Comics Lowdown | TCAF is back

Plus: Angoulême comics awards, Adam Ellis accuses filmmakers of plagiarism, and a look at the world of back-issue collectors and dealers

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival, which was canceled last year due to the pandemic, will return in May as a virtual event. The past year has been a difficult one; in June, TCAF co-founder and artistic director Christopher Butcher stepped down for both professional and personal reasons. This year’s festival will be online only, and it’s being run in partnership with the zine festival Canzine and the Toronto Hand Eye Society.

TCAF will take place May 8-15. Information on exhibiting during the virtual event can be found on their website.

The Angoulême International Comics Festival has announced its 2021 awards, and the top prize for best graphic novel of the year went to David L. Carlson and Landis Blair’s The Hunting Accident. Other prizewinners included Steven Appleby’s Dragman, Michel Rabagliati’s Paul at Home, and Jorge Corona and Skottie Young’s Middlewest. The festival, which takes place in a small town in France, was split into two parts due to the COVID-19 pandemic; the January session was primarily online, but the organizing committee plans to have an in-person festival in June.

The first page of Adam Ellis’s comic

On Monday, cartoonist Adam Ellis tweeted that the short film Keratin was copied shot by shot from his short comic of the same name. He said he had no idea that the film had even been made until after it was completed, when the filmmakers asked him to help promote it, although they had not even given him a screen credit.

Newsweek followed up with Ellis, who said that while he’s “keeping his options open,” he isn’t pursuing legal action right now; he just wants the film to be pulled from release. “The story is personal to me and I’m protective of it!” he said. The original comic can be found on Instagram.

Interviews and Profiles

A comics panel by Madeleine Jubilee Saito

Deserving of wider recognition: At The Comics Journal, Andrew White interviews Madeleine Jubilee Saito, and if you’re saying “Who?” (as I did when I first looked at this), then you’re in for a treat. You can check out her comics on her website.

Hometown hero: The Penn State News interviews alumnus and cartoonist Dave Blazek, whose comic strip Loose Parts is a two-time Reuben Award winner. Blazek worked with artist John Gilpin for the first year of the strip, but when Gilpin had to step aside, Blazek taught himself to draw:

I just sat down and did it. I worked at it every day, and I learned enough to bluff my way through it. Now, at events, I’m pretty quick. It’s like a magic trick. People ask me, ‘How do you do that?’ Well, I’ve drawn a guy throwing a spear 400 times now. You go with what you know.

Recommended Reading

At the New York Times, Ed Park reviews David Walker and Marcus Kwame Anderson’s The Black Panther Party and Jim Terry’s Come Home, Indio.

Heat Vision has a preview of Glenn Head’s graphic memoir Chartwell Manor, an account of his two years at a boarding school whose headmaster was sexually and physically abusive. The book is due out in May from Fantagraphics.

Flipping through the catalog: What’s First Second publishing this year? I did a roundup of their planned releases from now till July at ICv2.

Art theft funnies: Rachel Cooke reviews La Grande Odalisque (due out next week from Fantagraphics) at The Guardian:

It will take you, I’d guess, about an hour to read and for every one of those 60 minutes you’ll be somewhere else entirely: the galleries of the Louvre, a Spanish beach, the streets of Mexico City. Even better, you’ll be in the company of three smart and sexy female criminals who take the men on at their own game and win.

The Biz

Exit Interviews: Two insiders, Ed Kanerva (Koyama Comics) and RJ Casey (Fantagraphics) talk about leaving the comics industry, which both of them did at the end of 2020.

Collecting: Danielle Smith is a comics dealer who specializes in back issues, including some of the most sought-after comics, and in this interview with SyFy, she pulls back the curtain on the world of back-issue dealers and talks about what she does that’s different.

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