Money Machine

IT TURNS OUT that rolling over the border beats flying. Do we blame Father’s Day? Juneteenth? Pride week? Whatever that music festival was that Miles was talking about at Tranzac? We loved the CBSA for getting us through customs in record time, but we spent hours waiting for planes parked on the runway, being brought into the terminal one by one. We kept busy with Eric Kostiuk Williams serving as tour guide, for which we are super grateful since it seems Toronto has been entirely torn down and relocated in these intervening years. Mostly, we explored the maze at the Black Eagle. Seems like Canadians like a challenge since the glory holes looked like credit card slots, but there you go. Our debut superstar, Gabriel Howell, arrived in time to check in at the lovely library, and we woke Adam Griffiths up for midnight snacks on TCAF eve. After a two year delay, all was right with the world.



TCAF put us right back where we were, on our little island across from Koyama Press, so we could flip each other off and have a weekend-long candy foodfight. Instead, our old island neighbors, Conundrum Press, in true Toronto style, took over Annie’s old spot, and we must say, that made for a pretty damn good re-fit. Once upon a time, during Fantagraphics 25th anniversary celebration, Sean T. Collins wrote (someplace we can’t find), that once D&Q got to their 25th, that would be the last 25th anniversary in indie comics publishing. Well, Conundrum can call it, too, being around longer than Tillie Walden. They didn’t throw any chocolate at us, but they gave us plenty of eye-candy with DILF Joe Ollman at the table – and they had our vote for Book of Show with Sami Alwani’s the Pleasure of the Text. We made it rain for Sami and spent a small, personal fortune on stuff from Genvieve LeBleu, Stanley Wany, et al. So we offer our sincere, belated congrats to Conundrum on a quarter century in the books.



TCAF switched in our distro labelmate, Uncivilized Books, as our table bunkies. We fell madly in love with A.Z. Terry (Jordan who? Tom what?) and her comics, on the way to breaking some records with our haul, picking up stuff we missed with the comic show circuit on pause all this time. We picked up the semi-latest from Max Morris and Perfectly Acceptable, who, along with Bred Press, make us feel bad about our printing skills. We went full French at the Pow Pow table, with new stuff from Cathon and Sophie B├ędard. Whatever the hell that little, yellow Peow book is, it gave us headaches, in a good way. We even made it upstairs, where our latest comics crush, Nicole Rodriguez, was hiding. Take note that we could only make it upstairs since this TCAF was far less congested – but don’t think it was empty. Forget Me Not launched like a rocket. We could have packed our leftovers in a backpack and had room to spare. We thank the beautiful people of TCAF for a pillaging of books so total, we had to break into artist copies of Forget Me Not and Washington White both. And we managed all this without a Wowee Zonk room, another victim of Toronto reconstruction. We miss the Wowee Zonk room.



We missed everybody. TCAF feels like a family reunion most of the time, but this year got eyes watering. Tom and Peggy popped up after taking Gigi on a campus tour of the University of Toronto. Gigi. College. Seriously. Michael DeForge leveled up from healthy to swole. Patrick Kyle studied up on French for Fremok. We dragged faux Canadian Dustin Harbin away from his stacked table. John Martz brought over our very own, lone Canadian, Aaron Costain, to talk farm life. Peter Birkemoe stole the last of our Forget Me Nots, and Miles Baker is a full-grown adult holding the reins of this post-pandemic TCAF. Our old co-worker from our days at the Distinguished Competition, Heidi MacDonald, showed up at the after party. We sobered up after a night of bar-hopping with a secret, deluxe breakfast with soul-sister Annie Koyama herself, eating poached eggs and poaching the aforementioned Eric Kostiuk Williams. So now we’ve got two Canadians. We stifled quite a lot of tears on our way home between the feels and cancelled flights which damn near stranded Adam Griffiths in Toronto. But wouldn’t you be okay being stuck in TCAF forever?

Should we survive our separation anxiety, we promise to return here ahead of our last show of the year, the ginormous Small Press Expo. Good thing Adam made it home, because the real deal Washington White finally makes its official way to you this SPX. We can’t wait, either.

Your Pal,


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