I don’t think we stayed up toooo late at the pre-TCAF party, and I was sticking to Vodka and Tonic so I woke up feeling OK. It was great to meet Doug Wallace and Emma Hayley from London based publishers Self Made Hero, who had arrived in Toronto straight from Mocca in NYC.
We arrived at the venue- the reference library- and set up our tables. People were already queueing well before the opening at 9am.
We seem to have been placed on something of a ‘Brits Alley’, just down the line from Joe List, Lizz Lunney, Luke Pearson and Philippa Rice. No Brow were on the other side of us and Sean Azzopardi was the other side of the room.
Setting up didn’t take long and soon people were filling the room
Here’s an exhibitor’s eye view of my table:
The place was soon packed. We were on the second floor, in the Appel Salon. There was a great view of the first floor from the balcony outside our room.
What’s great about TCAF is that it is free to get in, so alongside comics fans you get the general public, wondering what the buzz is all about and discovering comics and graphic novels for themselves. Darryl Cunningham had a psychiatrist wander in and find the Blank Slate table and Psychiatric Tales, and buy a few copies!
The guy with the earring isn’t the psychiatrist, by the way, Darryl told me about it. This is just a picture of the Blank Slate table, with Martin Steenton on the left and Joe Decie in the middle and Darryl signing.
Around lunchtime Darryl, Simon, Lizz and I collected John Porcellino from his table and walked round the corner to the Marriott Hotel to conduct a panel discussion on comics and mental health. We were a bit late starting, there must have been about 60 people sitting there waiting for us. We hurriedly plugged my macbook into the projector and started the conversation. It was a great discussion. Simon and I co-chaired it, and everyone talked about their own work, about what comics can contribute to discussion of mental health issues and about how the comics medium seems to lend itself to this discussion. In the rush to set up I forgot to turn on my digital recorder and will probably kick myself forever for not recording the session. We are, however, planning to recreate something similar in a text discussion which we will post at some stage.
After the first day I went out for a mexican meal with Darryl, Sean, Simon and Sara Griffin. They kept us waiting an age at the restaurant and Sean hadn’t eaten all day! The management sent a young waiter out to placate us by giving us some novelty maraca bottle openers!
We wandered back to the hotel for a rest, that’s Sarafin who writes Asylum Squad in the ultrafeminine garb on the left, then Simon (in the ultramasculine garb on the right) and I headed out for the (mid)TCAF party on a rooftop bar which got quite chilly as the night progressed into the small hours.
The next day was just as mad, albeit with a (blessed) later start at 11.
As the day drew to an end we queued up to sell some of our left over comics to the folks at the Beguiling– THE most amazing comics shop I have ever been to, then made our way back to the hotel to prepare for the post TCAF party.
You can spot me in this TCAF video tour, talking to Sarafin at my table
part 3- Post TCAF- coming soon