including variations like “Theodore Maddox Maplehurst”) until 1988, when in Scott McCloud’s Zot! #21 he revealed his real name. Burke published a fanzine about comics in the late 1980s. With artist/publisher Allen Freeman, Burke co-created the superhero Captain Optimist. Jim Burke had a fatal heart attack in 1994.

Debra Jane Shelly (1974-2014) was a comics fan, supporter, and self-described (and celebrated) nerd. She was known for her years of behind-the-scenes support at Toronto comic cons and other events celebrating comics and pop culture.An active member of many online fan communities such as the Comics Cube and the International Comics Society. In 2013, she was a volunteer at many conventions such as Fan Expo Canada, she contributed biographies and counsel to the Joe Shuster Awards, she co-founded the Comic Book Lounge in Toronto’s Ladies Night, which met bi-monthly and became a gathering point for women comic book fans in a community still largely dominated by and catering to a male audience. It was a first for the Toronto comics community, and came at a time when the critical question of diversity in comics (readers as much as creators and characters) was gaining serious momentum internationally.  Debra was known for her positivity, and did less to criticize the comic community’s shortcomings than to nurture the people, spaces, and ideas that were inspiring. In early 2014 she passed away from a epileptic seizure in her sleep.

“To so many people she was the first person we told of our successes and failures & she always knew the best way to respond -how to congratulate and console us. That kind of contribution doesn’t fit on a resume but it was felt throughout the community.”

–Alice Quinn, Ladies’ Night co-founder

JSA Director Kevin Boyd:

I am deeply moved that members of the community would push the Joe Shuster Awards to create an award that honours those people in our community that don’t create or sell comics, that fall through the cracks, and I am proud to be able to announce that we will be debuting this new award in the fall of 2014, our tenth year. In February 2014, after Debra’s passing, there was an overwhelming push on the organization from people in the community to do something with the Joe Shuster Awards to honour Debra and people like her, the fans and members of our Canadian comics communities that make a positive impact on others. In our search for someone to name the award after, one name stood out from among the many possibilities, someone who has come up many times in discussions for the Canadian Comic Book Creator Hall of Fame, and that was Jim Burke, aka T.M. Maple. Burke was more than just a letter writer, here was a person that loved comics and wanted better of them and became an important part of the comics community by voicing those opinions and influencing publishers, editors and creators.

The 2014 Joe Shuster Award Nominees / Les nominés pour le prix Joe Shuster 2014

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UPDATED – AUGUST 22, 2014

The Joe Shuster Awards will be presented on Saturday, September 20th in Toronto, Ontario at BACK SPACE TORONTO, 587A College Street (2nd Floor). Ceremony will commence at 8 pm.

June 4, 2014 – Canada has a rich tradition of supporting our national arts communities with awards that recognize the achievements of our citizens like the Genie Awards for film and television and the Juno Awards for music – the JOE SHUSTER AWARD is Canada’s national award that honours and raises the awareness of Canadians that create, self-publish and sell comics books, graphic novels and webcomics.

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Joe Shuster

They are named after pioneering Canadian-born artist Joe Shuster (1914-1992), whose clear, dynamic style and inventive visual flourishes set the standard for graphic storytelling during the infancy of the North American comic book industry. It was Superman, a co-creation of Shuster and his friend Jerry Siegel, that electrified the industry over 75 years ago in 1938 and, almost overnight, transformed comic books into an enormous pop-cultural phenomenon.

shusteraward-portraitcoloursm.jpgNominees were selected this spring from lists of creators of original works published and distributed during the year 2013. Qualifying creators must be Canadian citizens – living at home or abroad, or a recognized permanent resident. The award winners will be chosen by a jury vote to ensure every nominee is given adequate consideration.

And the nominees are: Continue reading

Late May update

Okay, so we’re nearing the end of the extension given for the Retailer, Webcomics, Comics for Kids, and Gene Day Awards and if all goes as planned we’ll be announcing the nominations next week.

I would like to thank the many folks who have contacted me about being involved in the awards this year, I’ll be contacting you all shortly and we can begin planning for the ceremony and fundraising as soon as the nominations list goes public.

As usual, it should be stated that since these are awards with only 7 (sometimes 8) nominees per category, not everyone can be nominated for an award. Our committees have been narrowing down the lists to a smaller set of nominations (in some categories from hundreds of individual artists) and we know that inevitably some people will feel we neglected a creator, a book, or a store…

Congratulations to the winners of the Doug Wright Awards for 2014 (handed out as usual at TCAF in Mid-May) for non-mainstream, non-superhero comics:
paulscoutsBest Book – Paul Joins the Scouts by Michel Rabagliati (Conundrum Press)
Spotlight aka “The Nipper” – Steven Gilbert for The Journal of the Main Street Secret Lodge
Pigskin Peters (non-narrative) – “Out of Skin” by Emily Carroll

Looking for new team members

We’re looking for motivated individuals to join our planning and fundraising team for 2014, are you interested in being one of those people and be a part of the Joe Shuster Awards team? It will involve some in-person meetings (for people in the Greater Toronto Area) on a semi-regular basis, or email meetings for people who aren’t — and interested parties must be willing to take direction, offer their opinion, help out at events, and to take on tasks outside of meetings. We’re a not-for-profit organization, but this is good experience for people willing to learn about and interact with the Canadian comics community. If you are interested, please contact me (Kevin Boyd) at kevin@joeshusterawards.com

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.

Updates

We have a near complete list of English and French creators ready and so we are initiating the nominating process and should have some announcements to make in time for Free Comic Book Day (May 3rd).

We’d like to thank all of the creators that sent in books for consideration for the Gene Day Award this year, we’re still accepting submissions right up until May, so there’s still time.

The Hall of Fame committee has initiated discussions on who will be included in 2014.

Congratulations to Jeff Lemire – in addition to writing Animal Man (now completed), Green Arrow and the upcoming Justice League United (formerly Canada, but set in Canada), Jeff will be writing Teen Titans: Earth One, an original graphic novel being illustrated by Terry and Rachel Dodson.

Off to a late start this year…

My apologies for those of you waiting for updates on eligible creator lists, as eager as you are to get started on the 10th Annual Joe Shuster Awards, so are we — so am I.

Obviously the passing of my significant other, Debra, in late January has had a severe impact on the morale here at the Joe Shuster Awards and on my output. We are committed to making sure that the awards will take place.

I hope to finish compliling the data over the next few weeks and we’ll be using March 2014 as a feedback/confirmation month – looking for your input and finalizing our 2014 nominating committees.

Obviously a  major concern for us is money, so we do need to get back on a financial track this year that is realistic and to that end we will be running a fundraising campaign once we get things onto that schedule.

Positive Spirit and Determination: Debra Jane Shelly

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Debra Jane Shelly
(April 23, 1974-January 25, 2014)

Everyone involved with The Joe Shuster Awards are in shock and deeply saddened to hear the news that Debra Jane Shelly passed peacefully in her sleep Saturday afternoon from an epileptic seizure.

Deb was the light and partner for our co-founder and Associate Director, Kevin Boyd.

The Joe Shuster Awards were very fortunate as well that she volunteered her time and considerable knowledge of the industry to the JSAs.  She was part of the Gene Day nominating committee this past year and did some copy writing for the website and program book. She was an ardent supporter of the awards and helped out whenever she was needed.

It’s not an understatement that the comic book community in Toronto and beyond are reeling from hearing the news Deb has left us. This piece typifies her reach, impact, spirit, and generosity to others.  Some she never even met face to face:

http://www.comicscube.com/2014/01/rip-debra-jane-shelly.html

Jennifer Haines, owner of The Dragon, had known Debra since high school at St. Mildred’s in Oakville:

“Deb was one of the most amazing people I have ever known. In high school, we were both outcasts among our peers, and that formed a bond that would last for over 25 years. It always amazed me how well she maintained her positive spirit and determination to be herself through those tough times. In fact, I’m not sure Deb even realized how outcast she was in that place. I admire her for that too. She didn’t let anything make her jaded or less generous with those around her.

“When Deb and I reconnected years later, I re-discovered this joy and strength in her. She had a boundless ability to help those in need. The day before she passed away, she posted a reassuring comment on my Facebook wall in response to a difficulty I was having. It brought a smile to my face that stayed with me. From reading the comments of others in response to this tragedy, it’s clear that she shared this generosity of spirit with absolutely everyone she knew, even those she had never met.

“I remember one night we were out at a bar and were headed downstairs to the washroom, when this rather drunken woman stumbled down the stairs, twisting her ankle. Deb escorted her into the washroom and helped her clean up, and somehow ended up giving her advice in her family legal trouble. That was Deb. It was amazing to watch. I couldn’t believe how incredibly supportive she was of someone she had only just met. But, Deb was like that with everyone. Absolutely everyone.

“One fateful night, I invited Deb to join me and a few friends for drinks at Mill Street to celebrate my birthday. I remember that night so clearly because it was the night she met Kevin. Afterward, we headed to the Golden Griddle on Eglinton and ate pancakes at 4 in the morning. We knew we were witnessing something magical happening between Deb and Kev. It didn’t surprise us one bit when they quickly became a couple. They just made sense. We knew they were going to be together forever. It isn’t fair how short “forever” turned out to be.

“The greatest thing we could do for Deb is to carry on her legacy: be good to each other, better than we’ve ever been, with strangers, with friends, with family; be positive and bring a smile to everything we do; support those in need; remain strong as people, and idealistic, and ready to argue the merits (or lack thereof) of even the most obscure creators and characters at a moment’s notice.

“I will always remember Deb as one of the best specimens of humanity that has ever walked this earth. She has left the world a better place. While we mourn her and feel the loss of her presence, let us not forget those smiles, those character voices she’d do, those hugs, those snacks delivered at conventions, and that boundless energy and ability to be there for each and every one of us. I hope I can become even half the human being that she was. I sure am going to try. I love you Deb; you’ll always be with me.”

All the nominating committees and volunteers involved with The Joe Shuster Awards, past and present, wish to send our heartfelt condolences and strength to Kevin Boyd and to the Shelly family.

Donations are welcome in Deb’s honour to Epilepsy Toronto:

https://secure2.unxvision.com/EPT/eDonation/ec_index.asp?eCelebration_Form_ID=3&isAdmin=1

Updated: here is the text of Kevin’s eulogy, read at the service at the Manor Road United Church on Friday, January 31.

debMy name is Kevin Boyd, and for five too short years Deb was the light of my life.

Today you have heard and will continue to hear the same things about her in our talks: Deb was genuine, she was happy, she was 100% there for us. She loved children,and pets, and flowers, and art and books, which she absorbed with her supercomputer of a brain. She loved taking pictures of the people and things that she loved, and above all else she fiercely loved her wolf pack – those of us she had taken into her heart.

She and I met a little over five years ago at a birthday dinner for our mutual friend Jennifer Stewart (Haines). I’m a reserved person, naturally introverted and shy, I’d rather be at the back of the church taking this all in instead of here at the front. I don’t rush to meet new people. At one point she grew tired of talking to my friend Scott, turned her laser beams toward me and said, “Tell me about YOU!” — I was smitten.

Over the course of that night I knew I had to see her again. We all went for pancakes at 2 in the morning. Deb and I split a cab home, as our apartments turned out to be a short distance apart, and on the way she received the call that Cristie had gone to the hospital, and she went on her way to meet her nephew Noah later that day. That certainly made our anniversaries easy to remember!

A couple of weeks later, after some chatting through facebook and email, we agreed to meet for dinner and it was a magical night — a massive snowstorm was in the process of shutting the city down, but we had no idea – we had dinner and chatted for hours. As we left the restaurant we walked into an empty Eaton Centre and the subway was virtually deserted. We felt like the only two people in the world. When we got to St. Clair station, without hesitation, Deb said “I’m in!” She hugged me for the first time. I was taken aback, I’ve never met someone that direct emotionally, I think maybe I retreated a little. Deb did not.

Over the following months we met on and off for movies and or dinner, and early on she explained that she had epilepsy and what might happen if she had a seizure. When she returned from a family trip to Florida, she introduced me to her family and I must have passed another test, as meeting her nephews Caleb and Noah for the first time, and of course Jake, the family dog, who she loved dearly, she seemed even more proud of the concept of ‘us’.

One night we were talking — and I’m a low talker at times, sometimes I mumble. I apologize if that’s the case today, but at one point in our conversation I think I said “thank you”. Deb grabbed my shoulders and said “You love me! That’s AWESOME!” I was floored, and speechless – where did that come from? I didn’t remember saying that? It mattered so much to her, and she grabbed me in that bearlike hug of hers and squeezed me tight and told me she loved me too. How could I contradict her?

I also got a chance to spend more time with the Shelly family, and you can see where Deb got it. I’ve never in my life encountered such a strong and loving group, and she had the most amazing support structure. My family – I think we know that we love each other, but we never say it, I have only brothers, so as brothers are, we were tough on each other. But Deb and her family, she knew she was loved. And you could see from spending time with her parents where she developed aspects of what made Deb essentially Deb. During any family crisis or illness, she would strive to be the strong and funny older sister: a pillar of strength, because they deserved it. She would do her best to remove the negative, but what she did was, like a true empath, take it inside and later in private let it all out – like emptying a vacuum. Conquering Cristie’s cancer was the most important thing to her, nothing else mattered and you can only imagine how happy she was that she did. Her victory was also Deb’s.

I have always been a comic book reader and collector, and she and I connected over that, she had told me of her teenage years collecting in Oakville, and about the jerks at the shop she frequented, who would tease her, and that led to her leaving comics behind. I introduced her to my world of shows and the people here at events like Fan Expo. She would volunteer to help me, and along the way she met many amazing people who she pulled into her ‘wolf pack’. She would say she loved being a nerd, a term I’ve never cared for, but Deb embodied the positive aspects of the word, and reclaimed it on her terms. She devoured my books over the years, and at shows, online and in other places she focused on being an expert in all things nerdy, and she succeeded. She could talk to anyone about anything. As she would say, fiercely, no one can tell you it’s wrong to like what you like.

The five years we were together were a tornado. For the first few years Deb struggled with the medication she took for her epilepsy. It would exhaust her, like she had weights on her shoulders. She would sleep 18 hours a day. You had to be like water on rock in some ways with Deb, but eventually she went to see a specialist at Toronto Western and he introduced some different medications. Deb blossomed on the last one and it was amazing to see Deb emerge from under the weight of her medication and become this shining force. It also coincided with some pretty amazing things, like the opening of the store and going to work at the Mount Sinai Foundation. Even when the store made me miserable and a giant ball of stress, Deb was there, always helping, but always reminding me how important it was to relax, to step back, to be with her and with family. If you look at the wonderful pictures gathered at the visitation you can watch Deb grow younger and happier. She had reclaimed her life.

Deb always loved Facebook. She joined the Comics Cube group a few years ago, and that group has splintered off into a handful of smaller, private groups. She loved them all, especially her fellow moderators like Duy Tano and Ben and Kim Smith. She connected with so many people around the world. They could tell how awesome she was through her posts, her comments, what she could add to a conversation, or how she could make you feel better when you said you were down. Deb had the innate ability to find the best cat photo to make a person laugh and brighten their day.

Last week was an amazing week for Deb. She watched some documentaries, she met her newest niece Sidney, who she had two visits with – at one we watched her favourite movie of the year, Pacific Rim with brother Greg and she was so happy to have an afternoon with a baby, brother and ‘giant robots fighting monsters!’ She had a chance to visit with Anne Marie and her daughters, and enjoyed catching up with them. She had multiple visits with Karrie, Caleb, Liam and had a magical afternoon with Ana. We went to a movie premiere for a terrible movie and saw many friends there. We had this amazing Saturday morning, chilling over coffee and she was raving about how great the last few days had been, telling me about Ana and Sidney. I spoke with my friend Peter and Deb added to the conversation in the background. She was wearing her I love DC Super Heroes t-shirt, which always made me smile. I got ready to go down to the store, and Deb was there with a bear hug and an ‘I love you!’ and we talked about Ladies Night, her favourite event at the store, and how her friends would be there. I got down to the car and found the door was open and the battery had run out. I went back up to get the booster and Deb was right there again, with a big hug and warm I love you.

Trying to find meaning in what happened after is going to be our challenge. Deb was like that car battery, she was full of life and energy, but epilepsy was the door we didn’t know was open, and that battery ran out. But magical things happened that afternoon, and continue to happen. So many of you have told me that on Saturday afternoon, unbidden, Deb was in your thoughts. I think that she sent out a wave of energy, like an exploding star,to all of us in her wolf pack to let us know that she loved us and to take strength from that.

I miss her terribly, but I feel her presence in the room and I’m trying to follow her examples. I hope that everyone here can do the same. Always do what Deb did and make sure the people you love know how you feel about them when you say goodbye.

In comic books, the heroes pass and return regularly. It’s a storytelling device that reminds us why this was a great character, and when they are taken off the table for a while it is to remind us why we like them, why they mean something to us. Debra Jane Shelly was the superhero in our lives, and so I keep expecting her to find her way back to us. Her absence reminds us why we loved her so much and by doing so she is bringing us closer to those we have in our lives, reminding us about what’s important – she always knew that. She’s still out there righting wrongs and kicking evil’s butt.

Debra Jane Shelly

ImageThe Joe Shuster Awards lost a true friend & advocate this week when Debra Jane Shelly passed.

Deb was the light & partner of our Co-Founder & Associate Director, Kevin Boyd.

We will post more personal reflections on Deb at a later time.  We wanted to post this notice from her family.

Everyone involved with the JSA’s wish to send our heartfelt condolences & strength to Kevin Boyd and to The Shelly family during this time.

Debra Jane Shelly (April 23, 1974-January 25, 2014)

Our precious Debra passed peacefully in her sleep on Saturday afternoon from an epileptic seizure. Debbie will be forever remembered as a genuine and kind soul with unparalleled wit and a spectacular smile. DJ was the adored daughter of Scott and Susan Shelly of Oakville, ON.  Debra was the loving partner of Kevin A. Boyd. She was the world’s most cherished older sister to Karrie Shelly Singer (Dave), Cristie Shelly Schultz (Mark) and Greg Shelly (Laura Waters). Debbie was a doting aunt to Caleb, Noah, Liam, Ana, Sidney, Kaitlyn, Michael and Lauren. We will miss her dearly.

Please join us for a celebration of Deb’s beautiful life.  A visitation will be held on Thursday, January 30 at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery Visitation Centre (375 Mt Pleasant Rd, Toronto) from 6-9pm. The funeral service will be held on Friday, January 31 at Manor Road United Church (240 Manor Rd. E, Toronto) at 11am.  All are welcome. We look forward to sharing stories, laughter and love for our sweet Debra at the reception to be held immediately following the funeral service at the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery Visitation Centre.

Debbie was a ray of light in all of our lives- please feel free to come dressed in your most cheerful colours in tribute to our sunny girl. In lieu of flowers, donations are appreciated to Epilepsy Toronto in Debbie’s honour at:
https://secure2.unxvision.com/EPT/eDonation/ec_index.asp?eCelebration_Form_ID=3&isAdmin=1

Happy New Year! 2014 marks 10 years of the Joe Shuster Canadian Comic Book Creator Awards

cropped-541599031_dcca9f97ab.jpgIn Spring 2005 the first annual Joe Shuster Awards for Canadian Comic Book Creators was held at the Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon and a lot of great books and talent have been honoured over the decade since then.

As 2013 draws to a close, please join us as we present an overview of 9 years worth of Joe Shuster Award Winners.

Note that some winners in 2005-2008 were selected by public voting. In 2009 all categories became jury selected.

CARTOONISTS
2005 – Darwyn Cooke for DC: The New Frontier (DC Comics)
2006 – Bryan Lee O’Malley for Scott Pilgrim Vol. 2 (Oni Press)
2007 – Darwyn Cooke for The Spirit (DC)
2008 – Jeff Lemire for Essex County Books 1 and 2 (Top Shelf)
2009 – Dave Sim for Glamourpuss (Aardvark-Vanaheim)
2010 – Michel Rabagliati pour Paul, tome 06: Paul à Québec (La Pastèque)
2011 – Tin Can Forest for Baba Yaga and the Wolf (Koyama Press)
2012 – Ramon Perez for Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand (Archaia)
2013 – Jeff Lemire for Sweet Tooth (DC/Vertigo) and The Underwater Welder (Top Shelf)

ARTISTS
2005 – Kaare Andrews for Spider-Man/Doctor Octopus: Year One (Marvel)
2006 – Pia Guerra for Y the Last Man (DC/Vertigo)
2007 – Darwyn Cooke and J. Bone for Batman/The Spirit (DC)
2008 – Dale Eaglesham for Justice Society of America (DC)
2009 – David Finch for Ultimatum (Marvel)
2010 – Stuart Immonon for Ultimate Spider-Man and New Avengers (Marvel)
2011 – Francis Manapul for the Flash, Adventure Comics and Superman/Batman (DC)
2012 – Stuart Immonen for Fear Itself (Marvel)
2013 – Isabelle Arsenault pour Jane, le renard & moi (La Pastèque)

WRITERS
2005 – Samm Barnes for Doctor Spectrum (Marvel MAX)
2005 – Ty Templeton for The Batman Adventures (DC)
2006 – J. Torres for Teen Titans Go! and Legends of the Dark Knight (DC) and Love as a Foreign Language (Oni)
2007 – Darwyn Cooke for Superman Confidential (DC)
2008 – Cecil Castellucci for the PLAIN Janes (DC/Minx)
2009 – Mariko Tamaki for Emiko Superstar (DC/Minx) and Skim (Groundwood Books)
2010 – Maryse Dubuc pour Les nombrils, tome 04: Duels de belles (Dupuis)
2011 – Émilie Villeneuve pour La fille invisible (Glénat Québec)
2012 – Kurtis J. Wiebe for The Green Wake and The Intrepids (Image Comics)
2013 – Fanny Britt pour Jane, le renard & moi (La Pastèque)

ACHIEVEMENT 2005, 2008
2005 – Dave Sim and Gerhard for the completion of Cerebus. Begun in 1977, this 300-issue series is a milestone in comic book publishing and is the longest running creator-owned comic book series
2008 – David Watkins for using comics as a teaching tool.

PUBLISHERS 2005-2011
2005 – Arcana Studio
2006 – Drawn & Quarterly
2007 – Drawn & Quarterly
2008 – Drawn & Quarterly
2009 – Les 400 Coups/Mécanique Générale
2010 – La Pastèque
2011 – Koyama Press

INTERNATIONAL CREATORS 2006-2008
2006 – Brian K. Vaughan
2007 – Brian K. Vaughan
2008 – Ed Brubaker

WEBCOMIC CREATORS
2007 – Dan Kim
2008 – Ryan Sohmer and Lar De Souza
2009 – Cameron Stewart
2010 – Karl Kerschl
2011 – Emily Carroll
2012 – Emily Carroll
2013 – Michael DeForge

Favourite Overall Creator – English Language Publications 2007-8
2007 – Dan Kim
2008 – Faith Erin Hicks

Favourite Overall Creator – French Language Publications 2007-8
2007 – Michel Rabagliati
2008 – Philippe Girard

COVER ARTISTS
2008 – Steve Skroce
2009 – Niko Henrichon
2010 – Darwyn Cooke
2011 – Fiona Staples
2012 – François Lapierre
2013 – Mike Del Mundo

COLOURISTS 2008-2011
2008 – Dave McCaig
2009 – François Lapierre
2010 – Nathan Fairbairn
2011 – Julie Rocheleau

COMICS FOR KIDS – RENAMED THE DRAGON AWARD in 2012
2009 – Kean Soo for Jellaby Vol. 1 (Hyperion)
2010 – Svetlana Chmakova for Nightschool: The Weirn Books (Yen Press)
2011 – Scott Chantler for Three Thieves Book 2 (Kids Can Press)
2012 – Paul Roux pour Ariane et Nicolas Tome 6: Les Toiles Mysterieuses (Les 400 Coups)
2013 – Jo Rioux for Cat’s Cradle Volume 1: The Golden Twine (Kids Can Press)

THE GENE DAY AWARD FOR SELF-PUBLISHING
2009 – Jesse Jacobs for Blue Winter, Shapes in the Snow
2010 – Ethan Rilly for Pope Hats #1
2011 – John Martz for Heaven All Day
2012 – Dakota McFadzean for Ghost Rabbit
2013 – Cory McCallum, Matthew Daley for The Pig Sleep: A Mr. Monitor Case

THE HARRY KREMER RETAILER AWARD
2005 – Now & Then Books (Kitchener, ON)
2006 – Strange Adventures (Halifax, NS)
2007 – Happy Harbor (Edmonton, AB)
2008 – Big B Comics (Hamilton, ON)
2009 – Legends Comics and Books (Victoria, BC)
2010 – The Beguiling (Toronto, ON)
2011 – Planete BD (Montreal, QC)
2012 – The Silver Snail (Toronto, ON)
2013 – Heroes Comics (London, ON)

The Canadian Comic Book Creator Hall of Fame
2005 Joe Shuster (1914-1992)
2005 Leo Bachle (aka Les Barker) (1926-2003)
2005 Adrian Dingle (1911-1974)
2005 Hal Foster (1892-1982)
2005 Ed Furness (1911-2005)
2005 Rand Holmes (1942-2002)
2006 Jon St. Ables (1912-1999)
2006 Owen McCarron (1929-2005)
2006 Win Mortimer (1919-1998)
2006 Dave Sim (1956-)
2007 Albert Chartier (1912-2004)
2007 Gerald Lazare (1927-)
2007 Jacques Hurtubise aka ZYX (1950-)
2007 Gene Day (1951-1982)
2008 Ted McCall (1901-1975)
2008 Pierre Fournier (1949-)
2008 Stanley Berneche (1947-)
2008 John Byrne (1950-)
2009 George Menendez Rae (1906-1992)
2009 Real Godbout (1951-)
2009 Ken Steacy (1955-)
2009 Diana Schutz (1955-)
2010 Richard Comely (1950-)
2010 Dave Darrigo (1954-)
2010 George Freeman (1951-)
2010 Serge Gaboury (1954-)
2010 Deni Loubert (1951-)
2010 Jean-Claude St. Aubin (1951-)
2011 Chester Brown (1960-)
2011 Todd McFarlane (1961-)
2012 No Inductees Selected
2013 Murray Karn (1924-)
2013 Vernon Miller (1912-1974)
2013 Arn Saba (Katherine Collins) (1947-)

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.

Crowdfunding: The F1rst Hero

What if everyone who ever had superpowers had gone insane and become a threat to society? What if, after decades of this, one man gained abilities “far beyond those of mortal men” but kept his sanity? Recently discharged from the Army and faced with a society that fears superhumans, a government that hunts them down and growing numbers of crazed supervillains all around him, JACOB ROTH must decide to either put himself at risk by using his powers to help people or do nothing and remain safe while innocent people get hurt.

“THE F1RST HERO” is a unique new take on the superhero mythos, written by ANTHONY RUTTGAIZER and illustrated by PHILLIP SEVY with colors/letters by KT SMITH (American Splendor, Northern Guard) and covers by LEE MODER (Shinku, Wonder Woman, Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.).  The first story arc is four issues long and debuts around March 2014 from ACTION LAB COMICS (Molly Danger, Princeless, NFL Rush Zone).

Please support the campaign by making a donation on Indiegogo. There are incentives!

“A really, really good high concept. It instantly offers a reader a character who we know will face tons of nasty challenges and a character who is unique in the world – always a good start.”
– Ty Templeton: Writer, Batman Adventures

“I like the implicit sense of humour. I like the idea that [superhumans] are shunned. I like the dilemma.”
– Mark Askwith: Senior Producer, Space Television

“Anthony Ruttgaizer has created a ‘Mutant Registration Act’ that actually makes sense.”
– George Zotti: Co-Owner, Silver Snail Comic Shops

“The premise sounds very interesting. I’m inclined to think it’ll be a hit.”
– Richard Pace: Penciller, New Warriors/Starman

“I thought [the preview] was great.”
– Tony S. Daniel: Writer/Artist, Detective Comics/Action Comics

“[Sevy] is ready to go!”
– Francis Manapul: Writer/Artist, Flash

Nelvana of the Northern Lights by Adrian Dingle to be reprinted.

Nelvana_oneshotSome news announced at the 2013 Joe Shuster Awards ceremony and reiterated the following day at Fan Expo Canada — Hope Nicholson and Rachel Richey (who were both involved in Lost Heroes the Movie, which is said to be released later this year) have received permission from Corus Media and the National Archives to reprint the 31 Nelvana stories. Richey, who has worked for the National Archives in the past, has a blog on Canadian comics entitled Comic Syrup.

The character was published from 1941-1947 in the pages of Hillborough Studios and later Bell Features’ Triumph-Adventure Comics. Nelvana is one of the medium’s earliest female superhero characters.

Nelvana was created by Canadian Comic Book Creator Hall of Fame Inductee Adrian Dingle in 1941 for his company Hillborough Studios, after hearing tales of Inuit legends by well-known Canadian painter Franz Johnston. After merging his Toronto studio with publishers Gene and Cy Bell’s Bell Features, Dingle officially signed over the rights and trademark to Bell Features in a 1946 dated document.

However in 1947 Bell Features sold the rights to Nelvana and other characters to F.E. Howard Publications, and Nelvana’s last appearance in comics (still written and drawn by Adrian Dingle) was in F.E. Howard’s Super-Duper Comics #3 (May-June 1947 issue), which won’t be included in this collection.

While Bell Features/Commercial Signs of Canada closed up shop in 1953, the original artwork and the publication rights to the Bell Features Comics (incl. presumably the Hillborough Studios issues) were sold to Michael Hirsh and Patrick Loubert in 1971 by John Ezrin, Bell’s former Capital Officer. They in turn donated the collection to the National Archives under the provision that the material could not be reprinted without their permission. Their company Nelvana, was named after Dingle’s character, which was bought by Corus Entertainment in 2000, and presumably that includes the company’s assets – including the publication rights to Bell Features comics. So this could be just the first re-presentation of Bell Features comics, providing that this one is successful.

The majority of these comics have not been seen since they were originally published in the 1940’s. Some scans have been reprinted in books such as Hirsh and Loubert’s Great Canadian Comic Books. Nelvana was featured on a postage stamp.

Inspired by tales of the Inuit people told to him by Group of Seven and Ontario College of Art professor Franz (or Frank) Johnston, creator and cartoonist Adrian Dingle loosely adapted many Inuit legends into the superhero mythology of Canada’s first female superhero, predating the arrival of Wonder Woman by less than a handful of months.

When asked about potential new comics featuring Nelvana of the Northern Lights, someone on the facebook group for the character indicated that permission for any NEW comics with the character would require the permission and involvement of Adrian Dingle’s estate, that is until 2024 — our research indicates the date is specifically January 1, 2025 (as Dingle died in 1974 the copyright act indicates that the control of the artist’s work falls to his or her estate for 50 years after the death of the artist/author up until the end of the calendar year in which they passed away). At that time, presumably Nelvana becomes a public domain character. We’re not entirely sure where F.E. Howard Publications fit into this mix – they bought the rights to Nelvana with the intent to create new comics from Bell in 1947, and the 1971 agreement would indicate that Hirsch and Loubert obtained just the reprint rights to those stories published by Hillborough/Bell Features. The creation rights may have had a specific time limit, or conditions that were not met, but at the latest they likely lapsed back to the Dingle Estate in 1997 (50 years after they were licensed). The Dingle Estate has always controlled what Canadian copyright law refers to as the Moral Rights to Nelvana, and can veto depictions of the character they don’t agree with if they so choose.

Nicholson and Richey announced that the project would be crowdfunded (probably by either Kickstarter or Indiegogo) with the campaign to begin on October 1, 2013. The collection we are told will be priced at $30, in softcover trade paperback format. Black and white interiors, with a colour cover. Book design for the project is being handled by Joe Shuster Award winning cartoonist Ramon Perez (Jim Henson’s A Tale of Sand).

Perks are to be announced, but many artists such as Jeff Lemire and Steve Manale have been announced as providing something for the project, and others such as David Cutler and Adriana Blake have done art pieces of Nelvana that will presumably be perks or turned into prints or other media for perks.

For updates and interaction with the editors, please check out the facebook page.