Canzine 2012

Canzine is an amazing festival, and I think every comics, magazine, craft or print fan should attend it at least once. Not to mention all the people who liked reading zines to begin with. Zine is short for fanzine or magazine – but it’s an abbreviation of the concept, not just the word. In short , it’s an indie thing – zines are little collections of poetry, articles, found images and art collages, and most are hand printed and bound.

This year Canzine took place once again at the 918 Bathurst Cultural Arts Centre.  Often Canzine struggles to find a bigger space and no matter the location, it’s never big enough, so I arrived as soon as the festival opened to beat the rush. There was a lot of creative programming and a lot of interesting talks (that I missed). Canzine took place in several rooms, the biggest for the zine exhibitors, including an indie games room and a craft centre in the basement.

The coolest part about Canzine is the effect is has on its attendees, not just the literal stuff we take away from the event. I got an illustrator’s information that was printed on a matchbook(props Melody Blue Klassen), found a gal who creates recycled leather collars, got a spoken word CD from A.G. Pasquella & a bunch of stickers! Furthermore it has been in my experience — and that of everyone I’ve talked to — we walk through Canzine and we aren’t saying, “Oh isn’t that neat…” we are saying, “I didn’t even know that was possible.” It opens up our minds with an overwhelming creativity that its space can barely contain. I  always leave Canzine inspired.

The Books

I got a bunch of cool books and stuff, and rather then devoting an article to each and trying to pad a paragraph review into enough paragraphs to justify a whole post, I’ll just put them here!

Chico – part 1+2

A cute little comic/zine by Kate Lavut about her deciding to shave her head and go to Mexico dressed as a boy (part 1) and the beginning of her journey (part 2) mainly being on a bus for days. Chico is enjoyable, mostly because it is written and drawn in such a way that is extremely relatable – I have not pretended to be a boy or taken a bus trip to Mexico, but the zine put me in her shoes. There are a couple of moments that stand out, such as Kate telling her parents about her plan and her mom threatening to “wring [her] bloody neck,” or the book’s depiction of the amount of skill it takes a girl to pee in a bathroom on a moving bus. I laughed and enjoyed myself and want to read parts 3+4. The art isn’t spectacular, but that isn’t what one reads zines for.

The Pig Sleep

A Mr.Monitor Case story by Cory McCallum and art by Matthew Daley. The Pig Sleep is an excellent short detective story, with nearly everything being awesome. I love the art style; it’s very geometric in its shapes and illogical in terms of proportions, including arms that wrap around the panels to point to something in the next panel over. The colours are gritty and give the story a lot of character, matching up with the detective feel. The story is great, a  mystery you can follow along with the clues while Mr.Monitor solves the case (unlike these modern day Sherlock Holmes stories which require you to be a genius to follow the logic). The writing is solid – a first person noir type narration that contain the best metaphors I’ve  read in a long time: “She had stems that kept going up like potato chip prices and a rack that would make a one legged pirate do the two step.” The only part that’s amiss is the lettering — all hand-written, but the a’s are like typed a’s rather then written a’s, so it threw me at first. Anyway, it’s an all around good read, and I am very much looking  forward to reading and seeing more from McCallum and Daley.

Toony Quarterly #6

A series of fun quirky short vignettes. James Spencer‘s art style is very cartoony and reminds me of King of the Hill with better perspective in the panels. Most of  the comic is autobiographical, and I really dig how James dated most of the shorts. They are very open and, as James points out in one of the shorts, he has no shame, which is awesome for us as an audience. It makes for far more entertaining strips if the  creator can laugh at himself. I also dig the ‘Why don’t we draw comics small and then scale them up” story that guest stars a pterodactyl. Combining both fictional and autobiographical anecdotes, the issue is funny and entertaining.

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