PhotoBlogging: Toronto ComiCON & the 6th Annual Joe Shuster Canadian Comic Book Creator Awards

June 5th was Hobbystar’s Toronto ComiCON event at the convention centre followed by the presentation of the Joe Shuster Canadian Comic Book Creator Awards.

Robert works the Dragon booth, blowing out some impressive titles at crazy low prices.

Unlike the very diverse Fan Expo (do you have your tickets yet?), HSM’s Fan Appreciation and ComiCON shows are geared more toward collectors and comicbook fans with row upon row of amazing deals on floppies and tpbs as well as the odd toy and collectible.

There’s also a mini Artist Alley which is great for getting some inexpensive sketches with relatively short waits.

Newlyweds, Robert and Jenn, truly a comicbook romance.

Pimpin out the Shusters, just what we like to see!

Kevin Deb and Joe  enjoying the show.

As soon as the doors closed for the day, the Shuster crew hopped into the rental van and we were off to the U of T campus for the awards!

A year of hard work finally coming to a head, it was pretty exciting, so exciting I took a picture even.

Me looking completely unnatural with Chris, fellow Shuster executive member, taking a breather before the awards.

And we’re underway! We were at the Innis Town Hall again this year which is a great location for an event like ours.

Outside, attendees were encouraged to pick up complimentary comics by several of our Hall of Fame inductees. I had to stand by the table telling some folks “Yes, really, they’re free!” (Note to self: Next year, bring a tablecloth.)

Serge Gaboury, Canadian cartoonist, largely working in French, was our first Hall of Fame inductee with Robert Pincombe, writer/developer, presenting. You can check out Gaboury’s impressive resume on his site which is pretty darned cute or here in his Shuster Hall of Fame bio.

Chris Butcher accepts The Harry Kremer Award for Outstanding Comic Book Retailer on behalf of The Beguiling, presented by sci-fi/comics guru Mark Askwith. This is one of the categories for which I’m on the jury. Yay!

Jeff Brown of Dork Shelf presents the award for Outstanding Comic Book Publisher to francophone publisher, La Pastèque, a name nobody could pronounce properly. *headdesk* Publisher relations is my job and La Pastèque was great to work with so I was pleased to see them take home the Shuster.

Joe Kilmartin of Dragon Lady Comics gushes about one of his favourite creators, Dave Darrigo, our next Hall of Fame inductee.

Dave Darrigo accepts his award and shares a few stories about the industry in Canada.

Our host, Jonathan Llyr of Hardcore Nerdity (assisted by Sarrah Young), talks a bit about the process of selecting the winner of the Comics for Kids award sponsored by The Dragon in Guelph. Call me biased as an educator but I was so pleased to see this award introduced last year. Professional teachers and libraries from a variety of grade levels select the nominees for this award so parents, teachers and librarians can be sure that each of the nominated books is age appropriate and will “capture the attention and fascination of young readers, and help to create a passion for life-long reading.” Eligible books in this category are those aimed at readers 14 years of age or younger.

Jennifer Stewart, owner of The Dragon and a teacher herself, shares with the audience the importance of this award. She looked great!

And the award goes to Svetlana Chmakova for Nightschool: The Weirn Books vols 1 and 2. If you haven’t read her Dramacon, it’s also fabulous, especially if you’re a regular con-goer.

Ethan Rilly accepts the Gene Day Award for Self-Publishing for Pope Hats #1 from Jeff Lemire. I was also on the jury for this award and boy was it ever a hot debate! There were some very clear front runners in our intial rankings but we all had them in slightly different orders. It’s great to have so many strong submissions.

If you know a Canadian or a resident of Canada who self publishes comics and would like to be considered for this award next year, let us know! We do our best to seek out new talent at the various cons we visit but, with self publishing, it’s impossible to find every worthy creator ourselves. Eligibility rules are posted on the Shuster site. Right now we would, of course, only be looking at work self-published within the 2010 calendar year.

Ty Templeton, accomplished creator, contributor to the Toronto Cartoonists Workshop and 2010 Shuster nominee himself for his writing in Star Trek: Mission’s End 1-5, sings the praises of Deni Loubert. Deni was inducted into the Hall of Fame for her work in comics publishing, not for her marriage to Dave Sim although she seems most well known for the latter if you ask the web, something I’m guessing neither one of them appreciates.

Deni Loubert accepts her award and gives us some insight into being a woman in a male dominated industry.

Duane Murray of Broken Slate Pictures recognises Darwyn Cooke for his outstanding cover art on Richard Stark’s Parker: The Hunter and explains why this is the piece that stood out for the jury.

Mike Winters accepts the Outstanding Comic Book Colourist award on behalf of his friend, Nathan Fairbairn for his work throughout 2009. Unlike many awards programs, most Shuster awards look at a creator’s eligible body of work rather than a single title. I think this raises the bar a bit because you need to be solid the whole year through to win.

David Okum announces Stuart Immonen as this year’s Outstanding Comic Book Artist. This was Immonen’s 5th year as a Shuster nominee (’05, ’07, ’08, ’10 for Artist, ’09 for Webcomics along with wife, Kathryn Immonen) and his first win.

Kalman Andrasofszky tells us about Hall of Fame inductee, Jean-Claude St. Aubin. This was part of a special Captain Canuck 35th anniversary celebration. St. Aubin, Freeman and Comely were all recognised this year whereas we normally induct only four creators annually.

Author Lesley Livingston introduces George Freeman, part of the Captain Canuck team.

Ron Kasman introduced Richard Comely, rounding out the Captain Canuck Hall of Famers.

Jury member, Robin Fisher, was so enthusiastic about Maryse Dubuc‘s Les Nombrils, it was infectious! Everyone is usually very well spoken but very formal in their presentations so hearing a fangirl genuiely gush about a favourite writer was just really cool. That kind of unashamed endorsement makes you want to rush out and buy whatever she’s pushing. :)

Duane Murray applauds Karl Kerschl for his Webcomics work on The Abominable Charles Christopher. You know a webcomic is really great when your American friends are raving about it in the same breath as favourites like Penny Arcade and xkcd.

Ty Templeton presents our last award of the evening, the much anticipated Outstanding Cartoonist, to Michel Rabagliati. For those wondering, and I’m sure there are some, a “cartoonist” is distinguished from the other categories by the fact that the same creator is responsible for both the art and the writing within the same work.

The awards were followed by an invite-only afterparty at the nearby Duke of York. Food and drink was graciously sponsored by The Dragon.

Finger foods and beer were in abundance as creators and presenters exchanged congratulations and discussed the awards.

Mmmm finally some food for the weary awards committee!

Deb and Joe in a heated debate over…something.


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