Category Archives: Where’s Chris?

I’ll be at the Lakes International Comic Arts Festival 2016 this weekend!

Hey there folks! I’m just sitting in the airport getting ready for my flight to London, where upon landing I will hop on a train northward, past Manchester, to the beautiful town of Kendal, gateway to the Lakes District, and home of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival.

I’ve actually been fortunate enough to attend LICAF every year since its inception, and I’m really impressed with its growth and ambition as an event. As someone who puts on a Festival in the shadow of giant hulking comic book cities like Chicago and New York (Metropolis and Gotham, respectively) I know that it can be difficult to get people to make the extra trip Northward for a comics event, and for that reason, and many others it, has a place in my heart. Of course, they also work their butts off every year to have incredible comics guests, and this year’s first-time attendees include Edmond Baudoin (who attended the very first TCAF in 2003!), Jordi Bernet(!), Canadians Bryan Lee O’Malley and John Martz, Benoit Peeters, and more besides. Their programme is really something, I recommend checking it out.

Speaking of which, I’m kind of a guest of the Festival myself this year, and will be moderating a few events including an on-stage interview with my pal Bryan Lee O’Malley, and hosting a Ghibli-themed live-drawing event with O’Malley, Jonath Edwards (UK), Ken Niimura (Japan/Spain), Miki Yamamoto (Japan), and Emma Viceli (UK) which should be a lot of fun too.

Tickets for all events are available now at https://www.breweryarts.co.uk/events-and-festivals/category/the-lakes-international-comic-art-festival-2016

And if I don’t see you at the events, please do track me down at the pub, it’ll be great to say hello to some of the people I don’t get to see very often.

Cheers!

  • Christopher

SEE YOU AT SPX THIS WEEKEND – SEP 19-20

Hey there! I’m happy to say that I’ll be headed to SPX this weekend in Bethesda, MD, for the second year in a row, repping TCAF and a selection of Canadian small presses. I’m at table L10, the same block as Koyama Press, Massive, Youth In Decline, and a whole bunch of awesome people.

The main thrust of the visit will be TCAF stuff, including comics, prints, posters, postcards, and books that we’ve produced over the years. We have some neat stuff! But I’m filling that out with a great selection of works from Canadian pubs like Coach House Books, Conundrum, and La Pastque, and small-run and self published works by a whole whack of Canadian TCAF exhibitors including Tin Can Forest, Michel Rabagliati, Steven GIlbert, John Martz, and more. I’ve also dug up a few real rarities from The Beguiling’s archives, the kind of one-of-a-kind stuff you would never actually be able to find in the store itself. 😉 I’ll instagram some of the rarest stuff on the torontocomics account, so keep an eye out there for it.

Please feel free to say hi if you see me–even if I’m “busy”. It’d be great to catch up.

Thanks to the SPX crew for having me at the show!

– Christopher

Queer Alt Comix History

“When Maggie sees Hopey, I know exactly how she feels. This story I’m doing right now is Maggie trying to figure out what boundaries she has with Hopey now that they are both with different people, and she’s kind of like, ‘We used to play around, can we still play around? Are we not supposed to play around?’ … Maggie is getting frustrated, and I’m just learning all this stuff about what Maggie is thinking about their relationship while they are together.

– Jaime Hernandez, on his current Love & Rockets story

I was so happy to be able to host a panel on queer comics at San Diego Comic Con this year. When I first started going to Comic-Con, it was important to me to attend the annual Gays In Comics panel at the show. The larger queer fandom wasn’t really accessible to me at the time, either online or in person (though I had some wonderful friends I could talk comics with), and sitting in the big room full of other people ‘like me’ was exciting. I’d dreamed of being on that panel for years, until the interests of the folks running that panel and my own interests as a reader and critic diverged to the point that I stopped attending… which meant that hosting a smaller queer comix panel with four comics authors whom I respect immensely–Mariko Tamaki, Gilbert Hernandez, Jamie Hernandez, and Ed Luce–was pretty much that dream come true. Thanks to Julia from D&Q for thinking of me to moderate.

The wonderful Brigid Alverson has a thorough write-up of the panel over at ComicBookResources. I thought it went really well, and I was happy to see that on reading Brigid’s article my memory lived up to the actuality of it! There’s some great commentary there on the importance of queer comix, but also, queer comix as they exist within the continuum of ‘alternative’ comics. Alternative comics and the scene around them have a really checkered history when it comes to queer representation. I got into it a little at the beginning of the panel, but basically while the undergrounds and early alt comix were certainly transgressive, queer narratives tended to be pushed to the side. nostraightlinesThe excellent anthology and history book No Straight Lines, edited by Justin Hall, does a great job at drawing connections between important works and putting together an overview of the queer alt-comix scene in the 70s, 80s, and 90s for contemporary readers. I recommended it on panel, and I’ll recommend it again here. But yeah, it was awesome to have Jaime and Gilbert on the panel  just come right out and say “No one was doing this,” when talking about their roles as straight creators of queer characters in the alt comix scene. They added a lot of continuity to the discussion! Having two out-and-proud creators on panel was also wonderful, particularly as Ed and Mariko have entered the field relatively recently and later in their lives, and they brought some amazing insight to the panel. It was amazing, and I could’ve talked to all four of them for another hour at least.

So yeah, please go check out the article! And the work of all four wonderful creators!

My thanks to Brigid Alverson for transcribing so much of the panel and writing it up, and sharing it with the readership of CBR.

– Christopher

P.S.: I originally posted a draft of this, and then finished it about an hour later. It may still be the old version in the RSS feed, sorry about that!

Podcasts is a weird word. Is it specifically tied to the iPod? Anyway.

ITEM! I just saw this tumblr post by Kelly Sue Deconnick, someone I’ve known a real long time now, imploring a fan to pre-order one of her upcoming books:

If you’re interested in picking [Pretty Deadly] up, PLEASE PRE-ORDER. After this long of a delay, I guarantee it’ll be under-ordered. That’s on me, but if you want it, I want you to be able to get your hands on it. Pre-order, pleeeeeaaase.  – Kelly Sue

Kelly Sue was right there at the ‘dawn’ of the pre-order movement on the Warren Ellis forum (referenced here), and she knows the importance of that sort of direct customer engagement. I think this is a great example of the importance of pre-ordering, because by all accounts Kelly Sue is a creator who’s “Made It”, who has a dedicated fan base, but is still encouraging fans to take an agressive, forward-looking position when it comes to getting her comics. If Kelly Sue thinks it’s important, then it’s important, and my advice to all creators is to start trying to really mobilize your fanbases.

Also of note? This very elaborate Greg Pak pre-order campaign for his upcoming series from Dark Horse, entitled Kingsway West.

272559-fist-of-the-north-star

ITEM! I was a guest on Robin McConnell’s INKSTUDS podcast alongside the talented David Brothers and Brandon Graham, and it just went live. We talk for nearly 2 hours on this one, and I actually listened to it and I think, you know, I think it’s pretty good. David’s an incredibly smart guy, and I think he’s one of the people that brings out the best in my own commentary on the comics industry; I was super-happy to spend an hour chatting with him (Robin and Brandon were great too, don’t get me wrong). We recorded this about a month ago, and it actually got me thinking, and thinking, and I’ve actually been writing here at the blog since then. Maybe I’ll keep it up? Anyway.

BestWorstMangaPanel_SDCC2015
LtoR: Eva Volin, Brigid Alverson, Chris Butcher, Deb Aoki, David Brothers.

ITEM! I just got back from San Diego and had a really good time. I was on a record six (6!) panels this year as a participant or moderator, and it looks like all of the info for one of the panels is now online. I got to join Deb Aoki, Brigid Alverson, David Brothers, and Eva Volin on The Best and Worst Manga 2015 for the fourth year running. I had a great time. 🙂

You can see all of our pics, slides, etc., at Deb Aoki’s Manga Comics Manga: http://mangacomicsmanga.com/sdcc-2015-best-and-worst-manga-of-2015/

…and Jamie Coville has the complete audio of the panel over at his website, TheComicBooks.com: http://www.thecomicbooks.com/audio.html#SanDiego2015

 

And that’s all the news that’s fit to print!

– Christopher

Where’s Chris: Comic-Con Edition!

In case you forgot what I looked like.
In case you forgot what I looked like.

Hello! I am happy to say that I will once again be attending Comic-Con International: San Diego this year. I’ll mostly be stationed at the Drawn & Quarterly Booth, #1629, as the good folks there have given my erstwhile employer The Beguiling a small corner from which to sell a gorgeous array of original comics artwork. I’ll be helping Peter out there on and off through all five days of the show. If you want to say hello that’s not a bad place to look for me. You can also tweet me @comics212 to see what’s up.

I’m also happy to say that I have a very full panel and programming schedule this year, as I’ll be participating in or moderating 5 different programs at the big show. Every panel is very different from the other too, which is great. It’ll be a busy show. Here’s a quick run-down:

Friday, July 10th

Hopey, Julio, Skim, Oafs, and beyond,
Friday, 7/10/15, 1:00p.m. – 2:00p.m., Room: 28DE 

Emerging from the undergrounds and into the alt-comix of the 1980s, queer characters and voices have always been loud and proud in alternative and indie comics. Gilbert Hernandez and Jaime Hernandez were at the forefront of queer characters’ visibility with their groundbreaking and award-winning comic book series LOVE AND ROCKETS, featuring brilliant characters like Hopey, Maggie, Israel, and Julio. Contemporary authors Mariko Tamaki and Ed Luce have contributed new queer icons in their books SKIM and WUVABLE OAF. Join all four creators and moderator Christopher Butcher (Comics212.net, Toronto Comic Arts Festival) for a discussion of the history of queer character visibility in alt and indie comics.

How to Survive Conventions as an Indie Creator
Friday, 7/10/15, 8:30p.m. – 9:30p.m. Room: 8

Calling all artists, small presses, and makers: Are you interested in or currently touring comics and pop culture conventions? Christopher Butcher (Toronto Comic Arts Festival) moderates a panel of experienced exhibitors Daniel Davis (Steam Crow, Booth Bastards), Shing Yin Khor (Sawdust Press), Paul Roman Martinez (The 19XX), and Geoffrey Golden and Amanda Meadows (The Devastator) to discuss making a full convention calendar work alongside a heavy production calendar. They’ll also answer questions raised by the Comics Beat + The Devastator 2014 Convention Survey –– what should creators expect from conventions and how can we make the most of them?

Saturday, July 11th

Kids Comics Summit
Saturday, 7/11/15, 11:00am – 12:00pm. San Diego Central Public Library – Shelley Special Events Suite

What’s the state of the children’s comics industry?  Publishers talk about their publishing programs; discussing how kids comics have changed in the past decade and how they’ll change more in the decade to come. A conversation with Alex Segura (Archie Comics), Filip Sablik (Boom), Kuo-Yu Liang (Diamond), Gina Gagliano (First Second), Sven Larsen (Papercutz), and David Saylor (Scholastic). Moderated by Christopher Butcher (Toronto Comics Art Festival).

Best and Worst Manga of 2015
Saturday, 7/11/15, 7:00p.m. – 8:00p.m., Room: 23ABC

I don’t have the official description for this one, but myself, Brigid Alverson,  David Brothers, Eva Volin, and moderator Deb Aoki are once again participating in an hour of chaotic fun, as we run down our choices for some of the best and worst manga of the year. It’s gonna be fun, and it’s always a packed house!

Sunday, July 12th

Nickelodeon Returns to Comics!
Sunday, 7/12/15, 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Room 8

Eric Esquivel (writer, Sanjay & Craig), Sam Spina (artist, Sanjay & Craig) and Jim Salicrup (editor-in-chief of Papercutz) plus special guests give you an inside look at how Nickelodeon’s hit properties Sanjay & Craig, Breadwinners and Harvey Beaks are being turned into Papercutz Graphic Novels. Featuring the editors, writers and artists who make comics out of these awesome shows! Moderated by Christopher Butcher (The Beguiling, Toronto Comic Arts Festival).

And that’s it for now… I think. I’m always terrified that I’ve agreed to be on a panel and then forgotten about it completely. Heh. Anyway, I really am looking forward to Comic-Con again this year, as even the years where I have a miserable time are also years where amazing things happen. It’s a neat show that way.

Cheers,

– Christopher

I’ll be in Japan for Christmas

Hey there. I’ll be in Japan from November 18 through December 29. Andrew will be there with me for the latter half of that. We’re both very excited.

I’m very fortunate to have worked this out with my employer at The Beguiling at the beginning of this year, and while the timing is awful, it’s never not going to be awful and so I’m pressing on.

I know it seems overly audacious to assume anyone gives a whirl about my travel plans, but since I know a bunch of people almost entirely online, and since this is unprecedented, I thought I’d make a brief note. I’m hoping to get a chance to write some more, and to relax, and maybe improve my terrible Japanese language ability a little. I’ll still be answering e-mails, but I probably won’t make it to your Christmas party.

Don’t worry, I’ll take pictures.

Thanks for your understanding and for not hating me,

– Christopher

America X England X Japan X France

Shockingly, I’ll be travelling soon.

I know, I know, I’m always travelling, it seems, but I’m really excited about these next 4-5 months, as there’s gonna be a lot of cool stuff happening. Basically, all of my dreams for TCAF, of repping awesome Canadian comics to the world are coming true, and it’s great and I’m stoked.

Next weekend I’m off to SPX – The Small Press Expo in Maryland for the first time since 2005. I’m running Coach House’s table, and they are the publishers of a very important ‘lost’ classic called THE CAGE by Martin Vaughn James as well as a book of writing by critic Jeet Heer called IN LOVE WITH ART, about Art Spiegelman. We’ll also have some cool TCAF books there, so if you’ll be at the show please stop by and say hi! I’ll be at table J2.

Then in October, I’m headed back for the second year of The Lakes International Comic Arts Festival, in Kendal, England, which runs from the 17th through the 19th. I got to attend last year and it was great fun (I still have to write up that trip…) and I’m excited to head back for another go. I’ll be hosting a few panels at the event, shaking hands, kissing babies, and hopefully inviting a few folks over to TCAF.

Moving along to November, and TCAF will once again be exhibiting at Kagai Manga Festa / International Comic Festival, Japan’s only event for international comics. TCAF will have 3-4 tables, repping Canadian cartoonists and books, and it should be great fun. The event is on Sunday, November 23rd, but we’ll be there for a few days before and about a week after. We’re still open to Cartoonists who want to exhibit with us at the show, head over to the TCAF site to read about it.

Then, I’m quite pleased to announce that TCAF will make its first showing at the Angouleme International Comics Festival in Angouleme, France, January 27 to Feb 1. Angouleme is one of the bigger and more important comics events in the world, it’s quite exciting to finally get to attend! I’m honestly not sure of the shape of the trip just yet, we’re still working out the finer points. 😉

Anyway, now you’re up to date! If you want to say hello while I’m in your neck of the woods, drop me a line!

Best,

– Christopher

Image by Gary Sherman

Where’s Chris?

Hey guys,

I’ve had my head down working on TCAF and UDON (and, of course, The Beguiling) so I apologize for the near-total lack of updates. In case you’re wondering about me, here’s where you can find me over the next few months. Feel free to come say hi if you can.

April 24-27: Calgary, AB, Calgary Comic Expo @ UDON Booth #910

April 30: Toronto Reference Library, 7pm, “Bitstrips: Democratizing Comics” Panel (link)

May 3: The Beguiling, Free Comic Book Day with Ed Piskor & Tom Scioli! (link)

May 8-11: TCAF, The Toronto Comic Arts Festival (link)

May 22-26: Anime North, Toronto

June 26-July 1: Las Vegas, NV, American Library Assosciation Conference

July 3-6: Ottawa, ON, Wedding

July 21-28: San Diego, CA, Comic-Con International, UDON Booth

Busy, huh?

Hopefully I get to see all y’all. 😉

– Chris

 

Ridiculously long interview with me.

Hey, the good folks at the “Guys With Pencils” podcast had me over to shoot the shit and it went on for like two and a half hours…? Anyway, it was fun, and I’m remarkably lucid throughout. If you wanna know more about, you know, me, or TCAF, or a little UDON and Beguiling, or event management, or whatever? You know? Anyway, mercifully they broke it into two parts.

Part 1: http://guyswithpencils.tumblr.com/post/76197814250/guys-with-pencils-ep-148-tcafs-chris-butcher

Part 2: http://guyswithpencils.tumblr.com/post/76932859543/guys-with-pencils-ep-149-tcafs-chris-butcher

I did listen to it, I think it’s a pretty clear version of my thoughts on TCAF, and I guess TCAF’s operating procedures. I hope you guys dig it.

I hope Jim “Throatpuncher” Zub doesn’t punch me in the throat.

– Chris

NYCC and Tokyo-bound

Hey folks.

A busy summer has given way to a very busy fall, and I’ve got a bunch of travel on the horizon. I’m still writing about comics, but usually those thoughts are expressed on Twitter or through one of my other jobs. I actually have a post written about the nature of comic book stores, that I’m going to post this week for Little Island’s first anniversary, once I give it another pass. Oh, and I took on a small comics writing job that will be announced at some point too, which I’m having fun with.

Anyway, in case you’re looking for me, you can find me at the following events and place. Let me know if you want to hang out.

New York

October 10: ICv2 Conference, Javits Center
October 11-14: New York Comic Con, Javits Center

Tokyo

November 11: Design Festa (Just attending!)
November 18: Kaigai Manga Festa, Exhibiting for TCAF
November 25: Flying back to Toronto

Toronto Comics Events:

October 18: ZANTA Book Launch, The Central
October 21: Canzine (Day) Triple Threat Launch (Night)

Thanks for continuing to check out this blog! I personally feel that one day I will be back up to posting daily, I’m just not there yet.

Best,

– Chris