Toronto Cartoonist Wins Canadian Urban Leadership Award

Toronto Cartoonist Matthew Blackett is best known around town as Matt B, who (until recently) chronicled life in the T-dot in his weekly comic strip for Eye Magazine, More recently though, he’s become known as the founder of Spacing magazine, and his contributions to city life have just recently been recognized by The Canadian Urban Institute.

Matt B has been awarded an Urban Leadership Award in the “City Soul” category, and while I’m not entirely sure what that actually means, it sounds pretty impressive (particularly when you look at the company he’s keeping). It’s not surprising though, as Matt and Spacing have really changed political discourse in the city, and alongside organisations like The Toronto Public Space Comittee (which he’s also on) they’ve made a positive impact on our day-to-day. All because in his 3-panel comic strips many years ago, he really loved the city he lived in (or at least loved it enough to want to make it better).

Spacing Magazine #8Matt B is also one of the best self-promoters I’ve ever met, and please believe me when I say that’s meant as a compliment. He used to organise these great big launch parties every time he released a new issue of his self-published comic strip collections (you might call them “mini-comics”). Bands would play, money would be raised, comics would be sold, and it would all go back into building his brand, which would then help us as a retailer sell his graphic novel collection. It’s amazing, and a course of action that I wish more… if not every… self publisher or small press would follow themselves. Hell, it’s what we as a store have started doing with our own events (see: the Scott Pilgrim/Dinosaur Comics Launch). Matt also helped us launch the Toronto Comic Arts Festival in 2003, helping to secure the best bit of press we received. (See also: above, right).

So, yeah, I’m really happy to see the work that Matt’s doing recognized, even if it isn’t in cartooning. I think there’s a similar mindset of really wanting to reach people with his message that’s carried through all of his projects, and he certainly worked hard enough for the success he’s achieved. Congrats, sir!

– Christopher

3 thoughts on “Toronto Cartoonist Wins Canadian Urban Leadership Award”

  1. oddly enough I’ve been thinking about doing some kind of musical event for the release of the first Nothing Better print collection. I’ve got friends in the Minneapolis music scene and we have some great comic shops here, but an event like that begs the question: if I invite a retailer to sell books at the event (instead of me doing it directly) will other retailers in the area cry ‘foul?’ or is it okay to sell books directly at an event like this (from a retailer POV)?

  2. Tyler: Well, just from a human-nature point of view, if you have good relationships with more than one retailer in your city and only invite one to sell your books at your event, of course the other ones might ‘cry foul’ as you say. If you’ve got a really good relationship with one of those retailers though and none of the others, who cares?

    What I’d maybe do in your situation would be to set up and sell my own books and make some money, but offer to do a signing at all of the local stores to try and sell some copies of their books as well, you know? You keep everybody happy and make some actual profit.

    – Chris

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