This weekend: Toronto Comics Arts Fest!

On May 5, 2011 · 2 Comments

I’m on my way to Toronto, where I will visit a couple of schools (yay!), hang out with some relatives, and attend the Toronto Comics Arts Fest. If you’re going to be in Toronto, please come by and say hi — the Fest, located in the Toronto Reference Library, is free to the public.

The National Post sent out a survey to all the cartoonists attending TCAF who haven’t attended before. Here’s their questions and my answers:

Who are you? Why are you here?

I’m Barry Deutsch, a cartoonist from Portland, Oregon, USA (one of several Portlanders attending this year). I’m here to introduce people to my first graphic novel, Hereville, a fantasy adventure about a troll-fighting 11-year-old Orthodox Jewish girl.

Why have you never been to TCAF before? What’s wrong with you!

If you folks would hold TCAF in Portland, I’d attend every year! That’s not asking too much, now is it?

What kind of stories have you heard about TCAF?

No lie: I’ve heard it’s the best-run comic book convention on the continent.

Do you attend many comic festivals and conventions? Why are they so important?

They’re not important! Important stuff involves getting work done and paying bills and dressing in brown and very probably sitting in a room where the only sound is pens scraping across tedious government forms. Comic book festivals are for fun.

If you’re not from Toronto, what do you know about the city? If you are from Toronto, what should out-of-town guests do in their free time?

I regularly listen to Stuart McLean’s “Vinyl Cafe” while I draw. So I’m looking forward to meeting the cute and folksy types that I believe comprise 100% of Canada’s population.

What part of TCAF are you most excited about?

I’m excited that TCAF is held in a public library and is free for the public to attend. Hopefully this means that some folks who aren’t comic book fanatics like I am, but who might nonetheless enjoy reading a good graphic novel, will come see the show.

There’s a lot to see and I don’t have a lot of time, so why should I come to your table on Saturday or Sunday?

When I go to conventions, people always tell me that I have the best pitch they’ve seen at the entire show. Seriously, people often hear my pitch, and then return later dragging their friends so their friends can hear the pitch too. Even if you don’t like my comic at all, you’ll enjoy hearing my pitch.

(My publisher would appreciate it if I just casually mentioned here that a School Library Journal reviewer called Hereville “the best kid’s graphic novel of 2010, bar none” Hereville is nominated for an Eisner Award, a Nebula Award, and is the first comic book ever to win the Sydney Taylor Book Award. So if you want to read a funny, exciting, and extremely unique comic that both kids and adults will enjoy, that’s another reason to stop by my table.)

The festival is kicking-off with a panel discussion featuring Chester Brown, Seth, Adrian Tomine, and Chris Ware. I have to ask: who’s your favourite and why?

It’s impossible to say who’s the best cartoonist of that lot; they’re each beyond incredible. But of those four, I get the most enjoyment out of Seth’s comics. Seth’s work contains the precise mix of playful whimsy and mind-numbing depression that most appeals to me.

If you could spend a day with another artist attending this year’s TCAF, who would it be and why?

Aaarrgh! Too hard. It’s 2:49am and my brain can’t process a question this difficult.

What’s your most anticipated comic of the year?

The advance word on Anya’s Ghost by Vera Brosgol is incredible, and I can’t wait to read it. But the graphic novel I’m most looking forward to is Dicebox, by Jenn Lee, a 350-page graphic novel collecting her webcomic of the same name. Lee is one of very few cartoonists creating intelligent, grown-up science fiction comics, and her drawing is exquisite. Plus I love that Dicebox isn’t about some starship Captain or galactic rebels; it’s about ordinary blue-collar workers trying to get along in the universe.

This summer we’ll see Captain America, Thor, and the Green Lantern on the big screen. What comic should next make the leap to film? Who should direct it?

Chris Ware’s “Jimmy Corrigan” should become a big-budget blockbuster directed by Chris Columbus of “Home Alone” fame. It can’t miss!

What will have to happen this weekend for you to consider TCAF a success?

I’d like to sell a bunch of books, have some great conversations with fans and other cartoonists, meet the girl and or boy of my dreams, have a passionate yet tragic and ultimately doomed love affair, invent a time travel machine and have tea with Oscar Wilde, reconnect with my estranged best friend from the sixth grade, fight a duel with my mortal enemy Skelator, each of us are armed only with broken umbrellas from bad takes of “Singin’ In The Rain,” win six billion dollars and use it to buy the rights to more seasons of “Firefly,” and eat a really delicious sandwich.


Under Appearances, CTA

2 Responses to “This weekend: Toronto Comics Arts Fest!”

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