Toronto Comic Arts Festival 2009 Wrap-Up

On Sunday every panel I sat in was pure gold, whether it was "All About Eurocomics!" With Emmanuel Guibert, Antoine Dode, Francois Ayroles, Jose Villarrubia, Anke Feuchtenberger and Bart Beaty; "Newspapers, Comics and the Internet" with R. Stevens, Scott McCloud, Stuart Immonen, Bendan Buford and John Martz; or the "Critics Roundtable" with Bart Beaty, Jeet Heer, Dan Nadel, Doug Wolk and Tom Kaczynski. I twittered the best quotes and most surprising insights, so check that out when you have the time. On the other hand, the $20 I had left in my pocket at the end of the show made a liar out of me, since I spent the last twenty minutes of the show buying minis so I wouldn't have to exchange it at the Duty Free shop. I even got a chance to get over into a quiet corner that I'd completely missed yesterday, where Carla Speed McNeill and Kagan McLeod and Jillian Tamaki were set up.

It's hard to single out what makes Toronto such a great show. It could be the incredible creators at the show, the bustling crowds who seem genuinely interested in a wide variety of comics, or the fantastic and insightful panels. It might be that as a biennial show TCAF has a lot more time to make sure that everything happens just right. It might just be that it's a show less interested in raking in money and more interested in ensuring that Toronto has a vibrant comics scene. Whatever the case is, the whole weekend I was giddy and excited like I was attending my very first convention. Even Jim Rugg, who went into the show feeling kind of down, left feeling energized and excited and partially in awe at the size of the sandwiches you can get at a Toronto mini-mart for $5.

Here are the highlights of what I purchased at the show and at the Beguiling on Friday. Mind you, this is only a fraction of what I purchased at the convention. There are enough comics packed into my luggage to keep this blog occupied for months, assuming I can ever get back to regular posting.

But do you know what I'll remember long after these comics have yellowed and started to smell funny? The drive home to Pittsburgh, talking comics the whole way with Tom Scioli and Jim Rugg. Six hours spent discussing about important aesthetic issues like art technique and storytelling and publishing and why Batman has a better rogues gallery than the Fantastic Four (Sorry, Tom, it's true).

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