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Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Jewish Side of TCAF 2007

This weekend, Torontonians and visitors to Toronto will be able to experience the 3rd TCAF (Toronto Comic Arts Festival). at Victoria College (on the University of Toronto campus).

There will be a diversity of publishers, writers, and artists at exhibitor tables showing off their wares, selling their products, signing their work and some will probably even do free sketches if you ask them nicely.

Among the guests will be people who have done what I classify as "Jewish comix work".

* Dave Sim
Dave Sim is internationally renown for his epic CEREBUS series, now completed in over 15 collected volumes. Since the completion of Cerebus, Sim has begun working on a series of new projects, some of which will debut at or just before TCAF this August. For those of you that miss seeing Cerebus on the stands, take note: Following Cerebus, a zine dedicated to the series and to its creators continues to be released several times per year.

The second-to-last collected trade paperback in the Cerebus collection was Latter Days, which reprinted Cerebus #266-288, in which Cerebus becomes "The Rabbi" and which has the only appearance of the Ben Gurions of the Universe.
Please note: Dave Sim will only be appearing on Saturday, August 18th.

* Cameron Stewart
Artist Cameron Stewart is probably best known for illustrating the adventures SEAGUY (co-created with Grant Morrison), SEVEN SOLDIERS: GUARDIAN, and CATWOMAN for DC Comics. He recently illustrated the Eisner Award-nominated Vietnam war graphic novel THE OTHER SIDE, and this summer will see the release of the new graphic novel APOCALIPSTIX from Oni Press, with co-creator Ray Fawkes.

The first issue of Seven Soldiers : The Manhattan Guardian had the title hero face off against a Jewish golem. Alas, the word YHWH wasn't done from right-to-left as Cameron was trying to get done, but it's still a nice effort.

* Sarah Dyer & Evan Dorkin
Sarah Dyer is a writer/artist/colourist, and founder/editor of the ACTION GIRL! comics anthology. She's coloured just about every illustration husband Evan Dorkin has ever made, and in addition she also runs, a collection of articles and commentary on more "domestic" pursuits.

The notorious creator of MILK & CHEESE and DORK will be joining the Toronto Comic Arts Festival for his first-ever comics event in Toronto! After starting at Marvel Comics, Dorkin made his name on hip, contemporary looks at youth in popular culture through his series HECTIC PLANET and his short humour strips in anthologies including INSTANT PIANO. Currently, Dorkin's work can be seen in annual issues of DORK and in Nickelodeon Magazine, MAD Magazine, and on the cover of the new Larry Doyle novel I Love You Beth Cooper. Also this summer, Slave Labor Graphics will release vinyl toy figures of MILK & CHEESE, and we've all got our fingers crossed that they'll show up in time for TCAF.

Back in mid-Jan. 2004, Dorkin made reference in his Livejournal to a "fully-drawn 16 page One Punch Goldberg story waiting for when we can find the time to put together the long delayed Action Girl Co-Ed Special". One Punch Goldberg has been described as a "female Jewish boxer".

* Paul Gravett
Paul Gravett is a London-based freelance journalist, curator, lecturer, writer and broadcaster, who has worked in comics publishing and promotion for over twenty years, including co-publishing the highly-influential ECLIPSE from 1983-1989.
His extensive knowledge of comics and graphic novels is reflected in his two books, GRAPHIC NOVELS: STORIES TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE and MANGA: 60 YEARS OF JAPANESE CULTURE. The former is a rich, layered examination of contemporary graphic novels; a wonderful entry point for newcomers to the medium and a wonderful guide to the breadth of material available for even the most advanced reader. Meanwhile, his book on Manga has quickly become the book of note on an iteration of the comics medium that is gripping the world. His most recent book, GREAT BRITISH COMICS, is a very thick one that covers exactly what the title promises.
Paul Gravett will be speaking on multiple subjects at TCAF, please see the Events page for further details.

Paul Gravett is the author of the online essay "After Maus : The Jewish Experience in American Graphic Novels" (circa 2002) and the essay "De l’influence des quelques auteurs juifs sur les graphic novels" in the ever-delayed French anthology La diaspora des bulles : bandes dessinees et judeites (DenoĆ«l, 2007?). Paul also moderated 2 panels on Jewish graphic novels at the annual Jewish Book Week in London, England in 2006 and 2007.

* Paul Pope
In America, he's been called the "comics destroyer;" in France, he's been called the "Jim Morrison of comics" and "comics' Petit Prince." New York’s Paul Pope creates comics that defy genre and period, straddling the line between artistic capriciousness and commercial appeal. One of a handful of young cartoonists consistently gaining critical praise and media attention, Pope has been featured in Canada on MuchMusic and Space channel, among others, and his work has appeared in print outlets like Spin, Entertainment Weekly, Jalouse, V Magazine and The Village Voice. He is also the only American cartoonist to have worked for Japan's largest manga publisher (Kodansha), for more than five years now. Pope’s recent work includes the near-future sci-fi romance 100%, the career spanning THB, as well as recent stints on iconic comic character series like Batman and Spider-Man. Just in time for TCAF, Adhouse Books will release PULPHOPE: THE ART OF PAUL POPE. It's going to be great.

Paul wrote and illustrated the story "Berlin Batman" in The Batman Chronicles #11, in which Batman is a Jewish painter named Baruch Wane.

* Emily Holton
Emily Holton will be debuting her new book, Little Lessons In Safety at the Conundrum Press table (see publisher listings for signing times). It is a collection of Holton's bookworks and drawings, produced over the past five years. Her "scratchy intelligent line drawings" (Broken Pencil) and lean text play with the format of children's readers, comics, celebrity fashion magazines, and cut and paste murder mysteries. Smart, strange, and funny, Holton's work recalls artist Raymond Pettibon, filmmaker Miranda July and southern gothic writer Carson McCullers - all at once. There is a boy with a bird for hair, feral children who grow up to be cowboys, treeplanters who never come back, and fashionista Karl Lagerfeld perfoming a bris. Her stories, "exploring a richer, weirder understanding of language and sentiment" (Brian Joseph Davis), reveal themselves in layers - eerily straightforward and yet never quite what they seem.

* Miss Lasko-Gross
Though not listed as a guest at the TCAF website, Miss announced in a ComicSpace Bulletin that she will be there. Apparently she will be sharing a table with Becky and Hwan.

Miss is the author-illustrator of the autobiographical graphic book Escape from "Special". From an online review : "For Melissa, special is a title bestowed upon her by parents, teachers and other adults in her life. She doesn't quite fit in with those around her. She continually finds herself in awkward situations that further alienate her from family, friends, and classmates. Her leftist Jewish parents attempt to help via therapists, new schools, and surprise parties, but of course, these fall miserably flat or worse, backfire on Melissa."

* James Turner
James Turner is a Toronto illustrator whose first graphic novel, NIL, sort of came out of nowhere and surprised an awful lot of people with how very good, and unique, it is. James has since created the ongoing comic series REX LIBRIS, about a team of gun-wielding librarians, which has become quite popular indeed.

No Jewish comix work (yet) as far as I know, but I felt I also had to acknowledge the only cartoonist in attendance who is writing a comic series about librarians --- gun-wielding librarians, yet. I'll need to remember that one if I ever decide to start a "Librarians in Comics" blog.

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