Honest Ed’s and Mirvisch Village Sold – Rented back to David Mirvisch for 2-3 years.

cihonesteds17.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterboxNews today out of Toronto that David Mirvish has completed negotiations to sell the large property at Bathurst and Bloor that includes comic book stores The Beguiling and it’s satellite store for children’s comics Little Island Comics.

Discussed in an earlier article on this site, Markham Street as long had historical ties to comics, as it was the home to Canada’s first comic shop, Memory Land, and to the first comic art festival in 1968 (with guest Stan Lee). It was also home to some to the 2nd Toronto Comic Arts Festival in an adjacent parking lot in 2005.

It had been confirmed that the property has been sold to BC based developers WESTBANK PROPERTIES, the deal will be completely finalized by the end of the year. Westbank is responsible for the Shangri-La Hotels in Toronto and Vancouver, as well as other buildings on the west coast is very design intensive, which is something Mirvisch is very much in favour of doing with his own projects downtown on King Street, which will be partially funded by the sale of this land. They are known for building luxury condos and hotels.

Westbank is the winner in a race that had an unknown number of horses. Sources have independently told me that the Weston Group (Loblaws) was very interested in the land, and American retailers Wal-Mart and Target had also expressed interest. Originally assessed at a price of 100-million dollars, chances are the final deal is for a sum larger than that amount.

hendersonSince Westbank has no concrete plans as of yet for the 1.8 hectares of land that runs more than a block West of Bathurst and Bloor and a block South of it — and if they did the designs would have to go through the long process of permits and approvals — so they are renting the land back to David Mirvish for at least 2 to possibly 3 years. Plus the city of Toronto voted to hold off on approving anything until 2014, so they’ll have time to start surveying and consulting and readying for the inevitable discussions with Toronto’s City Council.

This of course gives the current Mirvisch Village tenants some more time to make some more long-term plans. Since Mirvisch is renting the land from the new owners, it could be assumed that he will continue to charge the lower, subsidized rent that MV tenants have been paying for decades, but that’s not a definite. Also not definite is the fate of his father’s retail store, which will probably run down business before the rental term is completed.

Neil the Horse needs help.

nthhcSaving Neil the Horse

Greetings from Hermes Press! We are a comic book and popular culture art publisher based in New Castle, Pennsylvania. We are a family business that has existed since 2001, and run our company with only 3 full-time employees, along with our unpaid office-dog Moose. Over the years HP has reprinted such titles as The Phantom, Buck Rogers, and Dark Shadows. We have also dabbled in new works such as Scratch9.

Our newest reprint project, Neil the Horse, is a reprint of the much-beloved  1980s Canadian comic book series created by Arn Saba (now Katherine Collins).  Hermes Press wants to print Neil the Horse, but to do that we need your help!  

We are already working on restoring the pages, but don’t have the dedicated funds to print the book. Until we do, it’ll just be sitting on our desktops! By helping us fund this project, you will be saving an iconic series. Neil the Horse  will always be in comics history. But we want more for our horsey hero. How about letting him live again?

Neil and his friends Soapy and Mam’selle Poupée are an always-struggling songand-dance act. To gain success, they will go anywhere, do anything, and put up  with anything — like a trip to Hell, or captivity inside a video game, or a gang of  slap-happy aliens in a stunt-driving saucer. Oh, and a drunken and disorderly  back-up band of cats.

Neil is a happy go-lucky (and not too bright) horse with a mania for bananas.  He’s one heck of a tap-dancer and singer, and he can also get down to breakdancing. He adores his two pals, and will do anything for them. 

Mam’selle Poupée is a romantic and lovelorn living doll from France, whose wooden body is jointed with hinges. With red circles on her cheeks, curly blonde hair, and large bust, Poupée appears to be a cross between Raggedy Ann and Dolly Parton. She is a serious dancer, and practices at the studio every day.

Soapy is a street-wise and cynical (with a heart of gold) orange alley cat, a cigarsmoker and a drinker, who serves as their trumpet player, manager and the brains of the operation. Neil thinks that Soapy is the smartest guy in the world . . . and he just might be right.

The book includes an introduction by Trina Robbins, and brand-new commentary by Neil’s creator, Katherine Collins. There’s also some rare art, and souvenirs of the early career of Neil.

Help us help you get this project started so that we can successfully reprint Neil the Horse!

What We Need & What You Get

So what exactly do we need this money for? All of our work in done in-house, so that’s already paid for by our boss, but we are lacking funding in one very specific area: printing. The cost to print this kind of book is pretty high if we do it correctly (and we want it done correctly!)

We want $15,000 to pay for printing the book, as well as shipping it back to the United States (we print in China). None of this money will go to anything but our printing costs, because we want, more than anything, to preserve this comic series.

If you help us, beyond the satisfaction of knowing that you put your money to a good cause, you can also get a copy of the finished book if we get funding!

We want to keep this simple and keep costs down, so the only real perks are the regular edition of the comic book reprint or the special limited edition version, with extra pages, and signed by Katherine Collins. The regular edition is priced currently at $60.00, and the limited edition at $95.00. You’ll also get your name in the Thanks page if you donate $25 or more!

The Impact

Every project Hermes Press has done has been a success. This time we decided to reach out to the fans, old and new alike, and see if they’d like to be a part of the process from the beginning, instead of just at the bookstore.

By reprinting Neil the Horse you will be helping preserve a unique comic creation. Not to mention Making the World Safe for Musical Comedy, of course!

Other Ways You Can Help

If you can’t donate, please spread the word! Social media can only help us, so please share this on your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or any other media you use!

The ‘SAVE NEIL THE HORSE’ INDIEGOGO Campaign runs until November 7, 2013. Please help if you want to see this book printed.

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

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JSA update and more on Lost Heroes documentary

So everything is well under way now here at JSA central. We’re once again aiming for a Free Comic Book Day (May 4th) deadline for our nominee announcements.

I must say that it’s been an enthusiastic year for Canadian comics so far, as there’s been a lot going on recently – especially for things related to Canadian comics history. The shooting for the upcoming documentary LOST HEROES has wrapped and the crew is currently in post-production mode, we eagerly await the final product. We’ve been lucky enough to be able to watch some of the interviews filmed at the Comic Book Lounge, and I think people are in for a real treat when the film finally airs on Super Channel later this year. Here’s the official blurb followed by the promotional poster for the film:

Lost Heroes is a feature documentary set to air on Super Channel in 2013. We explore the history of the great Canadian superheroes, from Johnny Canuck to Captain Canuck. Currently in post-production.

Lost Heroes explores the past of the Canadian superhero, from the golden age when millions of children read the tales of Inuit goddess Nelvana of the Northern Lights, to the thrilling days when Canadian superheroes returned to the newstands with Captain Canuck and Cerebus. Lost Heroes celebrates the unique Canadian talent behind these characters and asks why can’t Canada keep their heroes?

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Mister Monster by Fred Kelly, Captain Canuck by George Freeman, Fleur-de-Lys by Ken Steacy, with Adrian Dingle’s Nelvana and other characters in the background.

In what I’ve seen of it, this is a top-notch, professional production and I think it will be a great chance to expose a lot of people to Canada’s comics past, as well as it’s present and future.

With the completion of the eligible English and French list I’ve spent some time perusing the lists to play my guessing game of who I think the nominating committees will be selecting for the 2013 Joe Shuster Awards, and I think that this year’s list is strong, but seems to working from a smaller pool than in previous years. That certainly means that a lot of projects by people absent this year are on the horizon, but I’m eager to see who the nomcoms select.

Currently we have 19 individuals participating in the Nominating Committee for  Artist, Cartoonist, Cover Artist and Writer. They come from across the country, but as per protocol we won’t be publishing their names until after they have finished their selections in case anyone drops out before the end.

Our Hall of Fame selection committee has expanded quite considerably this year, to make up for last year’s year off. Of the seven members, only three have participated in previous HOF nomcoms. Maybe I can convince them finally to rename the HOF “Hinterland’s Who’s Who”.

Ivan Kocmarek on the War Exchange Conservation Act (WECA) and the 1st Age of Canadian Comics

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Ivan’s latest column at Comic Book Daily digs into just what WECA was and how it led to the first great age of Canadian comic books. Ivan wants us to start referring to the comics published during this time period as “WECA Comics” (or books), instead of the more traditional term “Canadian Whites”.

“WECA” is an acronym for the War Exchange Conservation Act brought into being by the parliament of Canada on Dec. 6, 1940 prohibiting the importation of “non-essential” materials into the country including magazines and comics from the U.S.

Hamilton Spectator discusses Carpet King’s Comics Past

Great article for the Hamilton Spectator about ARAM ALEXANIAN’s contributions to both Canadian and American Golden Age Comics before he went to work for his well known family’s carpet business. Plus a discussion on the Canadian Whites with Big B’s Walter Durajlija and White’s authority Ivan Koczmarek.

Canadian Comic Anthology TRUE PATRIOT needs your help!

Some amazing Canadian comic talent has assembled to create TRUE PATRIOT, an anthology of unmistakably Canadian content. Amongst the fellowship are:

Adrian Alphona (Runaways), Andy B. (Kill Shakespeare), J. Bone (Super Friends), Jack Briglio (Scooby Doo), Scott Chantler (Two Generals), Tom Fowler (Hulk: Season One), Agnes Garbowska (Girl Comics), Faith Erin Hicks (Adventure Time), Tim Levins (Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes), Ramon Perez (A Tale of Sand), Ron Salas (28 Days Later), Jay Stephens (Secret Saturdays), J. Torres (Teen Titans Go), Howard Wong (After the Cape).

They need your help! There’s a campaign running at Indiegogo to get financing, and there’s only four days left to get them to their goal! It looks like it’ll be a fantastic book, so get on board and help this get made.

Dark Horse to publish Adventures of Superhero Girl collection

Comic Book Resources was the first to break the news that Canadian cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks‘ comics strip and webcomic the Adventures of Superhero Girl will be collected into a nifty hardcover edition by Dark Horse Comics in February 2013 for $16.99US. The black and white series is to be coloured for publication by Cris Peter.

Talking Comics with Ty Templeton

Comic Book Resources’ Robot 6 blog contributor Tim O’Shea sat down with Ty Templeton to discuss his contributions to Marvel Comics’ Ultimate Spider-Man, Avenging Spider-Man, his courses at the Toronto Cartoonists Workshop, Holmes Inc., On the Couch, being on the short list for a Joe Shuster Webcomics Award for Bun Toons and much more!

O’Shea: When you get nominated as a potential finalist for The Joe Shuster Awards (Webcomics), does recognition like that help expand your audience for Bun Toons?

Templeton: It’s only been a couple of weeks since the finalist/potential nomination thing was announced, so I can’t tell yet. I tend to have wildly different attention for each Bun Toon, depending on the subject matter. When I pick on Frank Miller or Alan Moore our readership quadruples from the strips when I say sentimental things about my family. Since the short list/nomination announcement, I’ve been getting a fairly average readership, but I haven’t been going after Frank Miller as much lately.

Hobbystar is suing Wizard over Toronto Comic Con / Comicon

According to Comic Book Resources, this is now happening, and I have little to say on it except that in business, lawsuits happen all of the time when lines of perception are crossed. In the end, this will hopefully settle some long unresolved questions.

Update: Yes, since the same individual that has been stalking Hobbystar for almost a decade pointed out on twitter, I do work for Hobbystar on their conventions, organizing comic book guests. And I also used to be the co-owner of the Paradise Comicon that was sold to Wizard.

As individuals, we often wonder about the philosophical impact that legal decisions have on the marketplace. Can someone go after someone else legally for a slang name Comicon/Comic Con, etc.? Personally, I think not. When I was doing the old con I was told it couldn’t be protected except in certain rare contexts. Nevertheless, we changed the name to the Paradise Toronto Comicon to eliminate confusion from the pre-existing HSM event.

As fans, we often jump to conclusions as to what things are about. Certainly there’s a long history here in Toronto involving different participants that gets revived by fans and the comics press whenever something happens. Automatically “con war” gets thrown around by certain folks and certain comics media people. Wizard has been here for three years now, and the events have, up until now, had few issues. Although from time to time, one would hear innuendo about what one side had said or done.

What is relevant here in this lawsuit is that Hobbystar has a brand of show that has been active and visible at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre since 2001. That brand is “Toronto ComiCON”.

Wizard wanted to bring their “Toronto Comic Con” show (a brand they created in 2010 from the ashes of the Paradise Toronto Comicon – both of which were held a different and distinct facility in another part of town) to the MTCC, so they booked space at the facility during the time of year that Hobbystar has traditionally held a Toronto ComiCON at the MTCC. The shows have been co-existing for two years in different parts of town, but now, as the Toronto Star so succinctly implied Toronto ComiCON / Toronto Comic Con. Same basic name. Identical facility. Similar events. Different promoters.

So there’s a lawsuit. Let the courts figure it out.

Toronto’s Public Libraries Closed – Workers on Strike. But for how long? What about TCAF?

As of today, Toronto’s 98 branch public library system is closed.

This includes places like the Lillian Smith Branch (home of the Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation & Fantasy which has a large graphic novel contingent) where we held the 2008 Joe Shuster Awards ceremony, and the Metro Toronto Reference Library, the home of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, which is scheduled for May 5-6, 2012 — approximately 6+ weeks away

According to news sources, CUPE (the union that represents 2300+ Toronto Public Library workers) walked away from the bargaining table yesterday, as they felt that the talks with the city and the Toronto Public Library Board weren’t going anywhere. Job security seems to be the primary sticking point.

Bottom line is that for now, Toronto’s public libraries are no longer accessible to Toronto’s citizens, many of whom were able to access some very well-stocked graphic novel collections — particularly at the downtown branches. Borrowers have been told to hold on to the items they checked out of the libraries before Sunday, and that late fees will not be charged for the duration of the strike. Certainly the city’s homeless will be despondent over the lack of access to the Toronto Reference Library’s restrooms.

What does this mean, ultimately, for TCAF? For now, one would hope that the union and the city manage to get together and hammer out a new deal before the Festival, which attracts creators from all around the world and across the country, and is also the weekend for the annual presentation of the Doug Wright Awards for Canadian Cartooning.

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.

D+Q goes Digital on the Kobo Vox and Beyond

D+Q Announces The Company’s “Digital Strategy”

As announced in today’s PW Daily by Calvin Reid, this holiday season, the Drawn & Quarterly classic graphic novels LOUIS RIEL A COMIC-STRIP BIOGRAPHY and PAYING FOR IT A COMIC-STRIP BIOGRAPHY ABOUT BEING A JOHN by the award-winning and iconoclastic cartoonist Chester Brown, will each be available as ebooks via KOBO’s Vox Reader, it was announced today by Peggy Burns, Associate Publisher of Marketing & Sales. Known for its astute editorial standards and high print production values, this venture marks the Montreal-based company’s first foray into the digital sphere.

“Many people assumed we would never do ebooks, whereas the opposite was true. We were open to the idea, but wanted to approach it cautiously,” said Burns. “This past Fall, we had a fortuitous series of events that brought the project to the foreground. Chester voiced his desire for ebooks, CBC Canada Reads shortlisted LOUIS RIEL in its top-ten for its annual contest, and most importantly, the fellow Canadian company Kobo inquired if we would consider ebooks. Kobo’s pitch was very friendly and nonexclusive and they promote CBC Canada Reads. They understood who we are, our hesitancy and what is important to us. It all happened very organically which is how we prefer to do business.”

D+Q production manager Tracy Hurren oversaw the project and worked with Kobo to ensure that the same care and attention D+Q gives towards its print editions was in place for the ebooks. The arrangement is nonexclusive and D+Q expects to add more titles by different authors and devices throughout 2012.

Lastly, D+Q is proud to announce that the company will be splitting the net proceeds of its ebook sales equally with its authors, and is in agreement with the Writer’s Union of Canada.

“D+Q has always been an author-centric company, it is this ethos that has shaped us into who we are today,” said Chris Oliveros, D&Q’s Publisher and Editor-In-Chief. “It only seemed natural to offer the fairest proposition to our authors.”

Camilla d’Errico & Day 21 Studios Launch Sky Pirates of Neo Terra Webcomic

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 Vancouver B.C., Dec. 16th, 2011 — Following the announcement at this year’s New York Comic Con, graphic novelist and fine artist Camilla d’Errico and writer Kurtis J. Wiebe (Green Wake, The Intrepids) are proud to launch the Sky Pirates of Neo Terra webcomic from Day 21 Studios on the brand’s website.
Based on the Image Comics title of the same name, the new Sky Pirates of Neo Terra webcomic series tells the side-stories of characters not seen in the original graphic novel, and gives more depth to upcoming video game that will be released for Apple devices and the Facebook platform in the near future.
To see the first installment of the series, titled “Vanwitt’s Discovery,” please visit the Sky Pirates of Neo Terra website:

And as part of the celebration of the new webcomics series, Day 21 Studios is giving away original Camilla d’Errico art on their Facebook page:


To speak with Camilla d’Errico about her various projects, or to receive images, screenshots, video, and other feature assets, please use the contact information listed at the bottom of this public release.
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About Camilla d’Errico:
Camilla d’Errico is an urban contemporary painter, illustrator, character creator and comic artist residing in Vancouver, BC. With roots in comics and manga stylings, Camilla’s beautiful work is seen on toys, clothes, accessories and more.  She has been published by Random House and Tokyopop (Avril Lavigne’s Make 5 Wishes), Simon & Schuster (Camilla d’Errico’s BURN), Image Comics (Sky Pirates of Neo Terra, Fractured Fables), IDW (Swallow 5, Sparrow 13) and Dark Horse (Myspace Dark Horse Presents, Vampy Cat, Femina & Fauna). More details of her recently announced project with Joshua Dysart (The Unknown Solider, B.P.R.D.) titled Helmetgirls: Origins.

The Montreal Gazette suggests you look at some D+Q books

Ian McGillis has submitted a special report in today’s Montreal Gazette entitled Comics and graphics Novels: The State of the Art.

It’s basically a run down of books recently published by Montreal’s Drawn & Quarterly – including the latest from Kate Beaton, Seth, Marc Bell and more. McGillis addresses the fact that 10 of his 13 selections are D+Q publications in his introduction:

Graphic literature went from strength to strength in 2011, edging ever closer to the day when it will be spoken of as literature, period. Any form that can embrace subjects and styles ranging from academic studies to visual novels to social history to uproarious parody has a vitality that speaks for itself, and the books below represent the state of the art. The preponderance of titles from Drawn & Quarterly, it should be emphasized, is not hometown boosterism; the Montreal publisher is a world leader in the field, and this year might have been its best.

I’m not convinced it isn’t boosterism, but Drawn & Quarterly DID publish some great books this fall, no doubt about that!

Canada Reads Top 40 Announced – 3 Graphic Novels on the list

It’s that time of year again, things are gearing up for this winter’s annual Canada Reads competition. Last year, as you’ll recall, Jeff Lemire’s Essex County Trilogy made the Top 5. This year, Scott Chantler writes to inform us that three Canadian graphic novels have made the Top 40 of the Canada Reads: True Stories list and now is the time to select the Top 10 for that category:

Hi again all,

Thanks to the votes and word-of-mouth of family, friends, and fans, I’m happy to report that TWO GENERALS has made the CBC Canada Reads list of the Top 40 Canadian non-fiction books of all time: http://www.cbc.ca/books/canadareads/2012/canada-reads-true-stories-vote-for-the-top-10.html. Thanks to all of you who filled out nomination forms, or voted in the previous poll. It’s really an incredible honour to be included among some of the classics on that list (like Pierre Berton’s THE LAST SPIKE) and I’m pleased that my book is one of three graphic novels to make the list (the other two being Sarah Leavitt’s TANGLES and Chester Brown’s classic LOUIS RIEL).

From here, online voting cuts the list down to ten, then down to the five that will appear in the televised debates. I don’t have a lot of confidence that the book can go all the way against the likes of Berton and Romeo Dallaire, but it sure would be cool to make the top ten. We’re already seeing a slight sales jump just from making the longlist, so the longer the book can stay in the running the better.

So once again I’m asking you to go vote (at the link above) for TWO GENERALS (and up to four other books of your choice) and to spread the word as far and wide as you’re able. And thanks once again to everybody for their support. For this book in particular, it really means a lot.

Scott Chantler