Whazamo: Ontario Graphic Novel Month

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WHAZAMO! Ontario Graphic Novel Month is an online comics celebration brought to you by Open Book: Toronto every May. In its fifth year, Whazamo! showcases the talented graphic novelists and illustrators published by Ontario publishers and draws attention to the new stars of the Canadian graphic novel and comic book scene.

Whazamo! is presented in collaboration with the Ontario Book Publishers Organization and it welcomes you!

A Profile of N.W. Lea

Ottawa poet N.W. Lea (formerly known as Nicholas Lea) was born in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, and grew up, in part, on his grandparent’s farm in northern Stormont County, Ontario, mere miles away from the McLennan family homestead.

Special Feature: Chester Brown at the AGO

The Art Gallery of Ontario's permanent collection is a chockablock with masterpieces and breathtaking works in every medium you'd expect — and now some you might not. The gallery is looking forward as well as back, incorporating fresh additions like their current David Bowie-centric exhibit, and most recently, an exhibit dedicated to top Canadian graphic novelist and cartoonist Chester BrownChester Brown and Louis Riel.

A Day in the Life of Cartoonist Meaghan Carter

On Open Book's Whazamo! page, we celebrate graphic novels and comics published here in Ontario and throughout the country, and we like to draw attention to the new stars of the comic book and graphic novel scene.

The Dirty Dozen, with Alan Silberberg

Alan Silberberg is the author and illustrator of The Awesome, Almost 100% True Adventures of Matt & Craz (Simon & Schuster Canada). The book follows the adventures of best friends and comic artists Matt and Craz, who are starting to give up hope of ever getting their cartoons published in the school paper. But a new pen brings new hope — and all sorts of unexpected hijinks when they realise that everything they draw is coming to life!

Noticed! Canadian Dimension Highlights Political Graphic Novels and Comics

This past November, Canadian Dimension published an article by Sean Carleton, a founding member of the Graphic History Collective and an author of May Day: A Graphic History of Protest, about the radical graphic novels and comics that have come out of Canada in recent years. To check out his list of recommended reads, please click here.

Whazamo! A Day in the Life of George A. Walker

Every May, Open Book celebrates the outstanding graphic novels and comics published here in Ontario and throughout the country with Whazamo! Check out Open Book's Whazamo! page all month long to keep up to date.

For the Whazamo! Artist Series, award-winning wood engraver, book artist, teacher, author and illustrator George A. Walker answered the question "What does a day in the life of a cartoonist/illustrator look like?" with his print, "The Printer."

%@&*! - Panels of a Journalist at the Toronto Comics Arts Festival

Outside on Bloor: “Where do we go?” “I don’t know.” “Is it here or over there?” “Yes. Somewhere here. But I forget what room we have to go to, some ballroom.” “Just follow the herd of people heading in one direction who look like they read comics.” It’s Sunday, May 12 and kc, my travelling companion, and I stand just outside the Toronto Marriott on Bloor, in the way of everyone, desperately looking for an alternative entrance to the revolving doors, a weakness of ours.

Whazamo! Celebrate Graphic Literature Series with Michael DeForge

Did you make it to TCAF (The Toronto Comic Arts Fesitval) this year? If you did, you can keep the vibe going with Whazamo!, our month-long celebration of Graphic Literature at Open Book — and if you missed out, it's never too late to embrace your love of all things comic arts.

Michael DeForge is the creator of Very Casual (Koyama Press), which collects many of his short stories. The collection is filled with litter gangs, meat-filled snowmen, righteous cops, beagle/human hybrids and forest-bound drag queens and also features Michael's award-winning Spotting Deer comics.

Whazamo! A Day In the Life of Nick Johnson

Every May, Open Book celebrates the outstanding graphic novels and comics published here in Ontario and throughout the country with Whazamo! Check out Open Book's Whazamo! page all month long to keep up to date.

For the Whazamo! Artist Series, Calgary-based artist Nick Johnson illustrated his answer to our question, "What does a day in the life of a cartoonist/illustrator look like?"

Whazamo! Winners of the 2013 Doug Wright Awards Announced

The winners of the Doug Wright Awards for Canadian Comics were announced on May 11, 2013 at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. The Doug Wright Awards were founded in 2004 in honour of the late Canadian cartoonist Doug Wright. They recognize English-language comics published in the previous calendar year and the cartoonists and comic artists who create them. They are given out in three categories — Best Book, The Spotlight Award and the Pigskin Peters Award. The Pigskin Peters Award recognizes experimental and non-traditional works of Canadian cartoonists.

Whazamo! Celebrate Graphic Literature Series with Patrick Kyle

Whazamo!, our month-long celebration of Graphic Literature at Open Book, is halfway over but we've got lots more amazing comic art to share with you. Today we speak with Patrick Kyle who, along with Ginette Lapalme and Chris Kuzma, created Wowee Zonk 4 (Koyama Press).

Whazamo! Behind the Books, with Annie Koyama

When we think of the people behind the books we love, we generally think of writers. But many people work in a variety of professions to get those books onto your shelves. In our new series, Behind the Books, Open Book speaks with the printers, publicists, book sellers, book bloggers, event programmers and many others who work in the publishing industry.

Whazamo! Get Graphic: An Interview with Mark Thurman

Author and illustrator Mark Thurman knows the power of a strong image. He's written and illustrated 16 books and designed and illustrated more than 25 books for other authors. He's also spent over 30 years visiting schools to help students create their own picture books. In this interview, Mark speaks with Pembroke Publishers about visual literacy and how images can help students build their language skills.

Whazamo! Noticed: How Graphic Novels Became the Hottest Section in the Library

According to Publishers Weekly, the graphic novel genre has become one of the fastest-growing at libraries across North America over the past ten years. Many librarians are busily crusading for more graphic novels on shelves, a move that they believe will boost circulation and patronage.

Check out the article here.

Whazamo! Behind the Books, with Christopher Butcher and Andrew Townsend

When we think of the people behind the books we love, we generally think of writers. But many people work in a variety of professions to get those books onto your shelves. In our new series, Behind the Books, Open Book speaks with the printers, publicists, book sellers, book bloggers, event programmers and many others who work in the publishing industry.

Whazamo! Artist Daniel Lafrance's Inspiration

Every May, Open Book celebrates the outstanding graphic novels and comics published here in Ontario and throughout the country with Whazamo! Check out Open Book's Whazamo! page all month long to keep up to date.

Whazamo! May 4 is Free Comic Book Day

Free Comic Book Day is celebrated each year on the first Saturday in May. Around the world, many comic book shops give away FREE comics to anyone who comes in. To find a participating store near you, check out this store locator.

Whazamo! Celebrate Graphic Literature Series with Aaron Costain

May is Graphic Literature Month at Open Book, also known as Whazamo! We're talking about (and looking at) everything graphic, comic, cartoon — if you can put it in a cell on a page, we want to check it out. And don't forget to add TCAF (the Toronto Comic Arts Festival) to your calendars on May 11, 2013.

Whazamo! May Day: A Graphic History Now Available As An Ebook

It's May 1st, which means it's the first day of Whazamo!, Open Book's month-long celebration of graphic novels. It's also International Workers Day, and Between The Lines has announced a new enhanced ebook version of the impressive graphic novel May Day: A Graphic History of Protest by the Graphic History Collective. May Day looks at the development of May 1st as International Workers’ Day, with an emphasis on the history of the Canadian labour movement. From now until May 30th, when you order a copy of the graphic novel direct from Between The LInes, you'll get a copy of the ebook for free.

Toronto Comic Arts Festival 2013

When

Saturday, May 11, 2013 - 9:00am

Where

Toronto Reference Library
789 Yonge St.
Toronto, ON
M4W 2G8

Details

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival is celebrating its tenth anniversary this May with its largest group of comic authors and artists to date.

Presented in partnership with the Toronto Public Library, this celebration of comics, graphic novels and the people who create them includes readings, interviews, panels, workshops, gallery shows, art installations and more.

Featured guests will include Art Spiegelman, Francoise Mouly, Taiyo Matsumoto, Raina Telgemeier, Blutch, Gengoroh Tagame, Dash Shaw and Maurice Vellekoop. They will be joined by more than 300 other Canadian and international cartoonists.

The festival is free to attend.

Location

Toronto Reference Library
789 Yonge St.
Toronto, ON M4W 2G8 43° 40' 19.0884" N, 79° 23' 14.4672" W

Noticed! Ontario’s Batman Illustrator Draws His Dream Come True

Ontario’s talented Jason Fabok, a tradigital animation graduate from St.Clair College, has sketched the cover and inside content for DC Comics’ annual Batman edition with the power of his dreams. Jason tells CBC how his dream of drawing superheros has come true. In DC Comics' Issue 13, Jason will be the lead artist on the original 1938 comics, coming this October!

Whazamo! The TCAF Artist Series, with Paul Gilligan

Every May, Open Book celebrates the outstanding graphic novels and comics published here in Ontario and throughout the country with Whazamo! Check out Open Book's Whazamo! page all month long for interviews, news and original comics.

Whazamo! The TCAF Artist Series, with Michel Rabagliati

Every May, Open Book celebrates the outstanding graphic novels and comics published here in Ontario and throughout the country with Whazamo! Check out Open Book's Whazamo! page all month long for interviews, news and original comics.

Noticed: Toronto Gets the Artistic Treatment

Two Toronto artists get up close and personal with the city of Toronto in their new books.

Patrick Cummins’ book Full Frontal T.O. (Coach House Books) is a collection of more than 400 street photos taken over a period of 30 years. His collection, with accompanying text by Shawn Micallef, shows how Toronto’s streetscapes have changed over the last three decades.

Similarly, illustrator Michael Cho’s Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes (Drawn & Quarterly) strays from the typical Toronto images, like the CN Tower, focusing instead on the underappreciated, yet beautiful, parts of the city’s landscape.

At the Desk: Bill Slavin

For each book that sits on our shelves or rests in our hands, a writer (and often an illustrator) has spent countless hours researching, organizing, writing and rewriting. In Open Book’s At The Desk series, creators tell us about their creative processes and the workspaces that inspire them.

Author and illustrator Bill Slavin has worked on more than 50 (you read that right!) books for young readers. His newest project is Big City Otto (Kids Can Press), which follows the adventures of Otto the elephant while he searches for his childhood friend, Georgia the chimpanzee.

Whazamo! The TCAF Artist Series, with Mary Huang

Every May, Open Book celebrates the outstanding graphic novels and comics published here in Ontario and throughout the country with Whazamo! Check out Open Book's Whazamo! page all month long for interviews, news and original comics.

This spring, we teamed up with the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) to ask Canadian comic creators about their work. The artists, who were at TCAF earlier this month, each submitted an image that answered one of our three questions: Why should everyone read comics? Who is your audience? What inspired you to start making comics?

With her vibrant and beautifully detailed comic, Maiji/Mary Huang explains how her upbringing and her love of magic and drama inspired her to draw comics.

Willow Dawson, Graphic Novelist with the Most-est, Chats with Susan Hughes

All this month, Open Book celebrates the amazing graphic novels and comics published in Ontario. I’d like to add to the hoop-la by introducing you to one very special kid lit graphic novelist, WILLOW DAWSON. The Toronto-based creator of books such as HYENA IN PETTICOATS (Puffin Books Canada) and LILA AND ECCO’S DIY COMICS CLUB (Kids Can), and the illustrator of NO GIRLS ALLOWED with Susan Hughes (Kids Can), Willow has been writing for 20 years and drawing for as long as she can remember. Willow is recently home from touring Prince Edward Island for TD Canadian Children's Book Week.

Whazamo! The TCAF Artist Series, with Shannon Gerard

Every May, Open Book celebrates the outstanding graphic novels and comics published here in Ontario and throughout the country with Whazamo! Check out Open Book's Whazamo! page all month long for interviews, news and original comics.

This spring, we teamed up with the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) to ask Canadian comic creators about their work. The artists, who were at TCAF earlier this month, each submitted an image that answered one of our three questions: Why should everyone read comics? Who is your audience? What inspired you to start making comics?

With her comic, Shannon Gerard looks at the inspiration behind her work and the possibilities that arise when illustration and words are beautifully combined.

Engage with The Next Day on NFB and TVO

Pop Sandbox, the team behind the groundbreaking graphic novel, The Next Day, in which four people tell the story of their suicide attempts, also produced an immensely moving interactive documentary, The Next Day. The documentary features drawings by John Porcellino (who also illustrated the book) and the interviews with the four people who narrate the book. The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and TVO have made the documentary part of Mental Health Matters, TVO’s extensive programming in support of Mental Health Week (May 7-13, 2012).

Whazamo! The TCAF Artist Series, with Dave Lapp

Every May, Open Book celebrates the outstanding graphic novels and comics published here in Ontario and throughout the country with Whazamo! Check out Open Book's Whazamo! page all month long for interviews, news and original comics.

This spring, we teamed up with the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) to ask Canadian comic creators about their work. The artists, who were at TCAF earlier this month, each submitted an image that answered one of our three questions: Why should everyone read comics? Who is your audience? What inspired you to start making comics? With his striking comic, Dave Lapp let's us in on the inspiration behind his work.

The Dirty Dozen, with The Graphic History Collective

The Graphic History Collective is made up of Robin Folvik, Sean Carleton, Mark Leier, Sam Bradd and Trevor Mckilligan. Together they created May Day: A Graphic History of Protest (Between the Lines), which follows the evolution of International Workers' Day in Canada.

You can check out our post on May Day to see artwork from the book.

Whazamo! The TCAF Artist Series, with Cecil Castellucci

Every May, Open Book celebrates the outstanding graphic novels and comics published here in Ontario and throughout the country with Whazamo! Check out Open Book's Whazamo! page all month long for interviews, news and original comics.

This spring, we teamed up with the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) to ask Canadian comic creators about their work. The artists, who were at TCAF earlier this month, each submitted an image that answered one of our three questions: Why should everyone read comics? Who is your audience? What inspired you to start making comics?

Writer Cecil Castellucci put ink to paper and drew a vibrant, lovely and compelling response to the question, "Why should everyone read comics?"

Blog Alert! Just a Lil’ Lost Visits TCAF

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF), a massive vendor and exhibition fair, took place over the past weekend at the Toronto Reference Library. Michele, of the blog Just A Lil’ Lost, attended the festivities and had the opportunity to meet some of her favourite graphic artists, including Scott Pilgrim author Bryan Lee O’Malley. She also took some amazing photographs of the event. You can view her pictures and read all about her TCAF experience here.

Video of the Week: How to Draw Neil Flambé

Kevin Sylvester is both the writer and illustrator for the Neil Flambé series (Simon & Schuster Canada). In this video, he shares the secret of how to draw the teenage chef.

You can also check out Kevin's At the Desk interview to see more about his process and workspace.

Stay tuned to Open Book: Toronto throughout the month of May for Whazamo!, a celebration of all things graphic literature and comic-related.

At the Desk: Kevin Sylvester

For each book that sits on our shelves or rests in our hands, a writer has spent countless hours researching, organizing, writing and rewriting. In Open Book’s At The Desk series, writers tell us about their creative processes and the workspaces that inspire them.

Author and illustrator Kevin Sylvester is the creator behind the popular Neil Flambé series for young readers. The brand new instalment featuring the adventures of the young chef is Neil Flambé and the Crusader's Curse (Simon & Schuster Canada).

You can enter to win the first three books in the series, including Neil Flambé and the Crusader's Curse, by sending your name and address to contests@openbooktoronto.com by noon on Friday, May 11, 2012, with the subject line "Neil Flambé" and the answer to the following question: What is the title of the first Neil Flambé book?

Read on to hear how Kevin's work space impacts his process, and the many personal connections behind his work surfaces, art pieces and books.

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Whazamo! The TCAF Artist Series, with Troy Little

Open Book is celebrating the outstanding graphic novels and comics published here in Ontario and throughout the country with Whazamo! Check out Open Book's Whazamo! page all month long for interviews, news and original comics.

This spring, we teamed up with the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) to ask Canadian comic creators about their work. The artists — who you can find at TCAF May 5th and May 6th — each submitted an image that answered one of our three questions: Why should everyone read comics? Who is your audience? What inspired you to start making comics?

Troy Little responds to the question "Why should everyone read comics?" with a question, "What is best in life?" Comics, of course.

Noticed: The National Post Questions TCAF Exhibitors

As a lead up to the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF), The National Post has done a series of questionnaires with exhibitors who are new to festival. Check out the series here, and find out Farley Katz’s weirdest experience with a fellow cartoonist, who Jen Breach would want to illustrate the story of her life and much more!

TCAF runs May 5–6. For details about the festival, visit www.torontocomics.com.

Scott Robins Chats about Comics with Susan Hughes

I'll never forget reading Chester Brown's graphic novel LOUIS RIEL: A COMIC-STRIP BIOGRAPHY shortly after it was published in 2003. The words and images combined to bring alive the dramatic real-life story of Louis Riel. Since then, I've been convinced that graphic novels provide a unique form of storytelling.

The Toronto Comics Art Festival is being held this Saturday, May 5, and Sunday, May 6, at the Toronto Reference Library. To highlight this event, I thought I'd speak with a guy who is totally in the know when it comes to comics and graphic novels.

Whazamo! The TCAF Artist Series, with Isabelle Melançon

Open Book is celebrating the outstanding graphic novels and comics published here in Ontario and throughout the country with Whazamo! Check out Open Book's Whazamo! page all month long to keep up to date.

This spring, we teamed up with the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) to ask Canadian comic creators about their work. The artists — who you can find at TCAF May 5th and May 6th — each submitted an image that answered one of our three questions: Why should everyone read comics? Who is your audience? What inspired you to start making comics? Check back throughout May for new comics in the series.

Isabelle Melançon’s response to the question, “What inspired you to start making comics?” leaves us swooning over the power of comics and the talent of the artist.

New Poll - Which Canadian Icon's Life Would Make the Best Graphic Novel?

This month is Whazamo! here at Open Book — a celebration of all things graphic literature and comic book-based.

To celebrate, answer our latest poll and let us know which Canadian icon's life would make the best graphic novel?

Don't see the icon you want to see get the artistic treatment? Let us know in the comments!

Reminder: TCAF Is This Weekend!

This weekend the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) is taking over the Toronto Reference Library with a massive two-day exhibition and vendor fair! This year’s festival is bigger and better than ever with art shows, readings, panels, workshops and much more. Come learn about and celebrate comics and graphic novels and meet the talented creators behind them.

On Friday, May 4th, TCAF is hosting a special Librarian and Educator Day.

Whazamo! Noticed: The Graphic History Collective’s May Day

Whazamo! Celebrate Graphic Novel Month with OBT

It's May, which means that it's time to celebrate Ontario Graphic Novel Month with Whazamo! on Open Book. Our Whazamo! page showcases the talented graphic novelists and illustrators published by Ontario publishers, and it draws attention to the new stars of the Canadian graphic novel and comic book scene.

In its fourth year, Whazamo! features profiles of comic creators as well as graphic novel news. We've also joined forces with the Toronto Comic Arts Festival to bring you a series of original literary comics by some of Canada's finest cartoonists. Visit Whazamo! daily throughout May for new comics, comic news and more.

TCAF Librarian and Educator Day

Comic books and graphic novels are developing more and more of a presence in school and public libraries across Canada. To help librarians and educators with the challenges and opportunities this popular category presents, on May 4th the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) is teaming up with The Beguiling Library Services to host Librarian and Educator Day. This event is “a full day of programming dedicated to explaining, expanding, and building graphic novel knowledge.”

An Inside Look at TCAF 2012

If you are a comic arts creator or aficionado, you likely already have the first weekend in May circled on your calendar. But if you have no idea why that first weekend is so exciting, grab the nearest pen and write TCAF under May 5th and 6th! Here’s why: The Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF), a festival celebrating comics, graphic novels and their creators, is once again filling the Toronto Reference Library with a massive exhibitor and vendor fair.

The Proust Questionnaire, with George A. Walker

Master engraver George A. Walker's most recent book, The Mysterious Death of Tom Thomson (The Porcupine's Quill), explores in 109 woodcuts the circumstances surrounding the mysterious death of the famous Canadian artist in Algonquin Park in 1917.

In his answers to the Proust Questionnaire, George tells Open Book about his greatest extravagance, a mangy Mexican parrot and the beauty of cherry blossoms.

The Proust Questionnaire was not invented by Marcel Proust, but it was a much loved game by the French author and many of his contemporaries. The idea behind the questionnaire is that the answers are supposed to reveal the respondent's "true" nature.

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Q&A with Ray Fawkes

Ray Fawkes is the author of prose fiction, several graphic novels and games. His latest work, One Soul, which he has both written and illustrated, launches this Wednesday at the Lillian H. Smith library branch.

Fawkes speaks to Open Book about how he got started, finding an audience and some of his influences along the way.

Open Book:

Tell us about your new book, One Soul.

The 2011 Joe Shuster Awards

The winners of the Joe Shuster Awards were recently announced at a ceremony at the Calgary Comic & Entertainment Expo. In their sixth year, the awards honour Canadian comic creators as well as the publishers and retailers of comics. The awards are named after the Canadian co-creator of Superman, Joe Shuster.

From our friends at the Joe Shuster Awards, the 2011 winners:

Outstanding Comic Book Artist / Dessinateur Exceptionnel de Bandes Dessinées
FRANCIS MANAPUL — Adventure Comics #6, The Flash #1-6, Superman/Batman #75 (DC Comics)

WHAZAMO! COMICS: TORY WOOLLCOTT

Today's Whazamo comic comes from Tory Woollcott, a Toronto-based cartoonist who made her debut with the graphic memoir Mirror Mind: Growing up Dyslexic. Besides being well told, what made Mirror Mind stand out is that it is one of the first stories in any medium that really got across what dyslexia actually is, and how it affects those who struggle with it.

Whazamo! Profiles: Maryanna Hardy

Open Book is celebrating the outstanding graphic novels and comics published here in Ontario and throughout the country with Whazamo! profiles, contests, videos and a series of original literary comics curated by Vepo Studios. Check out Open Book's Whazamo! page all month long to keep up to date.

In today's Whazamo! profile, artist, illustrator and screen printer Maryanna Hardy talks about the everyday conversations that inspire her and the artists whose works excite her. Her book of illustrations, So I've Been Told, recently published with Conundrum Press, was nominated for a Doug Wright Best Book award and a Montreal Expozine award for English Best Book.

THE NEXT DAY Interview Series: Part 4, with John Porcellino (Illustrator)

This concludes an ongoing series of weekly interviews with the creative team behind the newly released graphic novella and forthcoming interactive animated documentary, The Next Day.

Whazamo! Profiles: Rebecca Kraatz

Open Book is celebrating the outstanding graphic novels and comics published here in Ontario and throughout the country with Whazamo! profiles, contests, videos and a series of original literary comics curated by Vepo Studios. Check out Open Book's Whazamo! page all month long to keep up to date.

In today's Whazamo! profile, artist and cartoonist Rebecca Kraatz describes the vintage décor of her workspace, her creative sparks and her new graphic novel, Snaps, a multi-layered magic realist narrative that unfolds through diverse snapshots and pulp dialogue. Snaps was just published by Conundrum Press.

WHAZAMO! COMICS: DAVID COLLIER

Looking for David Collier at TCAF this year, I found him in a lecture room, drawing cartoons on a wipeboard. Not as part of session--but because “someone needed to fill up that empty space.” The same passion has driven Collier to fill notebooks and eventually the pages of comics and graphic novels since the mid-eighties, in autobiographical essays and other true-life tales.

Whazamo! Profiles: Megan Speers

Open Book is celebrating the outstanding graphic novels and comics published here in Ontario and throughout the country with Whazamo! profiles, contests, videos and a series of original literary comics curated by Vepo Studios. Check out Open Book's Whazamo! page all month long to keep up to date.

In today's Whazamo! profile, artist and zine-maker Megan Speers talks to Open Book about her latest projects, her workspace and the coffee that fuels the engines. She is a frequent participant at book– and zine-fairs, and her wordless novel Wanderlust is published by The Porcupine's Quill.

Contest! Enter to win Wanderlust and three other fantastic graphic novels from The Porcupine's Quill and Open Book. Click here for details.

WHAZAMO! Graphic Versus Novels

It's been an amazing month of literary comics here at Whazamo with each cartoonist bringing their own unique approach to the challenge of adapting or representing their chosen book. Of course we're not the first to mix mediums, there are many excellent examples of cartoonists who have been moved to turn prose into comics.

Whazamo! Profiles: Anthony Del Col & Conor McCreery

Open Book is celebrating the outstanding graphic novels and comics published here in Ontario and throughout the country with Whazamo! profiles, contests, videos and a series of original literary comics curated by Vepo Studios. Check out Open Book's Whazamo! page all month long to keep up to date.

In today's Whazamo! profile Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery, writers and creators of the wildly successful Kill Shakespeare comic series, get the Bard down to five words each and describe their creative process. Issue 11 of Kill Shakespeare — complete with a final showdown with William himself — is released today! Visit the website for more details.

Whazamo! Profiles: Chris Kuzma

Open Book is celebrating the outstanding graphic novels and comics published here in Ontario and throughout the country with Whazamo! profiles, contests, videos and a series of original literary comics curated by Vepo Studios. Check out Open Book's Whazamo! page all month long to keep up to date.

In today's Whazamo! profile, Toronto artist Chris Kuzma talks about the collective Wowee Zonk, his creative process and why rebranding "comics" as "graphic novels" has given the genre a leg up. Chris Kuzma's new comic book, Complex, and Wowee Zonk's Pobody's Nurfect (Koyama Press) are now available.

WHAZAMO! COMICS: HYEIN LEE

Hyein Lee is an artist to watch. I met her on the indie-press circuit, a quiet kooky girl in ladybug shoes, selling prints of pastel monsters, bunnies and penguins, along with hand-made mini comics. But it was really a short-story that was published in Broken Pencil that caught my attention.

Von Allan on the Life of a Graphic Artist

In this Ottawa Living interview, artist and graphic novelist Von Allan talks about the dedication and enthusiasm required to sustain a career as a comic artist. Like many artists these days, Von Allan acts as his own publicist — to reach the greatest audience, he needs to market his work as well as create it.

Von Allan's most recent graphic novel, Stargazer, follows the adventures of Marni, a young girl who finds herself transported to another world by an "Artifact" that once belonged to her recently deceased grandmother.

To find out more about Von Allan's work please visit the Von Allan Studio website.

Whazamo! Profiles: Diego Bergia

Open Book is celebrating the outstanding graphic novels and comics published here in Ontario and throughout the country with Whazamo! profiles, contests, videos and a series of original literary comics curated by Vepo Studios. Check out Open Book's Whazamo! page all month long to keep up to date.

Diego Bergia is the street artist and animator behind Lepos, the lively and lovable character who has invaded Toronto, New York, Los Angeles, Prague, Stockholm, Berlin and Vancouver. You can follow the adventures of Lepos — including his quest to become an arcade game — in The Lepos Bible, published by Koyama Press.

Diego Bergia responded to Open Book's Whazamo! questionnaire with these signature illustrations. Find out how he envisions The Lepos Bible, how his ideas turn to images turn to words, how he gets his creative juices flowing and what his work space looks like. He also reveals his preferred medium, his thoughts about the popularity of graphic novels and his favourite member of the comic arts family. Visit his websites The Primary Invasion and Where Is Lepos for more of his work. (Click on each illustration to get a better look. The images can be further enlarged by clicking on the icon with four arrows that will appear.)

Whazamo! Profiles: Tin Can Forest

Open Book is celebrating the outstanding graphic novels and comics published here in Ontario and throughout the country with Whazamo! profiles, contests, videos and a series of original literary comics curated by Vepo Studios. Check out Open Book's Whazamo! page all month long to keep up to date.

In today's Whazamo! profile, artists and film-makers Marek Colek and Pat Shewchuk of Tin Can Forest tell us about their new book, Baba Yaga and the Wolf (Koyama Press), and the wormwood, chamomile, pine cones and vodka that infused its creation.

WHAZAMO! COMICS: MARIAN CHURCHLAND

You don't get a lot of comics about poetry, but that's just the kind of artist Marian Churchland is. Her first graphic novel Beast followed a sculptress struggling with the creative process, as she tries to complete the portrait of her shawdowy, and most probably, magical patron.

Whazamo! The Art of Story

Graphics vs Novels! As part of Whazamo! Ontario Graphic Novel Month, we asked cartoonists to share a story of one book that has inspired them as artists, as storytellers, as people. Opening a window, a panel if you will, into the mysterious process of inspiration. The following conversation with 4 of the artists explores the differences between the mediums of books and comics—and shows how when you combine art and storytelling, anything can happen.

Featuring:
Kalman Andrasofszky
Charlene Chua
Agnes Garbowska
John Lang

Produced by Ian Daffern (www.iandaffern.ca)
For Open Book Toronto (www.openbooktoronto.com)
Edited by Jeun Lee
Photography by Hernan Morris

Whazamo! Profiles: Philippe Girard

Open Book is celebrating the outstanding graphic novels and comics published here in Ontario and throughout the country with Whazamo! profiles, contests, videos and a series of original literary comics curated by Vepo Studios. Check out Open Book's Whazamo! page all month long to keep up to date.

In today's Whazamo! profile, cartoonist Philippe Girard tells us about his need for an organized work space, his experimentation with different types of paper and his new book, Killing Velazquez, recently published with Conundrum Press. Click on the illustration below for a better look at a sample of Girard's work. (The image can be further enlarged by clicking on the icon with four arrows that will appear.)

THE NEXT DAY Interview Series: Part 3, with Jason Gilmore (Co-Writer and Interactive Director)

This continues an ongoing series of weekly interviews with the creative team behind the newly released graphic novella and forthcoming interactive animated documentary, The Next Day.

WHAZAMO! COMICS: JOHN LANG

Cartoonist John Lang is equally at home with editorial assignments as rampaging monsters.

Whazamo! Profiles: Fiona Smyth

Open Book is celebrating the outstanding graphic novels and comics published here in Ontario and throughout the country with Whazamo! profiles, contests, videos and a series of original literary comics curated by Vepo Studios. Check out Open Book's Whazamo! page all month long to keep up to date.

Fiona Smyth's gripping graphic novel, The Never Weres (Annick Press), follows Mia, Xian and Jesse, three teens living at the end of the next century, as they struggle to live their lives with hope despite a mysterious virus that has prevented any new births for almost a generation.

Fiona Smyth responded to Open Book's Whazamo! questionnaire with these brilliant illustrations. Find out how she describes The Never Weres, how she moves from words to images, how she gets her creative juices flowing and what her work space looks like. You'll also discover her preferred medium, her feelings about the popularity of graphic novels and her favourite novelist. Visit her website to find more of her work. Click on each illustration to get a better look. (The images can be further enlarged by clicking on the icon with four arrows that will appear.)

WHAZAMO! COMICS: KALMAN ANDRASOFSZKY

Kalman is a comic book illustrator, and a concept designer for video games, television, those looking for imaginative fantasy or science fiction creations. He has a particular knack for the details that make a genre hero memorable.

Whazamo! Profiles: Aaron Leighton

Open Book is celebrating the outstanding graphic novels and comics published here in Ontario and throughout the country with Whazamo! profiles, contests, videos and a series of original literary comics curated by Vepo Studios. Check out Open Book's Whazamo! page all month long to keep up to date.

In today's Whazamo! profile, illustrator Aaron Leighton describes his debut book, Spirit City Toronto (Koyama Press), and tells Open Book about the creative spark released by city bike rides, metaphysics and death metal.

Whazamo! Profile: George A. Walker

Open Book is celebrating the outstanding graphic novels and comics published here in Ontario and throughout the country with Whazamo! profiles, contests, videos and a series of original literary comics curated by Vepo Studios. Check out Open Book's Whazamo! page all month long to keep up to date.

In today's Whazamo! profile, wood engraver and book artist George A. Walker describes his recent publications, his book-making process and the important link between images, imagination and creativity. His most recent trade publications, Book of Hours and a new edition of Alice's Adventure's in Wonderland, are published by The Porcupine's Quill.

Contest! Enter to win George Walker's Book of Hours and three other fantastic graphic novels from The Porcupine's Quill and Open Book. Click here for details.

WHAZAMO! COMICS: AGNES GARBOWSKA

Storytelling is powerful. When I asked this week's illustrators to choose a book that inspired them, both went for a favourite from childhood. When else are you more easily pulled into the world between two covers? In Agnes Garbowska's case, a lot of that time was spent under the covers, terrifying herself with the stories of R.L. Stine's classic Goosebumps series.

Whazamo! Photos from TCAF

On May 7th and 8th, the Toronto Reference Library was packed with thousands of people attending the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF), eager to discover new comics, stock up on favourites and meet the Canadian and international artists and writers behind the comics. Toronto photographer Anna Ross was there to cover the event for Open Book.

Please click on a thumbnail to start the image gallery.

We hope people are happy to see pictures of themselves on Open Book’s image gallery, but if you’d like your photo removed please contact us at info@openbooktoronto.com and we’ll remove it as soon as possible.

THE NEXT DAY Interview Series: Part 2, with Paul Peterson (Co-Writer)

This continues an ongoing series of weekly interviews with the creative team behind the newly released graphic novella and forthcoming interactive animated documentary, The Next Day. Last week we spoke with Producer and Publisher, Alex Jansen, and this week we've interviewed the book's Co-Writer, Paul Peterson.

Whazamo! Profile: Jo Rioux

What inspires graphic artists? How do those great ideas make it from thought to page, and what tools does the artist use to get them there? Open Book: Toronto asked illustrator Jo Rioux to illustrate her creative process for us, and she provided us with this diagram of her workspace…complete with her trusty assistant, Dog. Click on the illustration for a better look. (The images can be further enlarged by clicking on the icon with four arrows that will appear.)

Jo Rioux's most recent book is the page-turning children's mystery Witches' Brew (part of the Sam & Friends series), written by Mary Labatt and published by Kids Can Press.

Robot of Leisure: Boris and the Open House, by Katharine Miller

Poor Boris. He's a state-of-the-art robot who failed to do his market research. Instead of changing the lives of the inhabitants of Zükünfthaus, he finds he's unemployable — in fact, obsolete! With no useful purpose, he becomes…Boris, Robot of Leisure.

Boris, Robot of Leisure is the creation of Katharine Miller. Her six-part graphic novel series follows Boris as he adjusts to his newfound freedom and tries to find the meaning in his robot life. The first two books, Boris and the Open House and Boris Makes a Friend, are now available, and the third installment, Boris Gets a Visitor will soon be released.

For more information please visit the Boris, Robot of Leisure website.

Opening Up About Suicide: Pop Sandbox launches The Next Day at the NFB Mediatheque

By Stacey Madden

It was raining and my umbrella was broken. I’d had an argument with my partner the night before and I was feeling grey inside and very alone. I was trudging my way to the National Film Board of Canada Mediatheque, trying to avoid being splashed with gutter water by passing cars, to attend the launch of Pop Sandbox’s new graphic novella, The Next Day.

Ten Questions, with Craig Battle & Liam O'Donnell

If you were a fan of the Encyclopedia Brown books growing up, you and your kids will love the Max Finder Mystery series published by OWLkids. Craig Battle, editor of OWL Magazine and author of the newest Max Finder Mystery Collected Casebook, and series creator Liam O'Donnell talk to Open Book about the inspiration for the series, why it's so popular with young readers and what we can expect from Max and his friend Alison in the future.

Craig Battle will be signing books at the OWLkids table at TCAF on Sunday, May 8th at 2:00pm. You'll also have a chance to meet Max Finder illustrator Ramón Pérez, who will join Craig for the signing. All books in the Max Finder Mystery series will be available for purchase at the table.

Contest! Win $100 Gift Certificate for The Beguiling

In celebration of Whazamo! Open Book: Toronto is giving away a $100 gift certificate for The Beguiling, where you'll find Toronto's best selection of comics and graphic novels.

To enter, visit our Whazamo! page and post a comment on any one of the fantastic articles, comics and profiles you'll find there. Then send an email with the subject heading "Beguiling" to contests@openbooktoronto.com. Contest closes May 31.

Find out more about The Beguiling and meet the store's owner, Peter Birkemoe, in the latest episode of Bookends.

WHAZAMO! COMICS: CHARLENE CHUA

One of the best things about doing indie-comics is the different artists that you get to meet along the way. Charlene Chua was exhibiting the same year as me once at the Speakeasy Comic Book Show at the Gladstone hotel, a combination of art show and mixer. And mostly what caught my eye were her women.

Whazamo! Profiles: Marta Chudolinska

What inspires graphic artists? How do those great ideas make it from thought to page, and what tools does the artist use to get them there? Open Book: Toronto asked printmaker and painter Marta Chudolinska to illustrate her creative process for us, and she provided us with the fabulous images "Creative Flow" and "The Best Things." Click on the illustrations for a better look. (The images can be further enlarged by clicking on the icon with four arrows that will appear.)

If you want to meet Marta in person and check out more of her work, stop by the Toronto Comic Arts Festival this weekend.

Queen of the Sweat Hogs: Into the Seminal World of Macabre, Booger-Nosed, Mini Comic Mistress Herself (and Hell's Personal Sketch Artist), Miss Vicki Nerino

by Nathaniel G. Moore

"You can totally tell me to do this over. I'm just an a**hole who just likes to make stupid jokes is all." — Vicki Nerino

Bookends Episode 5: Literary Comics

Comics are in the air! The most recent episode of Open Book's favourite new video series, Bookends, created by Justine Lewkowicz and Stephanie Morano, looks at literary comics just in time for the kick-off of Whazamo!

For this episode, Justine stopped by The Beguiling to talk to Anthony Del Col about the wildly successful comic series he created along with Conor McCreery, Kill Shakespeare, which adds creative spin and compelling graphics to recapture the attention of Bill Shakespeare's fans and foes. Then she spoke with Beguiling owner Peter Birkemoe, who has recommendations for other great literary comics.

Whazamo! Profiles: Stefan Berg

Open Book is celebrating the outstanding graphic novels and comics published here in Ontario and throughout the country with Whazamo! profiles, contests, videos and a series of original literary comics curated by Vepo Studios. Check out Open Book's Whazamo! page all month long to keep up to date.

In today's Whazamo! profile, painter and printmaker Stefan Berg reveals the magic that happens in a cavernous room above an auto-body shop on a desolate industrial street in Toronto's east side. His book Let That Bad Air Out: Buddy Bolden's Last Parade is published by The Porcupine's Quill.

Contest! Enter to win Let That Bad Air Out and three other fantastic graphic novels from The Porcupine's Quill and Open Book. Click here for details.

Contest! Win Four Amazing Graphic Novels from The Porcupine's Quill

Enter to win four outstanding graphic novels from The Porcupine's Quill, one of Ontario's finest literary presses and a champion of the graphic arts:

  • Let That Bad Air Out: Buddy Bolden's Last Parade, by Stefan Berg
  • Back + Forth, by Marta Chudolinska
  • Wanderlust, by Megan Speers
  • Book of Hours, by George A. Walker

To enter, send an email with the subject heading "Porcupine" to contests@openbooktoronto.com, and tell us the name of the village in which The Porcupine's Quill is located. Contest closes on May 31st.

THE NEXT DAY Interview Series: Part 1, with Alex Jansen (Producer/Publisher)

Tonight at 7:00, The Next Day graphic novella launches along with a free ongoing exhibition of original artwork and preview of the forthcoming interactive experience at the NFB Mediatheque in Toronto (the free exhibition will be open to public through the entire month). This interview with Producer and Publisher Alex Jansen kicks off a series of four weekly Open Book interviews with the creative team behind the book, including indie-comics pioneer and The Next Day illustrator John Porcellino.

Whazamo! Comics: Michael Cho

I met Michael Cho at one of the first TCAFs, where I picked up a tiny mini comic called Night Time. It made an impression; not just the art, but a first person voice that captured the thrill and freedom of being a teenager (it's kind of like Arcade Fire's 'The Suburbs' before 'The Suburbs').

Graphic vs Novels! Comics vs Books!

It's amazing to be back for a 3rd year of Whazamo! here at Open Book: Toronto. The past year has seen comics crack end-of-year top-ten charts; become bestsellers, and appear on CBC Canada reads. Ontario publishers even started offering courses to help editors keep up with the whole books-with-pictures phenomenon!

And the Toronto Comic Arts Festival just keeps getting bigger, with international guests and a fantastic list of new books being launched this weekend. All of this has given us the chance to showcase Ontario's finest cartoonists and comics creators, through interviews, profiles and web-documentaries. But this time we're doing something different...

WHAZAMO! It's Ontario Graphic Novel Month on Open Book

It's May, and that means it's time to celebrate the many amazing graphic novels and comics that are published here in Ontario. Check out Open Book's Whazamo! page all month long for contests, profiles of comic creators, graphic novel news and a series of original literary comics by some of Canada's finest cartoonists. The series is curated by Vepo Studios, who have also produced a short documentary for Open Book that follows the creative process of the cartoonists.

We are delighted to announce that our Graphic-Novelist-in-Residence is Ian Daffern. You can find his page here.

Get to Know Literary Ontario, with Annie Koyama of Koyama Press

Annie Koyama (or Kick-Ass Annie) is the woman behind Koyama Press, a mainstay of Toronto's indie comic arts scene. Koyama Press publishes and funds graphic novels, zines, comics, t-shirts, installations, folios — in fact, just about any form of comic art by emerging and established artists. Here, Annie tells Open Book how she got started with Koyama Press and what excites her about the graphic arts scene.

You can meet Annie Koyama and some of her authors in person at the upcoming Toronto Comic Arts Festival on May 7th and 8th. This year at TCAF, Koyama Press will debut Root Rot, a forest themed anthology by various artists; Lose #3 by Michael DeForge; Cat Rackham Loses It by Steve Wolfhard; Monster Party by Chris Eliopoulos; Colour Me Busy by Keith Jones; Island Brat by Colleen Frakes and Diary Comics by Dustin Harbin; as well as the special print edition of Ed Emberley's The Cloudy Collection. Visit Koyama Press's Events page for more details.

2H Pencil, Ballpoint Pen, 5.0 Brush: Tools of Choice for the Artists of TCAF

Today Open Book: Toronto kicks off our third annual WHAZAMO! Ontario Graphic Novel Month, featuring Whazamo WIR Ian Daffern. Check back with us throughout the month for new comics, illustrations and profiles of some of Canada's best graphic novelists and illustrators.

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival, which takes place this year on May 7th and 8th at the Toronto Reference Library, is an opportunity to meet and mingle with your favourite artists and see them showcase their latest work. In this video, directed by Christopher Hutsul and produced by Nick Sorbara of Vimeo, some of the artists you'll find at TCAF — Chester Brown, Michael Comeau, Steve Charles Manale, Vicki Nerino, Michael Cho, Michael DeForge, Seth, Fiona Smyth and Britt Wilson — share their quirky, whimsical or merely practical choice of writing instrument.

On Comics, with Ian Daffern

May 1, 2011

Ian Daffern is Open Book's 2011 Whazamo! Writer in Residence.

OBT:

Tell us about Freelance Blues.

ID:

Freelance Blues is a comic about a guy named Lance who has a problem. Whenever he shows up to work, he finds out that his boss is a monster trying to take over the world. So he's got to save his co-workers, defeat his evil boss and get up tomorrow and find a new job, because for him, being a hero doesn't pay the bills. It's an episodic comic-book, where each issue is a complete adventure, exploring everything from homicidal call-center cults to blood-sucking pharmaceutical testing labs. At the end, it will answer why all this bad stuff keeps happening to him. It's a workplace misadventure about trying to find your place in the world really.

Pop Sandbox Presents The Next Day

Pop Sandbox — the publisher that wowed us with the brilliant and award-winning graphic novel KENK: A Graphic Portrait — has produced a groundbreaking new graphic novella, The Next Day. Written by social worker Paul Peterson and filmmaker Jason Gilmore, and illustrated by acclaimed cartoonist John Porcellino, the graphic novella is constructed from interviews with survivors of suicide attempts.

SketchKrieg!'s Exquisite Corpse

The illustration collective Sketchkrieg! is exhibiting their latest fabulous project at XPACE Cultural Centre from February 3rd–5th. With "Paper Trail," the seven members of the collective have taken the Surrealists' exquisite corpse technique and run it "through a pop art meat grinder of comic illustration," creating a collaborative comic book narrative.

From the talented folks of SketchKrieg!:

Toronto Comic Arts Festival 2013 | www.torontocomics.com