TCAF 2013 was everything and even more than I had hoped it would turn out to be. It was the weekend of awkward bro-hugs (to quote Robin McConnel), budding friendships and deepening of the existing ones. Sure the event was supposed to be all about networking, book sales and self-promotion but to me it was all about spending time with friends and getting to know people whose work I love and admire – and hugging. Kudos to the festival organizers Peter Birkemoe and Christopher Butcher for making the event a smashing success.
Among the people I enjoyed hugging the most were: my publisher Andy Brown, Joe Ollmann, Dave Collier, Serena McCarroll, Jordan Bursach, Dave Lapp, Billy Mavreas, Chester Brown, Pat and Marek of Tin Can Forest, Annie Koyama and Fiona Smyth. It was really nice meeting people I have only had the pleasure of communicating with online, like Jason Turner, Bill Kartalopoulos and Tom Spurgeon, and a few I’ve never had that pleasure with, like Chris Pitzer of AdHouse Books, and Boulet, who were both total sweethearts.
On Saturday night my pal Conan Tobias of Taddle Creek and I headed over to the Yorkville Marriott Hotel for the 9th annual Doug Wright Awards ceremony. The event was hosted by the comedian Scott Thompson; his introductory speech was both funny and moving as he spoke about his experience of writing the graphic novel while battling cancer. He talked at length about how we all have stories that need to come out and about how sometimes we unwittingly tap into the subconscious part of ourselves while in the process of creating.
As some of you may already know from my previous posts, my book Heartless was nominated for The DWA in the Spotlight category, also known as The Nipper. The only thing that surprised me more than finding out that I was the winner was hearing Thompson pronounce my last name the right way. The award was presented to me by Seth and Mrs. Wright, and the appreciation speech by the very lovely Julie Delporte.
The award for the best book went to Michel Rabagliati for Song of Roland, and The Pigskin Peters – which acknowledges the best in experimental comics went to Dave Collier for Hamilton Illustrated. The renowned Quebec cartoonist Albert Chartier was inducted into The DWA Hall of Fame. As exciting as the whole event was, the highlight of the evening was receiving a nice compliment about my outfit from Seth’s lovely wife Tania Van Spyk.
The weekend ended with the TCAF wrap praty, held at Lee’s Palace, which I almost did not attend. I am glad I did, because I got to relax with my pals Dave Lapp, Jordan Bursach and Salgood Sam, and bust some awkward disco dance moves with Jason Turner.
Top photo by Anna Khachatryan; bottom photo by Dave Lapp (downloaded from TCAF 2013 Flickr photo-stream)