In 2020, the bodily Toronto Comedian Arts Competition was cancelled as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, changed with an advert hoc social media blitz to assist assist creators and publishers. The 2021 occasion continues to be now not a bodily affair however TCAF has seemingly gone the additional mile with its on-line version, happening till Might 15.
Probably the most intriguing ingredient of this 12 months’s TCAF is the digital exhibition corridor – you possibly can wander round a nifty web site to take a look at an entire bunch of artists and publishers. The one draw back is that there isn’t a digital class for us internationals to extra simply purchase work with out coping with eye-watering postage and customs charges. Nonetheless, it’s pretty going by way of the plethora of nice initiatives.
There’s a program of talks and workshops happening between Might 8 and Might 15 which can be out there to look at at your comfort on YouTube – or you possibly can signal as much as take part stay.
The TCAF ’21 official poster and entrance finish artwork on the web site are by Vancouver-based Tahltan First Nation comedian artist, printmaker and illustrator Cole Pauls.
TCAF isn’t pulling this off as a solo affair both – as it’s joined by two different festivals: Damaged Pencil‘s Canzine and the Hand Eye Society‘s Comics x Video games. In keeping with the web site:
“This 12 months we partnered with Damaged Pencil Journal and the Hand Eye Society to current Spring Canzine and Comics x Video games as a part of the TCAF 2021!
Canzine is a pageant of zines and underground printed matter that’s been working since 1995. The biggest zine pageant in North America, Canzine is run by Damaged Pencil Journal, and helps 600+ zinesters every year meet audiences at occasions throughout Canada, together with Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Brampton, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, and Halifax.
Comics x Video games (CxG) from the Hand Eye Society fosters collaboration between the impartial recreation and comedian communities by way of quite a lot of initiatives, partnerships and occasions. CxG presents distinctive, game-focused content material — from authentic video games and gallery reveals, to panels and talks.”
The Toronto Comedian Arts Competition has taken place yearly since 2003. A sprawling affair, it brings cartoonists, publishers, creators and zinesters from close to and much to fill a number of flooring of the Toronto Public Library. In March 2020, two months earlier than final 12 months’s pageant was on account of happen, the World Well being Organisation declared a worldwide pandemic. On March 13 2020 public buildings had been compelled to shutter for an indefinite interval and on March 18 the pageant introduced it could cancel. A substitute ‘occasion’ was introduced by way of the pageant weblog and social media on Might 4 2020 – “the #TCAF2020 digital initiative” to “assist draw consideration to the good comics being made by our exhibitors 12 months spherical, and hopefully ship curiosity and gross sales their means”, happening on the weekend the 2020 pageant would have been – Might 9 and 10.
TCAF additionally teamed up with Montreal Comedian Arts Competition, Québec BD and Vancouver Comedian Arts Competition to type the #CanCAF initiative. “A month of digital comics occasions spotlighting high creators from Canada and world wide”, whose programming entailed “quite a lot of comics associated occasions, from workshops to interviews, stay drawing to panel discussions, podcasts to videocasts” on-line and throughout social media in Might 2020. By means of #CanCAF, festivals, exhibitors and company who would have attended the COVID-cancelled comics festivals throughout Canada may get showcased and supported on-line in the course of the tough interval when for a lot of the festivals would have offered precious earnings.
The pageant additionally needed to cope with intense controversy and scrutiny in June and July final 12 months, notably over the inclusion and therapy of black, indigenous and different folks of color, notably of volunteers. TCAF co-founder Chris Butcher stepped down, the pageant issued a sequence of statements, and an exploratory sub-committee was shaped. This 12 months is the beginnings of makes an attempt to course-correct, although the pageant admitted that “We don’t see this as a one-time mission, however a life-long one that may inform the group we aspire to be going ahead”.
Final 12 months was a frightening effort to make finest use of troubling and laborious circumstances, this 12 months TCAF’s organisers had time to plan, change, and put together for this 12 months and the long run.
It’s welcome to see TCAF come again in some type, even whether it is online-only this 12 months.