Hey there. A fun little interview I did with Toronto Foodie Blog TasteTO just went online at http://www.tasteto.com/ (scroll down). They were nice enough to let me plug TCAF and all of my favourite neighborhood haunts:

[What's] your favourite place to grab a couple of drinks and hang out where everybody knows your name?

Aw, man. I was on a first-name basis with the staff of both The Victory Cafe (595 Markham Street) and Clinton’s Tavern (693 Bloor St. West), but the summer-crunch (I’m one of the people running The Toronto Comic Arts Festival, August 18-19 2007) means that I’m barely there anymore, and have probably lost any status I once enjoyed. I’ll have to build that back up in September… with drinking.

Lots of TCAF press in the next little while, actually. Thanks to everyone who’s helped out by linking or running a press release, and to Sheryl at Taste T.O. for the interview!

- Christopher


tcaf-poster-set.jpgWho doesn’t love a contest? As part of a promotion I set up with Toronto’s EYE WEEKLY Magazine, who is sponsoring The Toronto Comic Arts Festival this year, EYE is giving away a complete set of comics and graphic novels nominated for the 2007 Doug Wright Awards, as well as the three 2005 TCAF Posters signed by their respective artists, Marc Bell, James Jean, and Darwyn Cooke! It’s a little something for everyone. We’ll probably even throw in a copy of the 2003 poster, though it probably won’t be signed. And the books? You’ll get:

Shenzen: A Travelogue From China, Guy Delisle (Drawn and Quarterly)
This Will All End in Tears, Joe Ollman (Insomniac Press)
Scott Pilgrim and The Infinite Sadness, Bryan Lee O’Malley (ONI Press)
Gilded Lilies, Jillian Tamaki (Conundrum Press)
Nog-a-dod, Marc Bell ed. (Conundrum Press)
Gray Horses, Hope Larson (ONI Press)
House of Sugar, Rebecca Kraatz (Tulip Tree Press)
Was She Pretty?, Leanne Shapton (Farrar, Strauss & Giroux)
Bacter-area, Keith Jones (Drawn and Quarterly)
Mendacity, Tamara Faith Berger & Sophie Cossette (Kiss Machine Presents…)

You’re probably not familiar with all of those, but they’ve been nominated as some of the best or most promising books in Canada for this year, and so you SHOULD know all about them.

You can enter the contest at: http://eyeweekly.com/contests/comicarts/index.php.

It’s free, they won’t spam you or sell your info. There’s the extra added bonus of showing them that Comics Events are popular and interesting and they should sponsor more of them, hint-hint, so the wider this gets spread (and the more people that sign up) the happier I’ll be.

- Chris

 


Here are three interesting things about Original Comics Art and The Toronto Comic Arts Festival, August 18-19 in Scenic Toronto, Canada.

Scott Pilgrim 3 ArtItem #1: Really sweet piece of Scott Pilgrim Art on Ebay:

“You can’t not buy this page. Beautiful original artwork, 11″x14″, from SCOTT PILGRIM, VOL 3: SCOTT PILGRIM & THE INFINITE SADNESS. Bryan Lee O’Malley, 2006, pencil and ink on Strathmore bristol. Ramona vs Envy! Hammers vs Kicks! So good! You need it on your wall!” – Bryan Lee O’Malley
For sale by the owner. He needs you to buy it so that he may live. Bidding’s only at $330, which is actually really inexpensive for such a nice page…!

http://cgi.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=280141914373

ITEM #2: Jim Rugg is taking TCAF Comissions!


“I’ve decided to do commissions for the [The Toronto Comic Arts Festival]. Same as San Diego, $50 gets you a black and white, approximately 8 x 10 drawing of whatever your heart desires. I’ve posted a number of the commissions I did for San Diego throughout my livejournal, so check them out, then email me to reserve your very own, one of a kind, kickarse piece of Jim Rugg artwork.” - Jim Rugg
I’m showing that amazing Street Angel pin-up here, but Jim also does awesome interpretations of The Savage Dragon, Starman, “The Bride” and more. Check out his San Diego comissions over at his LiveJournal, and then make sure to hit him up for something!

ITEM #3: Jeff Lemire’s New Website & Comissions

“Here a some of the paintings I did for the San Diego Con. I am now offering similar painting of your favorite superhero or comic character for $40 + shipping… Each painting is 6″x8”. I’ll upload more samples soon! I will also draw any characters from my own comics!” – Jeff Lemire
Jeff Lemire just launched a new blog with tons of art samples, and he’s been doing some really nice, off-beat superhero paintings for folks. You can buy them directly from his blog page at http://jefflemire.blogspot.com/. Jeff will be at the Top Shelf Comix table at TCAF, and I’m sure you could pick up your comission at the show…

There you go, three artists, three sources of original art, all designed to pretty-up your walls. Go forth and spend, now that you’ve had a paycheck since San Diego!

- Christopher


(I lied about not posting about comics issues for a few days, I had to get this off my chest.)

In response to the Zuda Card that was being given away in San Diego, the one that had a little bullet-point that said “ZUDA CREATORS WILL RETAIN THEIR COPYRIGHT!” and their website even has an updated statement that says as much. It also says that the work will be published “…under fairly conventional publishing agreements…” which is what you really need to pay attention to.

First and foremost, DC Comics may be benevolent enough to grant you the copyright to your own work, but they haven’t said anything about the Trademark (basically, the title of the work). Trademark is interesting, it’s why the KRAZY KAT collections that Fantagraphics are doing are called Krazy & Ignatz and why the GASOLINE ALLEY collections that D+Q are doing are called Walt & Skeezix. The copyright on those early works may have fallen into the public domain, but the titles (marks) used in business (trade) haven’t, and are still owned by the syndicates. So does Zuda own the trademark to your series, or do you?

Secondly, “…fairly conventional publishing agreements…” is what keeps WATCHMEN and V FOR VENDETTA in print at DC Comics against their creator’s wishes. You can own the copyright to the work, as Alan Moore and his collaborators do, but those “…fairly conventional publishing agreements…” could say pretty-much anything. Moore’s says that the publishing rights for WATCHMEN only revert to him once the book is out of print for a set period of time. That book will never be out of print, so for all intents and purposes he’ll never have control of that project again. Could you live with that? Your work generating massive ammounts of income for a company that you feel both personally and professionally wronged you (and continue to do so to this day)?

Everyone knows the Alan Moore story, so here’s one that’s more personal. A few years back I was hired to completely re-colour SKREEMER, a six-issue limited series originally published by DC, and written by Peter Milligan with art by Brett Ewans and Steve Dillon. Scott Brown at Cyberosia worked out a deal with Milligan and Ewans and was going to publish the long-forgotten (but ahead-of-its-time) series as a graphic novel. Retro-sci-fi-gangsters in the future, it woulda been fun. I turned in four or five pages of colours that were approved (and looked pretty sharp if I do say so myself). All of the sudden, DC steps in and says “What? No, we’ve been planning to do a trade paperback of this for a while now!” Now, I can’t legally say that they’re liars, but everyone involved with the project at Cyberosia (including the legal authors of the work) were… under a different impression. You see, if they announce their intention to reprint the series, that ‘counts’ and the publishing rights don’t revert to the authors, as specified in their contract, despite the fact that Milligan and Ewans “own the copyright”. Four or five months later DC releases a SKREEMER collection, pretty obviously rushed out the door, and in their next special sale to retailers they also offer a substantial discount on that trade paperback to try and move some copies out the door too. In short, they didn’t particularly care about the project, they heavily discounted the book to retailers less than a year later, they just didn’t want to lose their rights to the IP (intellectual property-ancilliary rights like movies, tv, action figures, etc) (they’re in the movie-business, donthcaknow?).

How’s that for your fairly standard publishing contract?

Here, I’ve got two more things for you. The first is a very good publishing industry blog called EDITORIAL ANONYMOUS. It’s written (anonymously, of course) by an editor in the Children’s Book industry, and is a fantastic source of information on publishing and particularly contracts and rights assertion. Seeing an Editor admit (paraphrasing) ”yeah, our standard contracts are pretty terrible, no one should sign them if they don’t feel comfortable, HIRE A LAWYER” will quite likely be an enlightening experience for you. Publishing corporations do not have your best interests at heart, they have THEIR best interests at heart, because they’re corporations and that’s what they’re legally obligated to do. So, if you’re curious about the big bad world of publishing, spend some time on that blog there and find out what it’s really like, particularly before you go and sign a bad contract (or compete for the chance to sign a bad contract).

The second thing I’ve got for you is… Scott Kurtz. I don’t particularly like Scott Kurtz, he goes out of his way to say some stupid, hateful things (and in the most obnoxious way possible). I am… reticent… to even link him at all. But what he’s just said recently on his blog about the Zuda/Platinum/”American Idol” style of “breaking into comics” is incredibly relevant and correct. You, as a comics creator, are not a “contestant” for your own success:

“We are NOT contestants. You don’t need to “win” your success in some foolish contest where a media corporation dangles a contract over your head. You are a creator. You may not have much, but the one thing you do have (maybe the ONLY thing you do have) is the internal spark that allows you to create a character or a universe out of thin air. If the one thing you have is the dignity of being a creator, why would you give that one thing away so eagerly?”
- Scott Kurtz, PvP

It ties into my thoughts on other, similar projects (whether corporation-driven or fan-driven or whatever) and I think it’s worth reading for all the creative folks out there, if for nothing else than a reminder that what you do is important and has value, and you shouldn’t be quite so free to give it up for “fairie gold”.

Now, back to work.

- Christopher


- All of my time is taken up with prep for The Toronto Comic Arts Festival right now (August 18-19). Everytime I actually want to write a post here about what’s going on in the wide world of comics, I shake my head and invest that time back into making sure there’ll be event schedules ready to go tomorrow, and that the signage will be printed, and things like that.

- That said, there’s still lots of TCAF-related stuff I’m looking forward to posting here. Notes from artists, event info, oh, and that panel schedule I was just talking about. I think it’ll be at least a little bit interesting even if you’re not coming to the event? But if you are it’s gonna be awesome.

- Oh, and I did get my cell phone back in the end. I’d left it on the table at the D&Q booth, and Tom Devlin was nice enough to scoop it up for me and send it back to Toronto.

Thanks for your continued patronage,

- Christopher


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Hey there, why read this stuff when you could go and read Chip Zdarsky (under the name of his alter-ego) giving out good, practical advice in comic-strip format in one of Canada’s national newspapers?
Just keep clicking “next” for hours.

- Chris


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Hi there folks, here are a few of the more interesting comics and graphic novels scheduled to ship to The beguiling Books & Art in Toronto, Canada this week. The full list of books is behind the cut below. Now, these books may not show up at all retailers at the same time, but if you see something here it’s probably at least worth asking your retailer about…

…actually, I haven’t really got the time this week. Sorry about that. I did want to point out that the second issue of Jordan Crane’s UPTIGHT (MAY073466 UPTIGHT #2 2.50) is shipping tomorrow. He had preview copies at San Diego this weekend and it was quite enjoyable, standing nicely on its own and full of solid comics. If you’ve got $2.50 to spare this week, pick this one up. You won’t regret it.

Full list behind the cut:

Keep reading…