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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Jewish Side of TCAF 2016 - this week

Starting on Thursday, May 12th, readers, writers, artists, publishers and fans of comix will converge at the Toronto Reference Library to take part in the the FREE Toronto Comic Arts Festival (aka TCAF).This year marks the 13th anniversary since the first TCAF was held (at a much smaller venue) in 2003.

Among the talented people who will be at TCAF this year are a small number of comix professionals who have done comic art using Jewish characters or themes.

AH Comics Inc. (table 201) is the publisher of Jewish Comix Anthology, volume 1.

Chester Brown (tables 143-145) is the author and illustrator of Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus : Prostitution and Religious Obedience in the Bible which includes adaptations of the stories of Cain and Abel, Job, Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, and Basthsheba.

Drawn  and Quarterly (tables 143-145) is the publisher of The Property, Exit Wounds, Jamalti & Other Stories, The Golem’s Mighty Swing, Jerusalem : Chronicles from the Holy City and Mary Wept Over the Feet of JesusD+Q also published the story "The Peasant and the Snake" in one of its anthologies, which has been reprinted in Jewish Comix Anthology.

Fantagraphics Books (tables 129-130) is the publisher of Jewish Images in the Comics, Palestine, and Barracuda in the Attic.

Terri Libenson is the cartoonist who writes and draws the syndicated comic strip “The Pyjama Diaries”which has spawned 3 book compilations - Deja To-Do, Having It All - And No Time To Do It, and Bat-Zilla.

Jim Ottaviani (tables 122-123) is the author of Wire Mothers: Harry Harlow and the Science of Love and Fallout : J. Robert Oppenheimer, Leo Szilard, and the Political Science of the Atomic Bomb.

NBM Graphic Novels (tables 132-133) is the publisher of the Jew in Communist Prague books, BrownsvilleThe Big Khan, and the Isaac the Pirate books.

Ted Rall (table 142) is the author and illustrator of the Bernie Sanders graphic biography Bernie.

Winston Rowntree (table 125) is the author of an untitled story about 2 Jewish teenagers which appeared in the anthology SPX 2004.

Robert Sikoryak is a cartoonist who has adapted classic stories into comic-style retellings, including a Dagwood-style "Adam and Eve", which was reprinted in Masterpiece Comics.

Andy Stanleigh, who illustrated the story "Pillow of Feathers", is the owner of AH Comics (which published the 1st volume of Jewish Comix Anthology). He may be found at the AH Comics Inc. table (#201) during TCAF.

Brian K. Vaughan is the author of the series Y : The Last Man and The Escapists.

Li-Or Zaltzman (table 234) is a writer and artist for The Forward, who is currently working on a 100+ page coming of age story that takes place in Tel Aviv.


Below are CSSC (Canadian Society for the Study of Comics) sessions which might be of interest to those who study Jews and Comics. All sessions take place at The Marriott Bloor Yorkville Hotel, 90 Bloor St. East, Toronto, 1st Floor.

Thurs., May 12th, 3:00 - 4:20 PM

Etienne Domingue – Towards a Pluralist Hermeneutic of Religion in the Superhero Genre: An Approach Inspired by Marshall McLuhan.
It appears we are living in an age of imagination; current enthusiasm for speculative fiction cannot help but pique scholarly curiosity. How – and to what extent – are we influenced by genre culture? Inversely, in what way might we qualify such phenomena as expressions of individual and collective agency? This presentation aims to account for a specific aspect of popular narratives (i.e., its relation to religion) from three interpretive perspectives inspired by McLuhan’s Laws of Media. Consequently, three dynamics of mutual influence are described: criticism, retrieval, and deconstruction. Popular narratives and religion criticize one another through selective representation; they retrieve each other through creative borrowing; and they deconstruct one another by undermining conventional expectations. The object of this presentation is not to argue for the superiority of any one method of interpretation, but rather to explore some of the meanings made available by a pluralist hermeneutic. Due to time constraints, this presentation focuses on superhero comics and their derivatives.
A graduate student of Université de Sherbrooke’s Centre d’étude du religieux contemporain, Etienne Domingue just submitted his master’s thesis for evaluation. His interests lie chiefly in the study of religion and magic in popular narratives. He is equally (un)comfortable presenting in English or French.

Fri., May 13th, 1:30-2:50 PM

Keith Friedlander – Anthologies and Creative Communities: Mapping the Social Function of Editors
Anthologies occupy an important position in the comic world and serve a number of different purposes. Anthologies can often serve as a starting point for young artists and writers, providing them with a publishing outlet for their work and helping them grow a professional network. Some anthology projects serve as a showcase for existing creative communities, while others help communities take shape by bringing together isolated creative talent under a single title. In this regard, the work performed by the editors of these series in gathering talent, setting guidelines, and managing the project to publication is as crucial to the cultural impact of these anthologies as the artists’ words and images. In order to better understand the influence that anthologies can have on the formation of creative communities, it is necessary to study the social function that editors serve as an organizing force behind creative talent. I propose to write a paper that will evaluate the role anthologies play in creating and sustaining creative communities within the comic world. In doing so, I will draw upon primary research in the form of interviews and surveys with the editors and creative talents who have worked on these anthologies. I will examine a cross section of anthologies including Moonshot: The Indigenous Comic Collection, Jewish Comix Anthology, Beyond: The Queer Sci-Fi/Fantasy Comics Anthology, and Toronto Comics, amongst others.
Keith Friedlander teaches composition and literature at Humber College, Seneca College, and Trent University. He recently completed a doctoral dissertation on British Romanticism and is awaiting his defense. His research examines how matters of publishing mode and market position affect concepts of authorship and subjecthood.
Fri., May 13th, 1:30-2:50 PM
Tamara El-Hoss – Drawing Exile
Baddawi is a recently published graphic novel written and illustrated by Leila Abdelrazaq, a Chicago-based Palestinian artist and organizer. Although, on the surface, the book is the coming-of-age story of a young Palestinian refugee boy, this graphic novel follows (and draws) the path of thousands of Palestinian refugees during the 1948 Nakba (catastrophe). Most of these refugees fled at night, by foot, and crossed Palestine’s Northern border into neighbouring Lebanon where they lived in make-shift refugee camps. Baddawi, which means “nomad” in Arabic, is one such camp, and is located in Northern Lebanon. Palestinians lived there in exile for decades, separate and separated from the Lebanese population, hoping to return “home” one day. “Palestinians”, notes Abdelrazaq, “make up the largest refugee population in the world” (notwithstanding the recent Syrian refugee crisis). The author/artist’s black and white illustrations draw on Palestinian “visuals” (landscapes, embroideries) and are heavily influenced by Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis. The purpose of this paper will be to examine the manner in which Leila Abdelrazaq depicts and traces this exile, an exile mediated through an activist’s lens and an artistic license.
Tamara El-Hoss is an Assistant Professor at Brock University. Her research interests include graphic novels & bande dessinée, with a special interest in (im)migrant identity, marginality, testimonials, colonial history and politics, gender roles, trauma, diaspora, and queer identity.

Please note that Friedlander's paper and El Hoss's paper are being delivered in 2 different sessions which take place at the same time.


TCAF panels which may be of interest to those who study Jews and Comics.

Sat., May 14th, 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM, Toronto Reference Library, Learning Centre 1, 1st Floor
Historical Comics
Panelists Chester Brown (Louis Riel), Tony Cliff (Delilah Dirk), Ben Towle (Oyster War), and Sarah Winifred Searle (Colonial Comics) compare and contrast their methods for retelling events in history. Learn about how they narrow their focus to make old stories come alive again, through a faithful and sometimes fantastic narrative lenses. Moderated by David Humphreys.
Note : Colonial Comics includes the story " Lost Tribe" by A. David Lewis and JT Waldman.

Sat., May 14th, 1:30 - 2:30 PM, Marriott Bloor-Yorkville Hotel, 90 Bloor St. East, Toronto

Newspaper Comics in a Digital World
How are newspaper comic strips evolving in a digital world? Is print really dead? Join six internationally syndicated comic strip artists (Paul Gilligan, Pooche Cafe, Sandra Bell-Lundy, Between Friends, Jonathan Mahood, Bleeker The Rechargeable Dog, Terri Libenson, Pajama Diaries, Dana Simpson, Phoebe and Her Unicorn, and Rina Piccolo, Tina’s Groove) as they discuss new opportunities for their strips, the remodeling of syndication as a business, and the role of social media for newspaper comics.

Sat., May 14, 4:00 - 5:00 PM, Marriott Bloor-Yorkville Hotel, 90 Bloor St. East, Toronto

Spotlight: Brian K Vaughan and Pia Guerra
The graphic novel series Y: The Last Man is one of Vertigo’s greatest success stories. This tale of an apocalypse in which all men (and male animals!) are killed, save one man and one monkey, has become one of the most popular and widely-read mainstream comic series, periodically returning to the New York Times Best Seller list, and even being adopted to University course curricula across North America! In this special feature interview, the creative team of Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra will be reunited with their original commissioning editor Heidi MacDonald in a special discussion, moderated by Mark Medley (The Globe and Mail).

Note : An important character in Y : The Last Man is soldier Alter Tse'elon, chief of the general staff for Israel.


On Sunday, one of the post-TCAF events is Adapting Jewish Stories into Comics at the Miles Nadal JCC at 7:00 PM. For details, please click on the hyperlink.

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