May 15, 2013 – TCAF, Bit Bazaar, And Toronto’s Independent Spirit

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TCAF, Bit Bazaar, And Toronto’s Independent Spirit

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This year’s TCAF (Toronto Comic Arts Festival) was pretty amazing. The festival has really grown in just the past few years that I’ve been attending (TCAF started back in 2003) and it has managed, very thankfully, to keep its strongly independent spirit.

The fact that it is still free to the public, that it supports independent comic creators and small publishers of independent works, that you can chat and have a great conversation with the artists and creators, and that having an artist sign something doesn’t cost you more money … is really refreshing in the midst of all the big commercial comic shows out there.

And the Toronto Reference Library is an amazing place to host it … the space is an architectural beauty, with a vast open main space with tons of light.

I was only able to attend one panel (on comics adaptations), but it was really great … genuine, honest, and interesting comments from all the creators involved. And the moderator was great, and who, I learned there, is “the other Scott” in Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim books.

Another round of the “Comics vs. Games” gallery (curated by The Hand Eye Society) at TCAF was very cool, this year showcasing indie games with awesome artwork from around the world (Australia, Germany, Argentina, and the U.S.A.).

An excellent new addition to the TCAF festivities was “Bit Bazaar”, that was generously hosted by “Bento Miso” (a co-work space for web developers and indie game makers).

Bit Bazaar is a showcase for independents … but from the digital gaming spectrum of things. I took some time on the weekend to head over to the Bento Miso space to check it out, and I was extremely happy to see that it was hoppin’! Saw some great indie games that are in the works, and saw some really great artwork, based on the games there and also games-related artwork from Toronto artists.

My friends Tim & Cathy from Rocket 5 Studios, showcased their latest build of the new game they are working on (code-named “Ghost Hunter”), which looked awesome and was fun to play! And I bought one of their super-cool looking Ghost Hunter T-shirts.

I had a really amazing time taking all of TCAF and Bit Bazaar over the weekend and it made me realize how great it is to be living in Toronto these days, with such amazing communities supporting independent comics and also independent games.

It’s really inspiring to be surrounded by a lot of indie spirit, and it makes things a lot easier to keep motivated on my own independent projects.

To wrap things up, I thought I’d put a list of links together for my previous (and separate) blog posts (that I’ve just posted) on the different things I happily spent money on at TCAF, if you want to check out any of them …

Part 1: Artwork & Story by Renee Nault

Part 2: Artwork & Story by Kenan Rubenstein

Part 3: Books & Bag from Koyama Press

Part 4: Comic Artists from Melbourne

Part 5: “The Nao of Brown” by Glyn Dillon

Part 6: Artwork by Willow Dawson

… really great finds, and I am happy to be supporting independent comic creators! Hope that you find some of the artists above interesting and hope that you pick up some of their work also!