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The Incredible Journey

LIFE CHANGES hit us hard our first night at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. We crossed the border with the usual ease, and felt good about that ease being the usual thing. The kids flew in from Portland and Holland and settled nicely into their digs. We arrived early, checked in and set up at the library. We stole some Koyama hugs and planned Sunday dinner with Annie and company on our way to a late Friday night feeding. Our gang assembled, we turned the corner to find our spot shuttered. For good. After thirty years. No more Blue Hawaiians. Ever. RIP Spirits sports/gay bar/restaurant. How many condos do you need, Toronto?



TCAF remains the most well-oiled of comics shows. Credit the Beguiling’s Peter Birkemoe and Chris Butcher and (relative new guy) Andrew Townsend. If you exhibited at TCAF, you probably know Andrew’s e-mail by heart, and probably Butcher’s twitter handle and Peter’s digits. The volunteers, all two hundred something of them, keep TCAF’s heart beating like clockwork. They act like friends and make everybody feel special. If you guys do all this for everyone behind every table, sit on that so we can pretend we’re you’re one and only.



You want special? There was an entire gallery of Aaron Costain’s Entropy artwork between us and the Wowee Zonk room. Poor Aaron kept having to explain that this was, in fact, original artwork and not at all prints. He left a lot of raven print money on the table at TCAF. We pulled up with triple digit numbers of Entropy and came back with none, so the math stays very much on our side. We cheated, though, doubling up on debuts, with Reid Psaltis’s Kingdom/OrderKingdom/Order continued our animal vibe at the table, with Reid knocking out cricket and raven sketches all weekend. Are ravens a thing for We the North? Michiel Budel, in from Amsterdam with Francine, provided some raven relief, at least. Naughty can be nice, too, you know. With Michiel rounding out an unholy trinity, expenses be damned, we made bank. Kind of hard not to when you have a backlist to back you up.



After Saturday’s debut panel turned into an intimate conversation (and word to the wise here: if it’s the last hour of the first day, don’t go up against Jaime Hernandez with your panel), we got some dumplings with our crew, plus A. Degen and both Pitzers. The AdHouse captain lived the dream we all dream of, coming to Toronto with his better half just to hang and raid the shops in Kensington Market. We nearly managed to sneak in a trip to an escape room, but Degen insisted we hit the noise show instead. We did discover that Pitzer sucks at pinball, so there’s at least one thing he can’t do.



Sunday started with a couple of hours of portfolio reviews. They went well; in fact, we may be introducing you to one of these artists very soon. The day ended with a quick breakdown, and, with Spirits gone and our Sunday dinner plans scrapped, our homer, Aaron, brought us to his neck of the woods for an actually great meal ahead of the official after party. The TCAF after party speeches reminded us that, Aaron or no, we’re Americans, the punchline of every joke. With Butcher offering to help artists secure grants to attend the show, or travel to Japan, or even Denmark, American artists were offered good luck. This came up again and again, and it’s only fair. The closest we ever get to supporting American culture is cable TV bundling. This is the suckiest thing for Americans about going to TCAF: you have to go home.

Many thanks to the many beautiful people who took many books from us. We owe you one. The house is too damn quiet with all the kids gone, so we’re hitting the road again shortly. Yep, it’s time for CAKE. Worry not, we’ll be back here to remind you. Meanwhile, prepare yourself to get a Little Stranger

Your Pal,


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