2015 Comic Shop update – Who’s new? Who closed?

The start of a new year and some free time on my hands, and I decided it was time to update the Retailer information on the site. It had been about three years since the last update (Director’s note: I had been editing entries on a one by one basis when people sent information in or I knew about it, so it wasn’t completely neglected. ~Kev), so there had been a bunch of changes (and thank you, I don’t need anymore emails regarding the Silver Snail’s move) that needed to be reflected. But the real impetus behind this update is that the wife and I are heading to the annual ComicsPro meeting in Portland, OR.

This is the most important comic event of the year for retailers as it has a 100% business focus, meetings and presentations with publishers and suppliers and distributors and retailer colleagues, rather than the carnival atmosphere of a comic convention. Jennifer will be giving a presentation on how to grow your comic retail business through kids comics, while I will use this opportunity to bring the Canadian market into focus for these business partners, especially given the risks that are present with a $0.75 dollar, and projections by the international banking community that we could hit $0.60 in no time. Make no mistake, when you’re buying in Canadian dollars and selling at US listed prices, things are dangerous. Not every customer will understand it, but retailers need to increase prices to reflect the weakness of the dollar, but beyond that the fact is that retailers will become more risk adverse on product selection as a non-sale, or misselection error, compounds things much more rapidly. Cash flow is king in the comic retailing business.

Maybe by reminding these business partners that there are over 320 accounts in Canada, reflecting approximately 15% of the market (as the current thought is that there are 2600 comic shops), will give us some help in the coming months. Or maybe not. I hope to do some surveys with other Canadian retailers about the coming low-value-dollar-days, how they see their business and how they will deal with the results.

There have been a lot of new stores pop up across Canada in the last couple of years, and a lot of established stores upgraded facilities and increased space, taking on higher costs of rent and square footage and staffing. “Investors have very short memories,” said Roman Abramovich, and the same can be said of comic retailers who survived the early 2000’s. Here’s hoping that a low dollar jump starts the Ontario manufacturing base and the 36 new comic shops that have popped up can stay open. The pessimist in me predicts that we will see 40 shops across Canada close in the next 2 years.

Newfoundland

5 Stores as of last review.

1 Store Opened – The Game Cave (looking into status as comic shop)

1 Store Closed – Buddytoad Comics

1 Store Removed – Sword ‘n’ Steele (does not sell comics, gaming focused)

4 Total Stores currently open as of January 2015 (pending ruling on The Game Cave)

News:

The Lair celebrated 5 years in business in 2014.

– TimeMasters were selected as a Top 10 finisher for the Harry Kremer award in 2014 .

Nova Scotia

9 Stores as of last review.

9 Stores Opened – Capes and Cowls; Galactic Paradox; Hibiki Anime Shop; My Secret Identity; Ragnarok Hobbies; Rainbow’s End; The Local NPC Games & Comics; Games People Play; Wilkies Wonderful World of Comics, Coins, Cards & Collectables

1 Store Closed – Batter’s Box in Truro

1 Store Removed – Collectible Comic Guild in Sydney

16 Total Stores currently open as of January 2015

News:

– Strange Adventures Halifax moved into a new location along the waterfront (now located at 5110 Prince St, Halifax, NS B3J 1L3)

– Quantum Frontier moved across the street (now located at 3132 Robie St. Halifax, NS B3K4P7), this new location has allowed the addition of a cafe

– Batter’s Box in Truro closed after 27 years!. The small town of 12,000 people couldn’t support two comic game stores. When I spoke to the owner, Ralph, in 2012, he had moved comics to subs only. The comic business had shrunk and was no longer a focus. My doff my cap to the fact the shop made it 27 years.

– 9 new comic shops have opened (or been discovered) in Nova Scotia since the last update: Capes and CowlsGalactic ParadoxHibiki Anime ShopMy Secret IdentityRagnarok HobbiesRainbow’s EndThe Local NPC Games & ComicsGames People PlayWilkies Wonderful World of Comics, Coins, Cards & Collectables

Capes and Cowls were featured on Global News .

New Brunswick

10 Stores as of last review.

1 Store Opened – Heroes’ Beacon

0 Stores Closed

1 Store Removed – Reads United Book Exchange

10 Total Stores currently open as of January 2015

News: – Heroes’ Beacon has opened as a replacement for Reads United Book Exchange. It appears that former managers of the Reads shop joined forces, along with Indiegogo contributors, to rebrand and reopen a new, bigger & better shop in the same location. The successful Heroes’ Beacon Indiegogo campaign video .

Prince Edward Island

2 Stores as of last review.

0 Stores Opened

0 Stores Closed 0 Stores Removed

2 Total Stores currently open as of January 2015

News: – 2 comic shops remain in PEI. Both stores were visited in person in Summer of 2013.

Quebec

46 Stores as of last review.

3 Stores Opened

6 Stores Closed

1 Store Removed – Chez Geek is gaming focused, no comics

Total Stores currently open as of January 2015

News:

Komico had a fire in their store, just before Christmas 2015. They salvaged what they could, packed up and moved next door to continue operations.

New Comic Shops that OPENED

Crossover Comics, Montreal

Manga-Thé, Montreal

Boutique FDB, Gatineau

Stores that CLOSED

La Bête Noire, Drummondville – Closed. Not at location. Removed from listing

Hey, Le Comic!, Laval – Closed July 2014. Removed from listing

Carley’s Comics, Montreal – announced they will be closing by May 2015. Removed from listing

Chez Geeks, Montreal – Game focus, no longer stock comics. Removed from listing

Legends Action Figures, Montreal – Closed December 2013. Removed from listing

D’Artagnan, Pointe Clair – Unable to locate. Presumed closed. Removed from listing

The 4th Wall / Librairie The 4th Wall, Pointe Clair – Closed October 1, 2014. Removed from listing

Ontario

123 Stores as of last review.

35 Stores Opened – HOLY! Lots of folks want to own a comic shop these days!

21 Stores Closed – 18 previously listed stores closed, as well as 3 shops that opened and then closed between updates.

1 Store Removed – Just By Chance Games no longer does comics

136 Total Stores currently open as of January 2015

News

Rogues Gallery underwent a 2nd floor expansion that has been in the planning for 9 years!

J & B Books expanded into a second location, and now the comic book business is run out of the new location at 97 Dundas Street W. Trenton, ON K8V 3P4

Fantasy Realms in Cornwall went through one of the worst experiences any retail business could go through, from Nov 11th to end of day Dec 24th the front of the shop was boarded up as the facade underwent renovations. They will celebrate 30 years in business in 2015.

World’s Collide – Oshawa – owner looking to retire! Lease ends in March 2015, so this store may be closing.

Stores that moved

Border City Comics, Windsor moved

Retro Rocket, Cambridge moved

Lookin’ For Heroes, Kitchener moved

Gotham Central Comics and Collectibles, Mississauga moved

Planet Hobby, Mississauga moved

Big B Comics – Niagara Falls moved

Comic Connection Oakville moved

Silver Snail Toronto moved

Mike’s Book Store, Owen Sound moved

Comic 1 Books, Stoney Creek has new ownership, and the store moved

New Comic Shops that OPENED

Dr. Comics, Toronto (was previously known as Kensington Comics)

The Comic Pile, Toronto

West End Comics, Toronto

Horsemen Comics & Toys, Toronto

Little Island Comics, Toronto

TCAF Shop, Toronto

Sketchbook Comics, St. Catharines

Koros Games, Orangeville

Anime Stop, Ottawa

The Hooded Goblin, Georgetown

Fortress Comics, Milton

Milton Comics & Toys, Milton

Kobold’s Corner, Kanata

Forest City Coins, London – for high end back issues

The Kessel Run Cards, Comics and Games, Ottawa

Things From Mom’s Basement, Peterborough

Up North Games, Huntsville – newpaper article

Nutt’s Collectables, Woodstock Note: I used to shop here occasionally until 2000. The store moved around Woodstock, and did close at one point. I drove by, confirming the shop does exist.

Retro Rare Collectibles, Mississauga – for high end back issues

Comic Alley Toys, Oshawa – this is basically a rebranded Wyldstar. No new release comics.

Bounty Hunter Toys, Hamilton – toy shop with vintage high grade comics

The Giddy Goblin, Hanover

Jacks on Queen, Elmvale

Dungeon Comics, Burlington – this is a second location for the Dundas, ON shop. This business was previously known as Collector’s Vault, which was not part of our listing due to newness.

Aardvark Comics, Burlington

JC Collectibles, Brantford

Comikaze, Barrie

Jump City, Timmins – Two sisters open a comic shop in Northern Ontario

Kingston Nexus Gaming, Kingston – a game store that has begun doing comics, hired Adam Pottier from 4c8b

Maelstrom, Strathroy newpaper article

Paper Heroes – Comic Book Lounge & Collectibles, Windsor newpaper article

Bell’s BookBin Comics N Novels, St. Thomas newpaper article

R&D Comics, Aurora

Labyrinth, Oakville – a second location for this business, now located across from Sheridan, a great match for a shop specializing in art books

and saving the best for last: Kool Kollectibles, Alliston – This new store has already received some media attention. The very bad kind.

Stores that CLOSED

Project Asylum Comics, 2188 Mountain Grove Avenue, Burlington, Ontario – Was never listed in the database. Store is closed.

Nuclear Winter Comics, Cards & Gaming, 654 Wonderland Road Unit #6, London, Ontario – Was never listed in the database. Store closed September 2014.

Sign of the Times, 211 King St. West, Brockville, Ontario – This store was only 5 months old when a robbery forced the business to close

Goodsell Collectables, Belleville – Closed.

Heroes Lounge, Carleton Place – Closed.

Cover to Cover, Collingwood – Does not sell comic books.

Mountain Bookstore, Hamilton – Closed November 2013.

4 Colour, 8 Bit Comics & Games – Closed January 2015

Gamedom, Milton – Closed.

AOD Collectables, Mississauga – Closed.

All Star Sports Cards & Comics, Newmarket – No longer sell comics.

Pulp Comics, Niagara Falls – Closed December 2014. Removed from listing Owner Paul Tappay talks about why he chose to close the shop.

The Book & Net Cafe, North Bay – Unable to located. Presumed Closed.

Wyldstar, Oshawa – Closed.

Kaos Komix, Richmond Hill – Closed.

3rd Quadrant Comics, Toronto – Announced closing Feb/Mar 2015.

Comics & More, Toronto – Closed due to passing of owner Rob Charpentier.

Comic Book Lounge + Gallery, Toronto – Announced closing April 30, 2015. Sponsor of these awards. (Director’s note: this is my shop. Since our lease is up, our neighbours didn’t want to renew and I don’t want to move to a new location in the current climate, so I’ll maintain the storefront online for now and do local shows as the Lounge. ~Kev)

The Comic Post – Closed in 2012.

Planet X, St. Clair Avenue East, Toronto – This location closed. 2 other Planet X shops remain.

Just By Chance Games, Waterloo – Game store focus.

Hugin & Munin, Windsor – Closed.

double check Rebel in innisfil uncanny in kenora pendragon markham uptown comics sault house of comics sault gamesnook 2 sault kool collectables and comics thunder

Manitoba

12 Stores as of last review.

2 Stores Opened – I Want That Stuff in Brandon; Cobra Collectibles in Winnipeg

3 Stores Closed – Raven’s on Portage is closed (not previously listed); Arkham Asylum Comics Collectibles (not previously listed); Maluga’s Memorabilia (not previously listed)

1 Store Removed – Raven’s Toys on St. Mary’s has been rebranded as the above Cobra Collectibles

13 Total Stores currently open as of January 2015

News: – Cobra Collectibles has risen from the ashes of Raven’s. Raven’s underwent a name change and rebranding, becoming Cobra Collectibles. The Raven’s Portage location closed and the St. Mary’s location moved up the street (now located at 2984 St. Mary’s Road, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R2M 3S1)

Maxx Collectibles has moved into a new location (now located at 835 Cavalier Drive, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R2Y 1C6)

Brandon, MB saw the most activity in comics retail: I Want That Stuff opened up in Brandon, while two other shops (Arkham Asylum Comics Collectibles and Maluga’s Memorabilia) both opened and closed between reviews.

Saskatchewan

7 Stores as of last review.

2 Stores Opened – Collectors Edge, Readers Haven

2 Stores Closed – Phoenix Comics; Hoknes Comics (Not Previously Listed)

0 Stores Removed

8 Total Stores currently open as of January 2015

News:

2 new comic shops have opened (or been discovered) in Saskatchewan since the last update:

Collectors Edge

Readers Haven

Phoenix Comics closed after 17 years. Gerry Macdonald retired as a teacher, then opened a comic shop. A forthcoming rental increase in the sizzling hot Saskatchewan market pushed Gerry to make the choice. Lack of supply for retail frontage in the rapidly growing city, has caused rental rates to sharply increase.

– And then there is the sad story of Hoknes Comics which opened with fanfare (here is a process video of the store developing pre-opening) was forced to close after being in business after only 2 months due to a fire destroying the building .

Alberta

34 Stores as of last review.

3 Stores Opened – Phoenix Comics Inglewood; Imaginary Wars; Kapow Ltd. Comics, Cards & Games

1 Store Closed – Bazinga Comics

1 Store Removed – Wide Choice, replaced by Hanger 19

36 Total Stores currently open as of January 2015

News:

– Treasure Cove in Airdrie moved to a new location (now located at 118 1st Ave NE, Airdrie, Alberta, T4B 0R6)

– Wide Choice Books closed and was taken over and/or was rebranded as Hanger 19 at the same address, using the same phone number.

– 3 new comic shops have opened (or been discovered) in Alberta since the last update:

– Phoenix Comics SW opened a 2nd location, Phoenix Comics Inglewood

– Kapow Ltd. Comics, Cards & Games

Imaginary Wars

-Bazinga Comics in Leduc closed

– Anime Hypercubed in Grande Prairie is for sale, perfect for someone looking to move a 7 hour drive North of Edmonton, smack into the Bitumen patch. Work in the tar sand, take a buddy to run the comic shop

British Columbia

54 Stores as of last review.

10 Stores Opened – Curious Comics Langford; T&N Games; Sector 2814 Comics & Toys; Dave’s Pop Culture; The Phoenix Nest; GameStars; Game-Bit; Dealers Choice Sports Cards and Collectables; Players Wanted Games and Collectibles; Pulpfiction Books East

10 Stores Closed – Gotham Collectibles; Clouda’s Cards, Comics, Coffee; Collectors Choice Sports Cards Comics & Collectibles; Haney Books; Comic Station Cafe; Iwase Books Canada; Book-Off; The Connection Games; Trippys Emporium; Kyogic Comics

2 Stores Removed – Spruce City Resale; Mad Hatter Book Store

52 Total Stores currently open as of January 2015

News:

Big Pete’s moved

Hourglass Comics moved

Pulpfiction Books West moved .

Territories

2 Stores as of last review.

1 Store Opened – Stuff 2 Do (Iqaluit, Nunavat)

0 Stores Closed

0 Stores Removed – Ogre’s Lair continues to be a non-comics, gaming focused store; they continue to be listed due to scarcity of hobby stores in the North.

3 Total Stores currently open as of January 2015

News: – Stuff 2 Do was selected as a Top 10 finisher for the Harry Kremer award in 2014

Stuff 2 Do [Facebook] [Twitter] Address: 1127 Mivvik Street, Iqaluit, NU, X0A 0H0 Telephone: 867-222-3482 Various stories about the newly opened Stuff 2: 1 2 3

Advertisements

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

ago_sign_A-43241

What makes a comic store a great comic store?

First off, I’d like to mention that this year we have two fellows joining the CCBCAA who are coordinating the HARRY KREMER CANADIAN COMIC BOOK RETAILER AWARD – Anthony Falcone and Scott VanderPloeg, most well known for their involvement with the website Comic Book Daily as editors and columnists.

COMIC-BOOK-RACK-1948Anthony’s latest Whosoever Holds This Hammer Column addresses the criteria for the Kremer Award (pronounced Kray-mer) and he also talks “more about what makes a comic shop great based on feedback from colleagues, customers, and complete strangers”. One of the reasons why we went with Anthony and Scott were because they have always been very interested in the criteria for what makes a shop great and have spent a lot of time dissecting the comic shop retail experience.

Anthony makes some great points in his column, and he’s looking for some feedback as well, so let him know what you think makes a comic shop great.

I know I had some ideas myself as to what makes a great comic shop based on my interactions with the various folks who have run the Kremer Award in the past and spending time at many different comic shops in my 40 plus years as a collector and fan, all of which have informed the running of my own store.The obvious answer is “CUSTOMERS”, as a store without customers and the support of the local community is ultimately a failure, no matter how clean and appealing it may look, or whether a staff person is there to greet people.

But the comic book shop model is unique in that it is unlike most retail business models — the closest retail equivalent in my opinion is that of the independent record shop, that offers a mixture of new and used product for sale along with a community hang-out component. Some may view the comic shop as an antique store, or a bookstore, but most bookstores or either used or new – not a combination of both… and many comic shops are that in name only – they are primarily gaming stores, or toy stores, etc. with minimal comics.

I recently met a fellow from BC named BENJAMIN WOO who for now lives in the GTA – Woo wrote a paper on comic shops that is definitely worth reading in that it compares three different comic book shop models, with differing philosophies and customer bases.

Woo’s paper is titled: “The Android’s Dun­geon: Comic-Bookstores, Cul­tural Spaces, and the Social Prac­tices of Audiences” and was published in the Jour­nal of Graphic Nov­els and Comics 2 (2011): pages 125–36 (and is available for reading online).

An excerpt from Woo’s paper:

An ade­quate under­stand­ing of the read­ers of comic books and graphic nov­els must extend beyond reader–text rela­tion­ships to com­prise con­texts of recep­tion. Chief among these is the direct-market comic-bookstore. In con­trast to news­stand dis­tri­b­u­tion, the direct mar­ket rep­re­sents the insti­tu­tion of comic-book col­lect­ing and con­nois­seur­ship as sub­cul­tural prac­tices. Comic shops are not sim­ply dis­tri­b­u­tion points in a com­mod­ity chain but also social set­tings inte­gral to the repro­duc­tion of comic-book fan­dom, yet they occupy an ambiva­lent posi­tion between the comic-book indus­try and its con­sumers. Cit­ing find­ings from qual­i­ta­tive research con­ducted in three Cana­dian comic-bookstores and draw­ing on the work of Anthony Gid­dens, Pierre Bour­dieu, and Erv­ing Goff­man, this arti­cle devel­ops three approaches to the soci­ol­ogy of the comic-bookstore, the­o­riz­ing them as locales for inter­ac­tion among par­tic­i­pants; as nodes, inter­locks and regions artic­u­lat­ing the com­mu­ni­ties served by a given store; and as both sanc­tu­ar­ies from main­stream hier­ar­chies of taste and sta­tus, and are­nas of com­pe­ti­tion for social and cul­tural capital.

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?

576473_216803858439426_328171294_n

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”.

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.

Hark! A Vagrant takes a … long period of slowness ?

All of her superstar success has resulted in Kate Beaton being offered a whole whack of new and interesting jobs. Jobs that will interfere with her work schedule on the webcomic Hark! A Vagrant, and she wants to let all her fans know what’s up.

Kate will be moving to Toronto, and working on a variety of long form projects.

“Webcomics are often cited as the future of comics and the internet and I don’t know what else, but the fact that no one has retired from them yet means that I, at least, rest a little uneasy in these shoes sometimes if only for the lack of having a dependable compass by which to steer the ship. I just want to make the best decisions I can, so that I will be around longer, making drawings and comics and writing and other things that I hope people will enjoy. “

Kate has aspirations to do other work, and has a desire to profit from her success, rightly so. The one aspect I find most interesting is the desire to placate the anonymous internet masses, a group that will surely turn their back on you the moment they lose interest and see something else shiny, which makes sense becauseit is these same internet masses that launched her into the cartooning stratosphere.

Despite her consternation, “I’ve been pacing the room about what decisions to make. … Anyway: to be honest with you, I’ve taken on freelance work in the past years and that’s been well and fine, but I’ve never given other long term projects a chance, because I can never detach myself from the website”, Beaton will be wildly successful in these new projects. Have faith, Kate! If you lose some of your internet-only fans, you’ll gain fans through these new paying jobs, and the success will continue.

People love cat jokes!

The Comics Journal reviews Prince Valiant by Hal Foster Vol. 4

Just came across this great review of the fourth hardcover collection from Fantagraphics’s latest Prince Valiant collection by TCJ’s Matt Seneca.

The conventional wisdom surrounding Prince Valiant these days characterizes it as a fussily drawn, belabored relic of the past.

Of course, critical judgments of a comic stop mattering once you read it. A few pages into the fourth of Fantagraphics’ beautifully reprinted new editions of Hal Foster’s masterpiece and it’s difficult indeed to remember that this isn’t the greatest comic ever. Comparisons of Foster’s work to that of more recent luminaries like Chris Ware and Jaime Hernandez are apples to oranges; readers will more than likely prefer one to the other, but there’s no convincing way to prove one kind of comic is objectively better than the other. And the mastery Foster brings to bear on his every panel may have been equaled both before and since his prime, but it’s never been surpassed. As far as long-form serialized action comics go, the only equal to Foster American comics have produced is Kirby, and Kirby was never shy about proclaiming his debts to the master.

~Matt Seneca, from his review for The Comics Journal

There are some great comments after the review from illustrator William Stout and cartoonist Paul Chadwick.

Hal Foster (1892-1982) was inducted into the Canadian Comic Book Creator Hall of Fame in the first year of these awards along with the artist after which these awards are named, Joe Shuster. When it comes to comic art illustration, Nova Scotian Hal Foster is undoubtedly Canada’s greatest and most influential export.

Is Darwyn Cooke working on Watchmen prequels?

That was the big rumour circulating late last week, as Bleeding Cool published some stories related to DC Comics’ rumoured revival of the Watchmen franchise with some prequel mini-series featuring the Watchmen characters such as Rorschach and Dr. Manhattan. Rich Johnston’s sources tell him Darwyn is tapped in a writing/coordinating capacity and will be doing some artwork. Whether or not this is true remains to be confirmed so we’ll have to wait for some kind of official announcement from DC and/or Darwyn.

If it is, it will certainly be a controversial announcement. Many people feel Moore and Gibbons’ Watchmen should be left alone, without any prequels or sequels. However, Watchmen is a huge commercial property and there’s enough of a backstory in the Watchmen graphic novel (some 50 years of alternate earth history) that could easily accommodate prequel stories featuring those characters, this could actually be a successful move creatively and commercially.

Montreal ComicCon Report

So this past weekend my girlfriend Deb and I drove to Montreal to experience the MCC firsthand. I had a table at the event for the JSAs and Deb was going to be working with DesertWind Comics for the various signings with Stan Lee taking place over the course of the two day event.

Stan Lee and "The Counselor"

First off, congratulations to the MCC team: Oscar, Alex and Elizabeth for putting on a great show. Secondly, the Montreal Comic Con has officially graduated from being a strong regional comic con to a full on National event. Finally, with the growth comes a lot of challenges that will need to be fixed for 2012.

Continue reading

A look at DCnU weeks 1 and 2

So I’ve been sampling the new DC #1s, which I find amusing since I really had no interest in trying to check all of these books out. There’s been a lot of coverage at various websites about the books selling out, and how second and in some case third printings are on their way to retailers. Orders for books shipping later in the month are currently being adjusted upwards and the feedback I’m getting from retailers is very positive – however tempered somewhat by speculator frenzy as people are trying to get additional copies to sell to other fans for a profit on eBay. Some stores have therefore been allocating copies, first to their pull file customers and next to their walk-in traffic. I’m curious to see how these books will be sold in the secondary market at the Montreal Comic-Con next weekend.

Continue reading

FanExpo Canada wrap

Well, to start — I’m glad it’s over. As I’ve been catching up on sleep, fighting a cold and rewiring my brain back to being a clinical data coordinator, I can’t help but feel relief that Expo 2011 is done so I can enjoy the occasional weekend free of responsibility and fanboy entitlement like this past Labour Day where I got to spend time with Deb’s family and later my own. Life goes on as they say, and I want to get back to mine. Aside from some paperwork and hopefully some naval-gazing at what worked and what didn’t work, FanExpo 2011 is history.

After the low point in the show’s history in 2010 – where fans were extremely critical and alienated by the line delays, overcrowding and lockout problems with the Fire Marshall. To think the show was successfully able to fix those problems in 2011 is a testament to the planning and number of people involved on the show side and at the convention centre. I am not one of those people. The 2011 event was spacious and never felt too crowded. So no “epic fails”. The expansion to four days was a good call – one I was in favour of, and seems to be permanent.

Did I enjoy the show? I can’t really say I did or didn’t. Unlike the attendees and reporters covering the show for various sites and blogs I don’t get to experience Fan Expo. I see it as a blur of room crossings, costumes and conversations — some positive, some negative – this isn’t right, that pass isn’t there, and so on. There are sections of the floor I did not see at all. Unlike other members of our team, there are no pictures of me posing with celebrities because I simply did not have the time to do so. My prizes: blisters and joint pain.

On Sunday around 5:15 (45 minutes before close) I did manage to snap some pictures of the show floor from the Comics Workshop room:

I have no idea as to how many people attended. One staff person said in passing we had matched the 2010 numbers mid-afternoon on Saturday. 2010 saw approx. 68,000 people visit.

It’s game on for the DC relaunch which is not a reboot

It's actually more of a reset. David Finch's infamous JL1 variant cover, which was also used as one of the covers for the Program Guide at Fan Expo Canada last weekend..

Tonight at midnight in some select stores and tomorrow morning everywhere else, DC Comics will be getting a lot of attention. Why? It’s the end of one era and the begging of a new direction.

1) Flashpoint #5 “changes everything” as the DCU goes through what can only be compared to a “Star Trek-like” readjustment of it’s entire superhero line of comic books. I liken it to the recent Star Trek movie (the one directed by J.J. Abrams) in that a central DC hero (looking to foil his arch-enemy) has gone back in time and changed events that have caused the present to change dramatically resulting in the warped Flashpoint world where Superman is a lab rat and Batman is Thomas Wayne. Flashpoint is also similar to Back to the Future II in that events in the past have changed the present, sort of like the alternate 1985 on BTTF II. Well, in the process of fixing the timeline, things change again — and the new timeline will be similar but with a lot of subtle differences which of course will be evident in…

2) Justice League #1 by the powerhouse dynamic duo of Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, which starts off with a six part story that looks at the formation of the Justice League some nebulous “five years ago”.

Justice League #1 debuts with a variant cover by David Finch, and there will also be a bagged version that includes a code for a digital copy of the comic. Customers will also be able to purchase the comic online as it is the first of the new “day and date” digital publishing plan that DC has adopted.

Needless to say, curiousity levels will be high. Since the story broke DC has been playing up and playing down the changes so much that the existing customer base is as put off by it as they are intrigued, but both groups will want to know the hows, whats and whys of the changes before making a final call on this massive change.

At FanExpo this past weekend I had a chance to talk to some of the folks at DC and they are very excited but equally nervous as this is a bold step for the company, and it’s one they won’t know the results of for sure until the third issues of the “new 52” are out and retailers report on whether the influx of interest in the new #1’s has encouraged anyone to stick around long enough to sample the second and third issues.

I also spoke with many retailers over the weekend, and they are both excited at the interest their customers are showing in the relaunch, but equally concerned about the longevity of their customer’s interest. On top of that, most seem either negative or indifferent towards the digital releases.

Either way, there’s no debate about the importance of this event to both retailers, the publisher and the one element rarely mentioned — the distributor. If DC successfully alienates their existing readers and fails to attract new ones this will end up being a spectacular failure of “New Universe” proportions and could result in a hasty “quick fix” event to restore things to the way they were and it could potentially. If it is successful retailers will see an influx of new and old faces into their stores looking for comics again. Let’s hope that is the case!

Comic Book Daily: (Canadian) Retailer Roundtable #2 – Free Comic Book Day (and conflicting events)

Scott at Comic Book Daily asks: Free Comic Book Day is now a huge event and one no retailer can afford to skip, but how well does it work for you?  Does its benefits outweigh the costs, since the event is in no way free for you?

Participants: Chris Butcher (the Beguiling), Marc Sims (Big B Comics), Jay Bardyla (Happy Harbor), Jenn Haines (The Dragon), Bruno Andreacchi (BA’s Comics) and John Tinkess (Another Dimension) participate.

Of particular interest is the discussion that results of the Beguiling’s decision to hold TCAF on Free Comic Book Day this year and plans to do it again in 2012. Click the link above and read it all the way through. There’s some interesting points being made.

My op/ed  after the cut: Continue reading

More DCnU CanCon news… David Finch & Jason Fabok, Yanick Paquette and Jeff Lemire

Announced yesterday:

Batman, The Dark Knight 1

BATMAN, THE DARK KNIGHT will relaunch in September with a new first issue. Same creative team as before: David Finch (writer/artist) and Jason Fabok (art). They have a few issues of the old series to crank out between now and the end of August.

Announced today:

Animal Man #1

Jeff Lemire will be writing two DCnU titles, both with a supernatural bent: Animal Man and Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E. Travel Foreman is drawing Animal Man and the Alberto Ponticelli (Unknown Soldier) is drawing Frankenstein!

Swamp Thing #1

Yanick Paquette is the artist on the new Swamp Thing #1, written by Scott Snyder.

Incidentally, I cannot make heads or tails out of the DCnU (DC new Universe). I’ve been told a basic premise, but DC keeps on releasing solicits on books that seem to be continuing plot threads and themes from the old DCU that undermines this new premise: that this is a revised timeline, and we are five years into the new heroic age that started with the arrival of Superman and Batman (instead of about 10-15 years into it like the old DCU). I wrote in an earlier post about alienating older fans in order to appeal to new ones, but DC seems to be doing an unsatisfying and deeply confusing job of explaining what this is all about.

What’s obvious is that there’s time travel involved at the end of Flashpoint, and when things are supposed to return to the way they should be – something doesn’t go quite right and there’s a reset on some things but not others, making for a hodge-podge confusing new continuity that  hits the reboot button (not relaunch) on some characters such as Green Arrow, Firestorm, Batgirl, Flash, Hawkman, the Justice League — but not others, who just get a relaunch of a new #1 like the majority of the already popular Batman and Green Lantern lines.

As a person that buys only collected editions, I see some things I might pick up in 2012 when they are eventually collected. I don’t see anything here that will make me consider picking up any floppies or downloading any digital comics.

I still see this as being good and bad. Good in the sense that the numbers will go way up on some books – regretfully this seems to follow the Marvel lead of short term gains followed by free fall declines until the next event relaunch.  Retailers are in a terrible pickle next month when they need to decide what to order and in what quantities and it will only get worse when they must order the second and third issues without having seen any of the actual books. Return-ability is great, but you still need to outlay the cash and hope for sales or you are stuck waiting to get the credit back for the unsold merchandise.

DC: Will they save the direct market or destroy it?

Justice League #1 (due 8/31) by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee will probably be a massive hit for DC, but it's the first of 52 title reboots.

There’s a lot of talk today about the news of the restructuring DC Comics is making to their line of DC Universe titles in September. There’s a lot we don’t know about the DC reboot, but there’s a few specific details which are a mix of good and bad for the foundation of local comic book shops that keeps the Direct Market going – and seeing as how 2011 has not been the greatest year for many of those retailers to date, what I’m reading is making me concerned.

The Good: A new Justice League #1 by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee. That’s a POWERHOUSE creative team that will automatically put the Justice League at the top of the sales charts. It’s the kind of head turner that, combined with the right publicity, will bring people back to comic shops to buy Justice League.

The Bad: All of DC Comics line will be getting new #1 books. 52 new first issues to be exact. Now knowing the superhero market, people will be curious and in September, they will want to know the new status quo and many (or at least those with a couple of hundred dollars to spend) will purchase all of the new first issues. Speculators will want full sets, or at least that’s what DC and many retailers will assume they will want. As retailers attest regularly, it’s a risky business ordering books sight-unseen, and sadly, if the rumours are correct about some of the creative teams these books may be dead in the water before they start. I see retailers ordering even more conservatively on the second issues of the new books by concepts that have never been sales successes as a result – and hopefully they won’t take a bath on the first issues if they order too heavily, but we’ll see a big drop on orders in October as speculating on new books is dangerous in this economy. No company has ever had a hugely successful partial line reboot. Even those successful DC revamps of the 1980’s post-Crisis were staggered and creator focused (Byrne on Superman, Perez on Wonder Woman) – it was confusing then and never a total line reboot (some may see that as the problem with what happened then and in subsequent years, and they may be right) – but this seems to be confusion x 52 – a full on ‘Heroes Reborn’ (the Marvel reboot of the Avengers titles into an alternate universe while the other Marvel titles soldiered on). If it fails, then what? Back to Old Coke?

The Good: A great jumping on point for new readers. You want an entry level point for the DCU, here it is.

The Bad: A new continuity means a complete disconnect for older readers, who will use this as an excuse to walk away.I’m not convinced that the current market wants to start fresh when they’ve been reading Batman, Green Lantern, Flash, Justice League, Wonder Woman and Superman stories that have been percolating for years under the same group of writers and editors who are overseeing these changes. If certain characters get to keep their histories intact, it will be even more confusing to see them interact with new incarnations of characters that are receiving major revisions, such as Superman (by what’s been discussed over at Bleeding Cool, Newsarama and Comic Book Resources).

The controversial: Day-and-date digital publishing. This is the game changer, really. There’s tremendous opportunities here for retailers who are in the position to use Comixology to profit from this, but there’s more concern that the many retailers who don’t will eventually lose out… if you can read it on your iPad on new release Wednesday, what’s the incentive to travel to your local retailer and buy a copy? It’s definitely forward thinking but also a nail in the coffin for some retailers if the print readership rejects the reboot. Day and date digital definitely changes the way we work here at the JSAs. What if some titles are digital successes and print failures (or vice-versa)?

I’m curious to see which Canadian creators are part of the revamp. With 52 series, all with different creative teams, no doubt some Canucks will be on some of these books. Francis Manapul, for example, can’t discuss what he’s working on… at least not until the solicits come out in a couple of weeks for the September titles. There is definitely an “accident on the highway” feel to all of this, so it will nonetheless be interesting to see how this works out.

We would also be interested in hearing what people think about it, especially retailers.

2011 Joe Shuster Awards Event Image

We don’t have a poster per se this year (thanks to those that offered!) because we really don’t have anywhere we need one for at this time. Instead, art director Tyrone Biljan took some design elements on hand and put together this simple and effective image that we are using now for this website and for the Facebook and other social media outlets and will encourage others to us to promote the ceremony and any post-ceremony reports. The background image in the sky is something Darwyn Cooke sent us for another upcoming project. The Awards logo itself is based on a design Dave Sim did for us that Tyrone adapted for the original logo, which is in itself a homage to Joe Shuster’s own stylistic form of lettering.

My TCAF Thoughts 2011: Day 2

Unlike Day 1, I was able to spend much more time at TCAF on Sunday. I came down for open at 11 and stayed until about 3:30. Sunday was a much more reasonable day for the crowds, probably because it was also Mother’s Day. It was definitely busy but the lines were quite manageable and one could move around and see a lot of people.

I had some primary goals  for the day (1) to check in with Joe Shuster Award nominees and see who was coming to Calgary that hadn’t been announced, (2) invite a few people to Fan Expo and (3) look around and find some books that I’m interested in that were debuting at TCAF.

All three goals were met easily.

Day Two Purchases: Cat Rackham Loses It by Steve Wolfhard ($5), Centifolia II by Stuart Immonen ($20), Just the Usual Superpowers by Faith Erin Hicks ($12), Aurora Borealice by Joan Thornborrow Steacy ($15), Even the Giants by Jesse Jacobs plus a limited edition print $40, and finally That Night In June – mini-comics by Emily Carroll ($15). If I wasn’t broke from some art purchases the week before and May rent I would have bought more.

I felt that Sunday was a much more enjoyable day to attend this event because the crowds were a bit lighter and the space was more manageable. I still feel that the library is a tight fit and that if TCAF 2012 returns to this space that the library needs to retreat a lit further back. I don’t think there are enough washrooms in the facility in easily accessible locations, and the presence of the homeless who usually inhabit the library made for a few uncomfortable moments, especially in the washrooms.I did not attend any programming on Sunday.

Overall I felt that TCAF 2011 was a massive success and kudos should go to the organizers of the event and to the volunteer staff. Every creator and attendee I talked to was in a happy, exuberant mood – even when the show was at it’s most chaotic. The comics community, at least the creative (for the most part non-superhero comics) crowd, was having one giant group hug and I never felt there was any ill will towards anybody or anything at TCAF. There was just a lot of comics love.

As you know, I also work on Fan Expo in late August and I think the two events are a huge compliment to the city of Toronto for having such a large population of comics people. Plus they bookend the summer. Some observers think that these events are in some kind of popularity race, when I don’t think that is the case at all. They have different goals, different ambitions but cater to overlapping interests. You can love both for different reasons, or just go with the one that you feel is the right fit. Fan Expo isn’t free, sadly. It also isn’t subsidized by the government so your admission fees do go towards paying for the space and the guests we bring in.

I walked into TCAF tired and a little worn out from a week of announcing guests for Fan Expo and walked out energized and excited about the upcoming Calgary Expo in June and Fan Expo Canada in August. Now that TCAF and the Wright Awards are done with for 2011, I need to get down and finish my work for 2011 and I’m refreshed and ready to go!

My recommendations: Get the library to retreat further back and clear more space, or move to a different venue (which is not easy to do or find), please don’t book on Free Comic Book Day again (you are still part of a larger community and that community does rely on FCBD exposure), think about doing a weekend other than Mother’s Day (perhaps the second weekend in May instead of the first?), and find better locations for some of your more popular webcomics creators so that the lines don’t mingle or block other tables.

My TCAF Thoughts 2011: Day 1

SATURDAY: I had a few things to do before Deb and I headed down to TCAF. Because I was only going to be there for a few hours my report is truncated significantly.

2:30-2:45. Arrived. What’s with the construction blocking the one entrance? Interesting that there’s a girl handing out flyers telling people to go The Labyrinth for Free Comic Book Day right outside the main door. Good Lord — there are too many people here on the main floor. I can’t move down any of these aisles to look at anything. The Chester Brown line is HUGE. Noise level is insane. Librarians must be in hiding.

2:45-3:15 Nice to see Scott Chantler and the guys from Transmission-X and Kill Shakespeare. Couldn’t move around to see anything/anyone else. Scott made a print out of the D-Day double-splash from Two Generals that I bought from him last fall.

3:15-4:30 Decided to go to the Canadians in the Mainstream panel at 3:30 at the Pilot Tavern. Why is there a celtic band playing while the panel is going on? Anyways — beer, Darwyn and the Immonens plus McConnell, Fawkes, Jillian Tamaki. Special guest Ken Steacy. Special non-guest: me. I gather the consensus was that being Canadian in comics doesn’t mean much except that one feels slightly different when in a room with Americans because we are more aware about what’s going on in the rest of the world, there’s a slight detachment but creatively everyone strives to be an individual and do their best and that’s universally true. Some felt that there’s a definite “can do” spirit here because of the smaller population and lack of resources. All agreed there is no comics industry per se in Canada, that working with international publishers is their economic choice, but that because of the rising Canadian dollar against a falling US dollar that they’ve all had to take a significant pay reduction. Americans don’t seem to grasp the concept of currency exchange and geographical perspective. Toronto, for example, is not near Vancouver.

(Darwyn asked me if I had any questions, and I didn’t at the time, but listening to their replies I started to wonder if a better question would have been directed to the audience: “Does the fact that these creators are Canadian matter to you, audience members, as Canadians?” It would have been curious to see what their responses would have been like. Obviously I believe that it does matter to them, as that’s why we have awards for Canadians like the Joe Shusters and the Doug Wrights to raise awareness of Canadians working in the industry in order to help promote and support them.)

My view at the Pilot - from L to R on stage: Robin McConnell, Ray Fawkes, Darwyn Cooke, Jillian Tamaki, Stuart Immonen, Kathryn Immonen. Ken Steacy's head is just on the lower right, second from the bottom.

4:30-4:45. Panel ends. Nice chat with Darwyn about the awards and we head back over to the library.

4:45-5:15. Show ends at 5. Really? 5? Barely enough time to go back in and look at anything. Ran into Rob and Jenn, Tyrone and Alana McCarthy and J. Torres. Had a nice chat about venue problems in Toronto. Talked briefly with Andy from Conundrum.

5:15-10:30. After the show closes: off to dinner with Robert and Jenn, Ross Campbell and Scott Chantler. We went to the slowest restaurant on the planet: The Ethiopian House. My innards are still complaining. I think the waitress is still getting us more water. No Wright Awards for us this year.

10:30-1:30. TCAFete at Pauper’s Pub after dinner. Great fun. Best $5 spent all weekend. Saw and talked with a lot of comics folks.

End of Day Thoughts: TCAF has outgrown the library. If they want to keep the venue viable the library has to close down during the 2 days that TCAF is on, extend the hours they re open, and move more things out of the way. It was too crowded and virtually impossible to browse the tables on the main floor on Saturday. Everyone is in great spirits though.

Purchases during show hours: 1 Mill Street Tankhouse Ale at the Pilot. $8.50 with tip. 1 copy of Sequential Pulp III: free. Hope to see something to buy on Sunday.

To be continued…

Election Hangover

So last night the Canadian Federal Election took place and the result I was least expecting happened: A Conservative majority government, the rise of the NDP as official opposition party, the Liberal Party being humbled down to a mere 34 seats and the utter decimation of the Bloc Quebecois.

For a while now we’ve been locked in a West (Conservative) vs. East (Liberal) vs. Quebec (BQ) vs. over-enlightened hipster urbanite (the NDP) battle for Parliamentary supremacy where one would get the barest minimum of a leg up over the other.

After last night, for the first time in a long time, Canadian regional bias in politics at the federal level aligned to either the left (the NDP) or the right (the Conservatives). Even the traditional urban vs. rural lines were blurred as the NDP now find themselves representing large rural areas, where the issues are completely different than their more traditional areas of support in places like urban Toronto and Vancouver.

I live in the riding of St. Paul’s in Toronto, and we somehow managed to keep one of those Liberal MPs that were being discarded (for the) left or right last night. As a traditionally Liberal, middle of the road kind of guy I’m a little dismayed over this new status quo — the government and it’s opposition are philosophically quite far away from my personal beliefs on economic and social issues.

So what does this mean for comics? Probably not a lot… yet.  A Conservative majority government certainly doesn’t strike me as being supportive of the Arts, so who knows what this will mean for federal Arts grants over the next few years.  I’m glad our Association doesn’t rely on grant money, but many Canadian cartoonists, publishers and related businesses do so we’ll be watching what happens next very closely.

Comics, comics, comics…

April is sure shaping up to be a busy month! I moved recently, and in-between loads of books and other things I had to take over to my new place, there have been a lot of things going on in the comics world, event-wise. Last weekend saw the coming and going of another Toronto ComiCON Fan Appreciation Event, as well as the brand new Kapow! Con in London, England. Last night it was the Beguiling‘s triple book launch at Clinton’s of Klondike/Reunion/Mid-Life here in Toronto, and Girard and Ollmann continue on to Vancouver today for a book launch at Lucky’s Comics.

Going on right now in Quebec is the FBDFQ – Le Festival de la bande dessinée francophone de Québec and tonight will see the announcement of the winners of the prix Bédéis Causa 2011. Here’s a reminder of who is nominated:

Prix Réal-Fillion
For the Quebec creator who’s first album debuted in 2011:
• SYLVAIN LEMAY, avec Pour en finir avec novembre (Les 400 coups)
• ÉMILIE VILLENEUVE ET JULIE ROCHELEAU, avec La fille invisible (Glénat Québec)
• SAMUEL LEBLANC, avec Parfum de lilas (Les 400 coups)

Grand prix de la ville de Québec
Best original album from Quebec creators published by a Quebec-based publisher
• CHRONIQUES SAUVAGES, de François Lapierre (Glénat Québec)
• LA FILLE INVISIBLE, d’Émilie Villeneuve et Julie Rocheleau (Glénat Québec)
• APNÉE, de Zviane (Pow Pow)

Prix Albéric-Bourgeois
Best album by a Quebecois creator published by a publisher outside Quebec
• LUCK, de Michel Falardeau (Dargaud)
• COMÉDIE SENTIMENTALE PORNOGRAPHIQUE, de Jimmy Beaulieu (Delcourt)
• ASPIC, T. 1 – LA NAINE AUX ECTOPLASMES, de Jacques Lamontagne et Thierry Gloris (Soleil)

Prix Maurice-Petitdidier
Jury’s choice for an album created and published outside Quebec (in French)
• LA MORT DE STALINE, de Fabien Nury et Thierry Robin (Dargaud)
• ASTERIOS POLYP, de David Mazzucchelli (Casterman)
• PARKER T. 1 – LE CHASSEUR, de Richard Stark et Darwyn Cooke (Dargaud)

There is also the Prix Albert-Chartier, which goes to a person or organization that has made a mark on the world of Quebecois comics.

Good luck! We’ll have the winners for you later this weekend.

You know, if things had not been so hectic on the home front with the move, and Robert wasn’t busy with our next item I would so be there. It is my plan to be at the FBDFQ in 2012.

Tomorrow sees Guelph, ON’s Kazoo Comics and Zine Expo, and Robert Haines, Jenn Haines (whose store the Dragon is a sponsor), Tyrone Biljan will be there helping out, as will my gal Friday, Deb. Don’t forget the Kazoo CaZE also has Festival Awards! Meanwhile I’m hitting the wandering roads down to the home of the zombie – Munroeville, PA – for the annual Pittsburgh Comicon where I’ll end up meeting fellow JSA-er Chris Owen. Not much that’s Canadian about the Pitt Con, I’m just going to see some comics legends — George Perez, Jim Starlin and the inimitable Joe Sinnott and get some books signed. I should be back in time Sunday to pop by the Artists Help Japan fundraiser taking place from noon on at the Revival Bar on College Street West in Toronto. There are dozens of creators taking part for this worthwhile cause.

Finally, on Monday we should have the last remaining books in to send to our two JSA juries for 2011. Once they receive the books they’ll have until late May to read everything and make their informed selections for the lively debate that is sure to follow as we select our winners for 2011 (to be announced in Calgary on June 18, 2011).

Thankfully next weekend is Easter and, as far as I know, there are no comics events planned! Then it’s back on the road again for me down to the Boston Comic Con with the boys from Comic Book Daily. There’s also a mini-Montreal Comic-Con on May 1, and the following weekend – May 7 – it’s Free Comic Book Day  (we’ll be announcing a full slate of cross-country events before the 7th for you to plan accordingly), as well as the Beguiling‘s giant FCBD special event: TCAF 2011. I think by that time I’ll be ready to take a vacation!