Members of the Awards Association spent two enjoyable days at the Toronto Reference Library checking out the now annual Toronto Comic Arts Festival. Associate Director Robert Haines, Publisher Liaison Allison Covey, Associate Member Jason Truong and myself, plus many members of the Association’s past and present Nominating Committees and Juries were milling about, as well as some of the past and present nominees of the Joe Shuster Awards (including J. Torres, Andy B., Kathryn and Stuart Immonen, Renee Engstrom, Kate Beaton, Karl Kerschl, Cameron Stewart, Kean Soo, Seth, Conundrum Press, Drawn and Quarterly, La Pasteque, The Beguiling).
I had a series of great conversations – with a lot of amazing people about the Awards, comic shows and the state of the comics community / industry in mid-2010. The overwhelming consensus at the event is that it was energizing for those that make comics, was profitable for quite a few of them, and that no one is quite sure where we are going – but that things are a lot better than they were just ten years ago. While TCAF was not specifically about Canadian comics, Canadian creators definitely made up the majority of people exhibiting – and things are definitely blooming here in the Great White North.
I thought that the 2010 TCAF did a much better job of utilizing the space at the library this year. The main hall was well designed and never felt too jam-packed. There were no areas that didn’t receive proper exposure. The Transmission X room was slightly off to the side and the destination for many. The back room which was too hot last year seemed better filled and better ventilated with it’s focus on publishers like La Pasteque, Koyama, Boom! Kids, New Reliable Press. The newly opened Appel Salon on the second floor was a GREAT space – nice and open. They could have easily placed another island of tables in the centre of that room. The webcomics and zine focus of the upstairs worked very well in my opinion, with huge lines for Kate Beaton and Questionable Content whenever they were at their tables.