Here's what's queer at the Toronto Comics Arts Fest 2019

Here's what's queer at the Toronto Comics Arts Fest 2019

Warning: this is not a definitive roll out of ALL the queer artists and happenings at TCAF 2019, but it certainly is a great starting point. TCAF is a super cool event celebrating Comic Arts, so imagine how much more cooler things get with a fey twist? Catch them all!


// Special Events

Queer-centric parties and panels happening at the Library and beyond.

100 Years of Yuri

May 1-30
In the Gallery Display @ Page & Panel (Toronto Reference Library, 1st Floor)

100 Years of Yuri, a program curated by Erica Friedman and includes a gallery display of Yuri related materials and a wide selection of Yuri books for sale at Page & Panel, a special presentation by Yuri at (and in conjunction with) The Japan Foundation, Toronto, and even a special Yuri Manga Creator coming all the way from Japan! For more details check the news section of the website.

Join curator and comics scholar Erica Friedman as she walks y’all through the decades on May 11 from 10-11am.

Book Launch for Death Threat and Shut Up You’re Pretty

Friday, May 10
7-9pm
In the Innis Town Hall (2 Sussex Ave.)

Check out this off-site book launch for Vivek Shraya and Ness Lee’s Death Threat and Téa Mutonji’s Shut Up You’re Pretty. Presented by Arsenal Pulp Press, Another Story Bookshop, VS. Books, and TCAF. It’s free to attend.

TCAF Kick-off Party

Friday May 10
8pm-1am
In the Masonic Temple (888 Yonge St.)

Join the TCAF crew and all kinds of attendees for drinks, music, and live drawing. They’ll be announcing all the great things happening during TCAF weekend and it’s free to attend! What a great place to meet your future comic-loving lover.

On a Sunbeam with Tillie Walden

Saturday May 11
10-11am
In the High Park Ballroom 2 & 3 (Marriott Bloor Yorkville, 90 Bloor St. E.)

Over the past few years, lesbian critically-acclaimed cartoonist Tillie Walden has taken the comics world by storm. Her work has won everything from Eisner Awards to Igntazes, and she’s showing no signs of slowing down! In this panel Tillie will be talking about her Lambda Literary Award nominated On a Sunbeam, as well as the upcoming Are You Listening?

Death Threat: Vivek Shraya & Ness Lee Spotlight

Saturday May 11
1:30-2:30pm
In the Forest Hill Ballroom (Marriott Bloor Yorkville, 90 Bloor St. E.)

Death Threat is an act of resistance, using satire and surrealism to push back against transphobic hate mail that Vivek Shraya began receiving in 2017. Joined by artist Ness Lee, the collaborators will discuss the book’s exploration of the dangers of online accessibility, and the ease with which hate can spread digitally. Moderated by Kelly Frazier.

TCAF-queer-mixer

TCAF Queer Mixer

Saturday May 11
6-9pm
At Glad Day Books (499 Church St.)

The TCAF Queer Mixer, hosted by Glad Day Bookshop is THE queer event of the fest! This annual event is a place for queer and/or trans comics creators, readers, publishers, and other comics-involved folks to mix, mingle, and meet. Grab a beverage of your choice and browse the shelves of this historic and vital spot in the heart of Toronto’s queer village. It’s free to attend!

Mean Mean Laura Dean: Mariko Tamaki & Rosemary Valero-O’Connell Spotlight

Sunday May 12
12:30-2pm
In the Hinton Learning Theatre (Toronto Reference Library, 3rd Floor)

The TCAF debuting Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me brings us into the sweet and stressful world of being a teenager in love. Join Mariko and Rosemary as they discuss creating new narratives around dating, and how we can create more spaces for healthier relationships in comics. Moderated by Glen Downey.

(Re)Visualizing: Brian Selznick Spotlight

Sunday May 12
12-1pm
In the Hinton Learning Theatre (Toronto Reference Library, 3rd Floor)

In his latest work, Brian Selznick has boldly adapted Walt Whitman’s Live Oak, With Moss, a largely unknown collection on the poet’s attraction to and affection for other men. In conversation with Mark Askwith, come and hear about how Brian prepared for a brand new challenge in his illustrious career: making a book for adults.

Contemporary Queer Comics

Sunday May 12
12-1pm
In the Learning Centre 1 (Toronto Reference Library, 1st Floor)

Complementing our queer-focused programs for kids and teens, this panel showcases the some of the best creators exploring sex, gender, and relationships for adult audiences. Featuring a Who’s Who of comics award-nominated creators, including A.C. Esguerra (Eighty Days), Blue Delliquanti (O Human Star), our personal fave, Eric Kostiuk Williams (Our Wretched Town Hall), Sophie Yanow (The Contradictions), and Steve MacIsaac (Shirtlifter). This panel is moderated by Gina Gagliano.

Queer YA Comics from First Second

Sunday, May 12
12:30-2pm
In the Masonic Temple (888 Yonge St.)

Special ticketed event alert! First Second have made a move this year, boasting four big books that centre young people exploring gender and sexuality for YA audiences. This panel features the creators behind Bloom (Kevin Panetta & Savanna Ganuchaeu), The Breakaways (Cathy G Johnson), Kiss Number 8 (Ellen T Crenshaw & Colleen AF Venable), and Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me (Mariko Tamaki & Rosemary Valero-O’Connell), and moderated by Ardo Omer. Tickets available here.

Queer & Trans Comics for Kids!

Sunday May 12
3:30-4:30pm
In the Beeton Auditorium (Toronto Reference Library, 1st Floor)

Learn about these great new comics that feature LGBTQ+ kids. Cathy G Johnson (The Breakaways), Anthony Oliveira (Steven Universe: Fusion Frenzy), Sarah Winifred Searle (Sincerely, Harriet), and Chad Sell (Cardboard Kingdom) showcase their latest works in this session for readers of all ages.

// Featured Guests

Queer artists who have booths at this year’s fest! Stop by and say hi!

  • Emily Carroll (When I Arrive at the Castle)
    Koyama PressBooth 159-161

  • Brian Selznick (Live Oak, With Moss)
    ABRAMS ComicArts Booth 113

  • Vivek Shraya (Death Threat)
    Arsenal Pulp Press Booth 141

  • Savanna Ganucheau (Bloom)
    First Second Booth 200 & 201


HUGE thanks to the TCAF crew for helping us assemble this mighty mountain of talent.
TCAF happens Saturday May 11 - Sunday May 12 at the Toronto Reference Library. And it’s free.
Lead image is an anime adaptation of yuri manga by Hiromi Takashima.

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