Sunday, May 24, 2009


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As with any zine fest or comic con, the best moments of the experience come days later, back at home as you pore over all the trades and new finds from walking the aisles. I purposely avoided any books I could grab back home, like Fantagraphics or Drawn & Quarterly books, and focused on new zines and minis from all over (and especially folks from around Toronto).

Here is a recap w/capsule reviews of the haul from TCAF 2009. [For previous TCAF posts, including a round-up of the event and all things Tatsumi, click here!]

+ Michael DeForge zines

I've talked about Michael a few times on here, but this was the first time I got my hands on paper copies of his zines. The three zines were Gags, The Seed Stirs, and another whose name I can't decipher. The books include a smattering of splash drawings, gags and experimental strips, and paneled comics. This young dude is scary talented, one of the most prolific and interesting artists working right now!

Check out more of his art on his site, King Trash.

+ Toronto comics newspaper zines

Courtesy of printmaker Jesjit Gill, I got my hands on these free (or damn near) newsprint comics zine. Jesjit organizes a new Toronto paper called "FREE DRAWINGS" which includes folks from all over Toronto flexing their chops. The right-most paper in this photo is from a groupd show by Jesjit, Michael DeForge and Steph Davidson called "Neighborhood Sacrifice". I found out from Jesjit that the price to print these is often just like 15 cents per copy!

I am working on a longer post for the EAZB just about newsprint comics and how they are the perfect format for 2009 recession community comics... I was really excited by these, both the format and the art.

+ Open Spaces, Closed Places #3 by saicoink

I put up a thing recently on my twitter, but OSCP by Saicoink is the perfect comic for folks that love Antique Bakery AND Suehiro Maruo (like me!). He style is influenced heavily by 60s and 70s romance manga, and her tale of high school love drama is hilarious and fun. I strongly recommend you check it out, the newest book is longer and perfect bound by hand :) (Saicoink also contributoed a great page to the body horror jam comic Electric Ant #2)

+ Ghana Movie Posters

From Buenaventura Press, this is a gallery catalog featuring hand-painted movies posters from Ghana, along with interesting essays about the industry and practice. It was a bit steep but worth it for repeated viewings.

+ The Good Samaritan by Shawn Cheng

A lovely and short mini by Shawn Cheng featuring what looks like hand-screened pages throughout. Shawn's style is super unique, and his color layering (on peach-paper!) adds a strange alien quality to what's a funny (and tragic) little tale. I also highly recommend his mini, The Would-Be Bridegrooms.

+ Remake by Lamar Abrams

I was recommend REMAKE by Lamar Abrams by my buddy Mickey, and was pumped to find it at the AdHouse booth at TCAF. I don't know much about Lamar, but this fucking crazy book is a great distillation of Japanese 4koma sensibilities with the best of Adult Swim style irreverence. The art gets tighter as the book goes on, but remains wild throughout. I highly recommend this.

+ Comics Comics #3 & #4

After following Comics Comics blog for a while, I finally got my hands on two issues of their comics crit/lit newspaper. Frank Santoro hooked me up with these directly, and it turns out that he is as chill annd generous in person as he is ferocious and knowledgeable in online postings. Comics fans have known about these papers (compiled by PictureBox's Dan Nadel, Tim Holder, Frank, and other friends) for a while, but it wasn't 'til reading the hard copies that I got what they are doing. These (along with some other newsprint publications mentioned here) really got my head spinning about the format. Also: Check out that article about Berserk in issue 4!

+ Never Learn Anything From History by Kate Beaton

I don't have much to add to the already loud chorus of folks in love with Kate Beaton's history webcomics. Aside from Bryan Lee O'Malley and Tatsumi, Kate was the belle of the TCAF ball-- I heard she sold out of 200 copies of this self-published book on the first day! Dizamn.

+ Wowee Zonk #1 and #2

As I'm working on issue 2 of Electric Ant, I've been thinking more and more about zines and collaboration. Wowee Zonk is a zine made by 3 friends (Chris Kuzma, Ginette Lapalme, and Patrick Kyle), which expanded to include comics by their friends in issue 2. Both issues are packed-full and interesting, but I was especially taken with #2, which was pretty dense with comics but in a lightweight tabloid format featuring newsprint interiors and a glossy cover. Toronto has a pretty fresh zine scene, and the Wowee Zonk crew especially is doing cool things. Check them out!

+ Rat Cliff by Andrei Georgescu, from Wowee Zonk #2

Special shout out to Andrei's totally badass comic. A knife through the neck of your homeroom teacher never looked so good.

+ College Type Funnies by Chris Kuzma & Patrick Kyle

More goodies from the Wowee Zonk crew, this feature a crazy short by Chris, and a longer tale of undead punk cred by Patrick. Yeah, I LOL'd

+ Beastlord by Chris Kuzma

Last thing from the Wowees, I grabbed this TMNT-meets-Frazetta mini from Chris. See more of Chris Kuzma's art on his personal site.

+ Amazing Facts... and Beyond! collection by Kevin Huizenga, Dan Zettwoch, and Ted May

A great collection of this weekly strip out of St. Louis. It runs in some alt-weeklies, but it's especially nice to get a super-dense mini of a few months' worth of comics in one package. Hilarious stuff.

+ Tramp and Stamp Postcard Series by Leif Goldberg and It's Sexy When People Know Your Name by Lisa Hanawalt

More expensive but worthy minis from Buenaventura. These screen-printed postcards are freakishly intricate and weird, while Lisa Hanawalt's mini was short and sweet. Lisa's pencil work is delightful and creepy, and I can't wait for a longer comic from her. She is also planned to take part in Electric Ant #2 (can't believe my luck!).

+ you are i am magic by Lark Pien

A lush and lovely mini from Bay Area comic maven Lark Pien. Her book featured effortless and pretty colors and textures, and a short and fantastical story-- a la a fanciful European children's book.

+ Michael Comeau's collage newspaper Parade of Humanity

Non-narrative, but taking advantage of the huge-ass newsprint format, I dug this dirty paper by Michael Comeau. It was only a few bucks from Koyama Press, and further cemented some weird ideas I had about the awesomeness of newsprint. Also, did I mention it's hella dirty?

Okay, that's the end of TCAF posts. I hope folks found some things they were digging in this post and take the time to get in touch with the artists. Here's to the next TCAF in 2011...


by Michael DeForge said...

SWEET STASH! my fav part of any convention is showing off what you got

i'm still kicking myself for not picking up remake at the adhouse booth! i somehow missed it, doyy. lamar is my hero.

i can't remember if we spoke about it when you were here, but you've seen those Finnish Kuti Kuti newsprint zines right? they're full color, all comics. i'm having a similar love affair with the newsprint format right now, although it can be a bit intimidating to have something like 1000 copies be the minimum print run.

Joseph Luster said...

Damn, I really want to check out some of those zines and minis. Beastlord especially looks right up my alley.

Nice haul!

Ryan S said...

@michael: Yeah dude, Remake is all that. It's deeply odd, I kept getting the impression the text had been written after the panels were drawn in this wtf surreal way. It's very purposeful though, I like it.

I don't think we talked about Kuti Kuti, but I am looking now and really into this. Weirdly enough, I had sent an email reminder to myself with the subject line (WHAT IS THIS SHIT!?) and this link:

seems like a similar crew? Anyway, this is awesome stuff. Regional comics + newsprint is where it's at... I'm trying to price newsprint around here but haven't found a shop yet. Jesjit was saying the print run for Neighborhood Sacrifice was 2000? That's insane... but if it's only like 12 cents a copy then... why not?

Ryan S said...

@Joseph: yeah I think you dig some of these--- beastlord especially! I bet you can snag one from Chris directly for pretty cheap... check his contact info at:

Joseph Luster said...

Thanks, Ryan, I'm gonna do just that!

jimpac said...

Woah, looks like you managed to grab some mighty fine zines... I'm jealous!
I especially like the look of the Wowie Zonk crew's style... nu-rave, eh?! Beastlord looks banging. It's a shame that it's pretty hard/expensive to get that sort of stuff here in Blighty, what with the downfall of our economy and excessive postage prices, etc.
I also think Remake looks really cool and those Ghanaian movie posters, WTF!?! Why don't all countries have movie posters like that? Seriously amazing!

Ryan S said...

@joseph: Sweet :)

@jimpac: Thanks dude... zines are chill because they are CHEAP :) Wowee Zonk is very light (newsprint FTW) so perhaps it wouldn't be insane to import... zine trades are the best/

I wonder if Lamar has or will put some of REMAKE online? You can check out some here:

Elchinodepelocrespo said...

Off topic: Last Maruo graphic novel to be released in spanish shortly:

Ryan S said...

@Elchinodepelocrespo: Thanks for the news dude! I didn't realize that Barcelona Salon was this week. I'd really love to check out a European comics fest someday.

Glenat sure turns books around quick-- they have a longstanding arrangement to publish Maruo books, so it seems like they got that titled licensed really quickly. Congrats to Spanish fans :)