Toronto Comic Arts Festival is breaking out of the library this year

The world's best comic artists descend on the city from May 13 to 14. Sponsored feature: presented by TCAF 2017

TORONTO COMIC ARTS FESTIVAL 2017, a celebration of comics and graphic novels and their creators. Main Exhibition: Toronto Reference Library, May 13 – 14, 2017. Free to attend. More event info here.

This year’s Toronto Comic Arts Festival is its the biggest yet, and not just because of the incredible two-day exhibition at the Toronto Reference Library featuring over 400 cartoonists from more than 20 countries. 

The TCAF 2017 program is chock-full of readings, presentations, panel discussions, gallery shows and, yes, an astounding main exhibition that’s free to attend. There’s even an official TCAF beer launch! Don’t miss these highlights happening off-site.

[Check out the full TCAF 2017 program here and download the guidebook app.]

Thursday, May 11

The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen, The Pilot (22 Cumberland), 9 pm 

Hope Nicholson launches a new book that celebrates heroic female characters in comics, from Miss Fury to Little Lulu. 

Friday, May 12

TCAF Kick-Off, Toronto Reference Library Salon (789 Yonge), 6:30 pm

The launch of TCAF 2017 and Image Comics‘ 25th anniversary party, this event will showcase some of the star Image creators as they reminisce about the company.

BLACK DOG: The Dreams of Paul Nash, Masonic Temple (888 Yonge Street), 9 pm 

Dave McKean, the artist behind Sandman, Batman: Arkham Asylum and Coraline performs his new World War One-themed graphic novel on stage. Tickets are $10 via EventBrite.

Paolo Bacilieri: FUN, Istituto Italiano di Cultura (496 Huron), May 12 – June 14

This month-long exhibit features Bacilieri’s works, including 30 original illustrations from his latest graphic novel, FUN. 


Saturday, May 13

Image 25th: Charlie Adlard x Sean Phillips, Forest Hill Ballroom, Marriott Bloor-Yorkville (90 Bloor East), 11 am

The Walking Dead’s Charlie Adlard and Kill or Be Killed‘s Sean Phillips will discuss British comics and Phillips’s new role as the UK’s Comics Laureate.

LGBTQ Comics Abroad, Forest Hill Ballroom, Marriott Bloor-Yorkville (90 Bloor East), 4 pm

LGBTQ comic artists Gengoroh Tagame (My Brother’s Husband), Martina Schradi (Oh, I see?!), Molly Ostertag (Strong Female Protagonist), Tommi Parrish (Perfect Hair) and A.C. Esguerra (EIGHTY DAYS) discuss issues facing queer and trans artists and audiences worldwide. 

21st Century Webcomics, High Park Ballroom, Marriott Bloor-Yorkville (90 Bloor East), 2:45 pm

Comic artists discuss the art and industry of creating comics for the web. Panelists include Blue Delliquanti, Matt Lubchansky, Michael DeForge and Priya Huq. Moderated by Tom Spurgeon.

Film Screening: The Absence of Eddy Table, High Park Ballroom, Marriott Bloor-Yorkville (90 Bloor East), 5 pm

Filmmaker Dave Cooper will be on hand to answer audience questions after the screening.

Science of Superheroes, Summerhill Ballroom, Marriott Bloor-Yorkville (90 Bloor East), 11 am

This panel discussion will address how science has affected – and been affected by – characters like Sue Storm/The Invisible Woman, Spider-Man and Wonder Woman. 

Canadian Editorial Comics, Summerhill Ballroom, Marriott Bloor-Yorkville (90 Bloor East), 12:15 pm

Newspaper cartoonists Terry Mosher (Aislin), Michael deAdder (formerly of the Halifax Daily News), Postmedia’s Sue Dewar and the Hamilton Spectator’s Graeme MacKay discuss their craft and its prospects. Moderated by The Globe and Mail’s Brian Gable.

Sound and Vision: Music in Comics, The Pilot (22 Cumberland), 10 am

Panel discussion on how music affects experiences in comics, featuring artists Dave Chisholm, Nick Craine, Eric Kostiuk Williams, Sandrine Revel and Anya Davidson. Moderated by Phillipe Leblanc. 

Spotlight: Gary Panter x R. Sikoryak, The Pilot (22 Cumberland), 1:30 pm

Veteran New York-based cartoonists discuss their work with the influential RAW Magazine as well as the process of publishing graphic novel adaptations of prose texts.

TCAF_Image 25 Anniversary.jpg

Who Are Your Heroes: Comics and Representation, Masonic Temple (888 Yonge), 12:15 pm

Ivan Brandon, Marjorie Liu and Valentine De Landro discuss North American archetypes in comics.

Image 25th: Glitterbomb x Monstress, Masonic Temple (888 Yonge), 4 pm

The teams behind Monstress (Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda) and Glitterbomb (Jim Zub and Djibril Morrissette-Phan) discuss their processes for creating scary stories with believable characters.

REAL FRIENDS: Shannon Hale & LeUyen Pham, Kids Day at St. Paul’s (227 Bloor East), 10 am

Both main exhibition days of TCAF will feature plenty of kid-friendly programming. This event kicks things off with a chat about the emotional ups and downs of cliques and bullies to her never-ending struggle to stay in The Group. Come help launch Kids Day!


Bière Paul Beer, The Pilot (22 Cumberland), 7 pm 

Join the launch party for the first-ever official TCAF beer, the result of a collaboration with Brasserie Dunham. 

TCAF Queer Mixer, Glad Day Books (499 Church Street), 7pm

TCAF”s annual get-together for queer comics creators and fans moves to Glad Day and will feature preview footage from the upcoming documentary Queer Japan.

Sunday, May 14

Comics As Political Resistance, Forest Hill Ballroom, Marriott Bloor-Yorkville (90 Bloor East), 12 pm

Nate Powell (March), Ben Passmore (Your Black Friend), Julia Alekseyeva (Soviet Daughter) and Matt Lubchansky (The Nib) converse about comics as a critical tool in harsh political climates.

Spotlight: Jeff Lemire, Forest Hill Ballroom, Marriott Bloor-Yorkville (90 Bloor East), 4 pm

This Juno Award winner is the cartoonist behind Gord Downie’s Secret Path project, which reveals the story of Charlie Wenjack – a boy who fled from a residential school.


New Book Spotlight: The Monsters of Autobio, High Park Ballroom, Marriott Bloor-Yorkville (90 Bloor East), 1:30 pm

Debuting authors discuss the power of autobiography in comics. Featuring Gabrielle Bell, David Collier and Jason.

Critical Eye on Comics, Summerhill Ballroom, Marriott Bloor-Yorkville (90 Bloor East), 4 pm

A panel of comic critics – including David Brothers, Jon Erik Christianson, Stephanie Cooke and Carta Monir – discuss the role of criticism and how it affects the medium. Ardo Omer will moderate.

So Pretty/Very Rotten, Japan Foundation, Hudson’s Bay Centre (2 Bloor E, #300), 2 pm

Creators Jane Mai and An Nguyen present their collection of comics and essays that explore cute culture and Lolita fashion.


Looks Good Enough to Eat: Comics and Food, The Pilot (22 Cumberland), 12 pm

Illustrating food can teach us a lot about culinary techniques, history, family and more. Panelists include Robin Ha, Sarah Becan, Jade Feng Lee, Kat Verhoeven and Emily Forster. Moderator: Lauren Jordan.

Sweaty Pages: Comics and Erotics, The Pilot (22 Cumberland), 2:45 pm

This discussion examines how and why comics can turn us on, featuring panelists Colleen Coover, Dechanique, Kou Chen and François Vigneault. Moderated by Erica Friedman.

Image 25th: Cartooning On The Edges of RealityMasonic Temple (888 Yonge), 2:45 pm

Farel Dalyrmple, Wes Craig, Valentine De Landro and Ray Fawkes discuss drawing surreal or supernatural images that challenge the imagination.

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