Photo courtesy of Sarah Spencer (c) 2015. From left to right, Scott McCloud, Robin Brenner, Raina Telgemeir, George O'Connor, and Glen Downey
On the scale of 1 to awesome, the Toronto Comic Arts Festival for 2015 was awesome. There was literally nothing about it that wasn't. From the tireless efforts of Christopher Butcher and the folks at The Beguiling to the waves of wonderful volunteers to the writers, artists, and fans who came out, the festival was, as always, a tremendous success.
It was personally very rewarding this year given the amazing people I got to meet, talk to, moderate for, and present with. Here were some of the highlights.
Friday -- Teacher-Librarian Day
Friday was Teacher-Librarian Day at TCAF, and I was honoured to moderate and present on "Comics in Education" with Leslie Holwerda, a librarian from the Peel board. Leslie talked about strategies to get young people interested in comics, including her superhero battle that young people find so engaging. I gave a lightning talk called "Three Principles of Comics in the Classroom" and stressed the importance of teaching the history of the form, the vocabulary of the form, and the applications of visual narrative to the writing process. We had a small but engaged audience, with excellent questions all around.
Raina and myself watching Scott McCloud do his thing.
Saturday -- How, Where, & Why Should I Start Reading Comics
What do you get when you put New York Times Bestselling authors with Eisner Award winners? Well, you get a panel that includes four of the nicest people in comics that you'd ever want to meet. What's the cool part? Oh, I get to be on it too!
Fortunately, other than the fact that I talk with my hands a lot more than George O'Connor (The Olympians), Raina Telgemeier (Smile, Sisters, Drama), Scott McCloud (Understanding Comics, The Sculptor), or our awesome moderator, Robin Brenner (Understanding Manga and Anime), we all had things in common in our experiences with comics....
...although Scott had the ridiculously unfair advantage of being childhood friends with Kurt Busiek.
Sunday -- Scott McCloud Presents "The Sculptor"
Hats off to Chris Butcher, The Beguiling, and all the volunteers at TCAF. What a wonderful conference!
Dr. Glen Downey is an award-winning children's author, educator, and academic from Oakville, Ontario. He works as a children's writer for Rubicon Publishing, a reviewer for PW Comics World, an editor for the Sequart Organization, and serves as the Chair of English and Drama at The York School in Toronto.
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