Comics’ coming-of-age party at TCAF this weekend

My, how we’ve grown! This year’s Toronto Comic Arts Festival, which takes place this weekend in the Toronto Reference Library, will include a number of significant anniversaries.

Next year will be the 15th anniversary of TCAF itself: The first festival was in 2003, but the show was biennial for the first few years, so it’s not the 15th show. It’s complicated! This flurry of anniversaries, and the bounty of this year’s show, are reminders of how far comics have come. The show is free, so if you’re in Toronto this weekend, stop by! It’s totally chill and a really good time. And if you can’t be there in person, follow us on the Smash Pages Twitter, where I’ll be Tweeting from the show.

NBM 40th Anniversary: When Terry Nantier published the first graphic novel from what was then called “Flying Buttress,” no one knew what they were. Nantier was determined to bring the French graphic album format to the U.S., in order to expand the creative possibilities of comics. He had to modify the format and sell it hard, but now NBM is an established and award-winning publisher of graphic novels by American, European, and other international creators. NBM will celebrate with a panel on Saturday featuring Rick Geary (Treasury of 20th Century Murder), Metaphrog (The Little Mermaid), and Larry Hancock & Michael Cherkas (The Silent Invasion). Geary will also do a panel, and his A Treasury of XXth Century Murder Compendium will debut at the show.

Image Comics 25th Anniversary: Image Comics, formed by a breakaway group of creators in 1992, is celebrating its 25th anniversary by taking over the Masonic Temple (a block from the library) and bringing in a huge slate of creators, including Charlie Adlard (The Walking Dead), Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda (Monstress), Jamie McKelvie (The Wicked and the Divine), and Jim Zub and Djibril Morrissette-Phan (Wayward and Glitterbomb).

Koyama Press 10th Anniversary: Annie Koyama, who helms this small Canadian indy publisher, has a strong eye for talented emerging creators. She launched Koyama Press at TCAF 10 years ago and is back this year with a 10th birthday panel and a book launch. So Pretty/Very Rotten is a collection of comics and essays about Lolita fashion. Two Koyama Press books have been nominated for Eisner Awards this year, John Martz’s Burt’s Way Home for Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 8) and Daryl Seitchik’s Exits for Best Graphic Album—New

Book Debuts include Penelope Bagieu’s California Dreamin’, a loose biography of singer Cass Elliott; Jeff Lemire’s Roughneck; Gengoroh Tagame’s My Brother’s Husband, the famed gay porn creator’s first foray into young adult manga; Svetlana Chmakova’s Brave, a middle-grade graphic novel that takes an unconventional look at bullying; Jillian Tamaki’s Boundless; and a host of other intriguing titles.

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