In Toronto for 4 and a half days, I walked 18 miles, was in 5 storms, 2 of them frozen. I drank Soju, against all better judgment. Ate a few hundred french fries. Met my favorite comics event in the world.
I’ve tried to go to TCAF before but every year the wires cross or I just don’t get it together in time. This year Taiyo Matsumoto was making his first North American appearance, his first gallery showing ever in the world and the advance release of his new book, Sunny. So that pushed me to make it work. I’d have gone to those things and been happy.
Chris Butcher and the Beguiling were gracious enough to set up a couple signings for me at the show. I’ve known Chris for years but never been to his store. I had no expectations. I’d already met Matsumoto on the first day, what else does a reasonable human need?
When I got to TCAF I encountered a weird pocket universe that somehow embodies none of the characteristics of the traditional North American comics scene. A truly international show that bridged symbiotic forms from very different places and wove them all comfortably together. There is a warmth in this show that’s very difficult to describe. None of the weird pretense that exists at either a “mainstream” or “indie” American show. And the show has a weight… everything there seems fully realized. Everyone’s a professional.
It’s basically the physical form of the comics industry my friends and I’d imagine in our heads. Somehow once a year in that place, it exists, bigger than anything.
I wish I hadn’t missed it every other year. I’m going to try not to miss it again.