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Toronto Arts Festival
By Brian Jacks


The following is a press release:

Premiere Canadian comic book retailer The Beguiling will present the first annual Toronto Comic Arts Festival on Saturday, March 29th 2003. This will be the first such gathering of International independent cartoonists, comic artists and illustrators to take place in Canada.

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Featuring a diverse array of Canadian cartoonists and talented creators from around the world, The Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) will showcase these talents through gallery presentations, lectures and discussions, and direct interaction with the artists themselves through the sale of their comics and original artwork. Unlike typical comics conventions, there will be no "dealer's room", as the focus is intended to be squarely on the creative people attending and speaking at the Festival.

Plans for the Festival were begun after seeing the remarkable interaction between the creative community and the public through comics festivals such as the MoCCA (Museum of Cartoon and Comic Art) Festival in New York (http://www.moccany.org), the SPX show in Bethesda Maryland (http://www.spxpo.com) or the more artist oriented European festivals Barcelona International Comic Festival (FICOMIC) or the Stripdagen festival in Haarlem, NL (http://www.stripdagenhaarlem.nl). There are many Canadian cartoonists recognized as among the best in the world, particularly in the field of alternative comics. TCAF is Canada's chance not only to promote its homegrown talent to visiting guests but bring many talents from the US and abroad to Toronto for the first time. This prestigious gathering of artists will attract international and national attention.


The Toronto Comic Arts Festival is proud to welcome the following guests of honour for its debut year:

Seth: Chief among the Canadian contingent will be acclaimed cartoonist Seth from Guelph, Ontario. Recently featured in a comprehensive article in The Toronto Star, Seth has lately completed a number of high-profile illustration projects, including the cover art and comic strip for pop singer Aimee Mann's latest album LOST IN SPACE. He has also worked on illustration projects for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The New Yorker.

Chester Brown: Chester Brown's graphic retelling of the life of historical Canadian anti-hero Louis Riel in the series LOUIS RIEL has drawn critical acclaim from the international comics press as well as closer to home in The Globe and Mail. The critical acclaim is matched by the controversy surrounding the release of his surreal graphic novel ED THE HAPPY CLOWN [currently in development for the screen by Bruce MacDonald]. Chester Brown was born in Chateauguay Quebec, but now makes his home in Toronto, Canada.

Phoebe Gloeckner: Hailing from Maryland USA, Phoebe Gloeckner's newest graphic novel DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL is a gripping portrait of the difficult life of a girl growing up in the 70's, as told through the motif of diary entries featuring prose, illustrations, and traditional comics.

Jason Little: Jason Little, Hailing from New York USA, came to great acclaim this year when his graphic novel, SHUTTERBUG FOLLIES, was selected as one of the initial comic book offerings from publishing megalith Doubleday Books, and that book has been favourably received by the New York Times Book Review.

Jason Lutes: Renowned illustrator and storyteller Jason Lutes, hails from South Carolina, USA. The author of graphic novels JAR OF FOOLS and BERLIN, the latter singled out by Time Magazine as "the longest, most sophisticated work of historical fiction in the medium" and described as having "the density of the best novels."

David Mack: Hailing from Kentucky USA, David Mack's painting and illustration straddle the line between popular culture and fine art in his series KABUKI, which mixes historical stories of pre- and post-war Japan with the best of contemporary action-film staples; the mix of poetry, brutality, and adrenaline that propelled CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON to international success.

Michel Rabagliati: Creator Michel Rabalgliati of Quebec Canada experiences great recognition the world-over, thanks to his crisp brush-work and engaging stories. His first book, PAUL IN THE COUNTRY, was released to great acclaim and the follow-up, PAUL GETS A SUMMER JOB will be making its debut at the Festival.

The complete list of featured guests attending the Festival includes:

Marc Bell, Matthew Blackett, Jason Bone, Chester Brown, Robert Bugatto, Scott Chantler, Becky Cloonan, Michael Comeau, Darwyn Cooke, David Cullen, Farel Dalrymple, Tom Devlin, Walter Dickinson, Catherine Doherty, Pheobe Gloeckner, Marcel Guldemonde, Sam Hiti, Kevin Huizenga, Ron Kasman, Megan Kelso, Jeffrey Kilpatrick, Andy Lee, Jason Little, Jason Lutes, David Mack, Kagen McLeod, John Mejias, Sean Menard, Carla Speed McNeil, Scott Mills, Marc Ngui, Anders Nilsen, Christine Norrie, Bryan O'Malley, Joe Ollman, Lorenz Peters, Chris Pitzer, Joel Priddy, Brian Ralph, Seth, Vincent Stall, Jay Stephens, Diana Tamblyn, Richard G. Taylor, J. Torres, Noel Tuazon, Maurice Vellekoop, Rob Walton, Lauren Weinstein, and Chip Zdarsky.

For more information on all guests, please visit:


The Toronto Comic Arts Festival is being hosted in Toronto's arts-friendly Annex district. TCAF's chief sponsor is North America's premier retailer of high art funny books, The Beguiling. The Festival wraps up the celebrations of The Beguiling's 15th year in business. The celebration series has already included appearances by the most talented people working in comics today, such as Norway's Jason (SSsssh, Hey, Wait!), Kim Deitch (Boulevard of Broken Dreams), Paul Pope (Heavy Liquid, THB), Chris Ware (Jimmy Corrigan: Smartest Kid On Earth), Daniel Clowes (Ghost World), Adrian Tomine (Optic Nerve), and Chip Kidd (Peanuts: The Art of Charles Schultz). Find out more about The Beguiling at http://www.beguiling.com.


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