Category Archives: Conventions

Toronto ComiCON: the morning after. Ish.

It’s Monday and we’re back in full work mode…hard to do after a busy and wonderful weekend at Toronto ComiCON but that’s what a comics creator has to do in order to get to go to these conventions!

Toronto ComiCON is a renaming of what was the Fan Appreciation Events of previous years, from the same company that produces FanExpo Canada. This year’s event featured more ‘name’ guests than usual. All the comics guests were still gathered together in one area, in rows of tables with those who had paid for their tables clustered in the middle. The ‘name’ guests were all on the far left of each row, so that their fans could line up against the wall and not block the aisles at all. It was a good system–although with the other end of each table being closed off by a booth that meant that all the other artists had to push past that name guest to get out.  I had some fear that my bag would swing off my shoulder and I would thwack Phil Jimenez across the head or knock over Mark Bagley’s standee.  (And I discovered quickly that I’m a lot more claustrophobic than I would have guessed–seeing the hordes blocking the only free end of the table as they waited for Jiminez and George Perez was a bit overwhelming at times).

There were a lot of familiar faces at our table–Gibson Quarter (a frequent collaborator of mine, a former student of Ty’s at TCW, and a collaborator with both of us on the Holmes Incorporated books); David J. Cutler (one of Ty’s former students, the artist on The Northern Guard, and currently working with me on Heroes of the North’s  Nordik:  Chilling Me Softly). On the other side of Ty was the inimitable Leonard Kirk, and then Mr. Phil Jimenez.

Across from us were the Teuton guys for Big Sexy ComicsFearless Fred Kennedy and Adam Gorham. I did pop by to say a quick hello, but they were busy with fans and questions, so I mostly left them be. George Perez was at the end of their table, easily identifiable by the big smile and the amazing shirts (a pattern of M and Ms the first day, and I believe a pattern of toy robots on the Sunday).

Got to meet and briefly chat with Claudia Davila (writer/artist of the kids book Luz See The Light) at a moment when she wasn’t busy with fans (or her daughter who was there on the Sunday in a wonderful fabric crown of pale purple with a big gold star and a long pink cape). On Sunday, I introduced myself to her husband Michael Cho and got to talk to him for a while. He and Ty had never actually physically met in all the years they’ve both been at Toronto cons so I introduced them. The result was a very energetic and passionate conversation about their favourite years of Jack Kirby’s  creativity (Ty said ’71-’76 stating that most people would prefer the 60s ,  but Michael was in complete agreement until Ty said “The Demon”.  There they parted ways…)

Wonder Woman by Michael Cho--I spent the whole con eying this. I've promised my daughter that I'm getting this for her next con...

I tried to wander around the con a couple of times but it was BUSY!! (My stories of conventions necessarily end up being pretty myopic as I spend most of my time at the table or wandering to another creator to chat for a while.) I mostly stayed with Ty to chat with people and answer questions for when Ty was too busy, to watch his space or David’s and Gibson’s (nice feeling to sell some of the prints that I’d coloured!)

Pencils Gibson Quarter, Inks Guillermo Ortego, Colours Keiren Smith

Ty made a run on Sunday to find Quarter or Dollar comic bins. He came back awed by the impressive pile he’d picked up from a bin of DIME comics. Dime comics!! Usually, he regards Quarter Comics as  The Best Purchase Ever and has reluctantly moved up to Dollar Comics in recent years. When he discovered the Dime Comics, I was stunned that he left any behind.

Over the two days, I waved quick hellos at various creators–but it was so busy with appreciative fans that there wasn’t  a lot of chance for conversations. That was saved for dinner on Saturday night. Local creators Agnes Garbowska and Francis Manapul let Yanick Paquette in on the location of one of their favourite restaurants (a Thai place down on Queen’s Quay) where they were awaiting Marcus To and Marco Rudy, so Yanick showed up with Gibson Quarter, Richard Pace, Phil Jiminez, Paolo Rivera and his partner April, and me and Ty.

We had a great time–lots of good food and, as is always the case after a long day at a con, sharing stories of some of the more interesting sketch requests (okay we’ve all heard about the honey guy, and the glue guy but…camel toe? Really?), battle stories and more. We even had a brief discussion of American politics (that was before we’d met up with the whole group–there were half a dozen of us in a bar awaiting drinks and I can’t remember what Phil Jiminez said but there was this great moment where everyone there realised that Phil had just opened up the conversation to something that would make Ty inordinately happy! Ty, son of a former radio and newsman, loveslovesloves to discuss politics, most particularly American politics. It was an energetic and rowdy fun conversation.)

Constant loud admiration has its benefits!! After commenting on Richard Pace's "Classic Mythology Odin" on his deviantART and posting it on Tumblr, Richard gave me a print!!

All in all–exhausting but worthwhile.  It’s always a bit strange for me at conventions–I prefer to let Ty make all the conversation so I have to really try to “put myself out there”. This works well in limited bursts–I’d try to meet a creator and say hello, and if their eyes shifted off to the side for the slightest moment, I’d have a brief panic that I was taking up too much of their time and melt away. On the other hand, I do like to warn people that if you make the mistake of talking to me, I’m likely to talk your ears off–one of the reasons people have trouble believing I’m as shy as I swear I am.

Ty and I still have loads of work to do before we catch up–two days away from our desks is a lot. But Ty made a point of telling me how glad he was that we ignored our deadlines and went out to dinner with everyone.  We were only sorry to have missed out on other opportunities to hang out, but we did have kids waiting for us at home…


It’s been a long strange summer (after a long strange spring and a long…blah blah blah) but Fan Expo Canada is this weekend which must mean it’s coming to an end! For our family, Fan Expo has always been the “official” sign that summer vacation is over and that school is around the corner. Ty would always take the eldest boy living in our house on the Friday who would ‘suss out’ the show for the younger kids (used to be Kellam, but he ended up working the show for years whilst an employee of The Silver Snail. Despite quitting the store, he’s actually helping them set up today, and will be at the booth tomorrow and Sunday).

Sunday we’d take the whole family and let the kids check everything out, usually in some costumes they’d insisted I put together THE NIGHT BEFORE…

This year, I’m going to be at the show myself for the whole four days with my own little table as well. Probably my table will end up with Ty’s art on it (given that I flat/colour/letter lots of his stuff that still counts), but there I will be. I’m sitting at PO56B, between David J. Cutler and Mr. Keiren Smith, as part of The Northern Guard art team.

Issue 2, page 9

Ty will be running a couple of workshops for the show. On Thursday, 5-6pm, he’ll be heading up Make Your Own Comic:  Assembling Holmes Incorporated #2, along with some of the creators, and assisstant editor Rob Pincombe. Toronto Cartoonists Workshop has a booth in the lobby area of FanExpo where you’ll be able to buy copies of the comic and meet creators.

Art by Leonard Kirk, colours by me, Concept/characters by Ty Templeton

On Saturday from 12-1pm, Ty will run Ty Templeton’s Comic Book Bootcamp to give people just a hint of what it’s like to take the full course with Ty. (courses available through TCW–the workshop will run Mondays or Tuesdays beginning September 12, but spaces are going fast).

Later that day, 4-5pm, Ty and his buddy Dan Slott will run Superhero Stew:  Create a Character with audience input. All the workshops will be in Room 717.

I’ll be walking in the room at 6pm to moderate Watercolour Masterclass with Jill Thompson. Not that Ms. Thompson will need any help from me–I’ll be there to help her field questions from the audience and maybe ask a few of my own.

On Sunday, from 4-5pm, I’ll be moderating a Painting Workshop with Jason Edmiston, (cover artist for The Northern Guard amongst many other things).

Heroes of the North, the Canadian superheroes webseries for whom I’ve lettered comics (and coloured their latest Hornet:  Dark Origins) will be in Booth 211. They will also be having a Meet and Greet on Friday, Room 713, from 4:30pm.

Story by Yann Brouillette, Art by MAS, colours/letters by me

And…Tights and Fights, the comedy Canadian superhero webseries will be there as well, in Booth 1000. At some point during the weekend, you might find me there…their webcomic is available online now.

Art by Christopher Yao, Story by Rob Pincombe, colours/letters by me

So…hope to see you there.


Wizard World Toronto Comic Con

Just dropped by the Con yesterday for a quickie visit:  the Guy had been sick earlier in the week and wasn’t up to going in on Friday. Saturday was his one year anniversary of doing Bun Toons on his art blog, so he really wanted to make sure he got his new Bun Toon up before we left for the day. Between that and Toronto traffic, we weren’t on the convention floor until 3pm.

I helped Ty set up and he immediately got to sketching. I chatted with some of the other artists who told tales of being very pleased with the Friday show. All said that the attendance had been sparse, but that fans were enthusiastic, chatty and eager to buy pages and commission sketches. I wandered by the Guy’s table every now and then to see how he was, but he was always busy at a sketch and telling tales.

It was FREEZING COLD in the building yesterday–I was regretting having fallen for The Weather Network’s promises of sun and warmth which led me to leave home in a tshirt and boyfriend blazer. I envied Ty the leather jacket I had tried to talk him out of wearing.

I spent more time sitting and shivering than wandering about! But, I did briefly drag a chair over to talk to Richard Pace who was sitting more-or-less behind Ty. Dale Keown was right beside Richard but he was intent on a commission so we just said a quick hello. Richard was hard at work on a Jonah Hex commission, but was still able to chat. Next time I have to pack a few more dollars–Richard had a couple of beautiful prints of his work for sale. One was a print of the Transmetropolitan pinup he recently did; the second was a pinup from his planned graphic novel adaptation of Lovecraft’s Shadows over Innismouth.

I sat at Gibson Quarter’s table for him while he ran off to get coffee (lucky, lucky man had a wife who went and got him a hot cup of Timmy’s coffee and double-parked to drop it off to him! As he came back to the con, he was stopped repeatedly by people asking eagerly where he got it). It gave me a chance to check out all the prints that Gibson has for sale (some of them might look familiar to readers of this blog who know that I’ve done a bit of colouring for Gib). His latest print is a cover for Wasted magazine which the one and only Jamie Grant coloured…very, very nice indeed. He had copies of Wasted for sale, and Holmes Inc. (and he’s a participant in the newest version of  Fit to Print’s Holmes Inc.). Hung out and talked a bit with Gibson but I tried to leave him alone so he could finish some commissioned work.

Speaking of Fit to Print’s Holmes Inc. …I ran into Rob Pincombe who was a writer last time out, and is a writer/assistant editor this time. Rob was at the con as a fanboy, comic book writer (and probably keeping an eye out for anything interesting, now that he’s a contributing writer to Sequential, the online site which covers Canadian comic book news).

Rob was on a trek to meet Mike Grell and commission a drawing. This enabled me to tell Mr. Grell the tale of Ty having included him in his list of The Top Seven Comics Creators who can KICK YOUR ASS. I think Mr. Grell might be too nice a man to kick anyone’s ass–he was lovely and generous  in the brief time we talked to him and was amused when I told him of Ty’s list. Although I had completely misremembered and he’s number three not five as I had thought!

It’s always fun to run into someone I only know online–I’ve worked with Robert J. Lewis a couple times and he and I sometimes chat and vent about work experiences…and yesterday was actually the first time I’ve been in a room with him, despite his having been a member of the original Bootcamp Comics crew.

a page of Robert J. Lewis art I lettered back for Bootcamp Comics August 2009

Christopher Yao, a Holmes Inc. contributor,  was there selling copies of Fauntkin #1, and some preview pages of #2, and was pretty pleased with how the show was going for him (although poor Kate agreed with me that it was FREEZING COLD).


While running around looking for Liana K. (who was busy judging a costume contest at the time so I talked to Steven J. Kerzner instead. We managed to keep it somewhat cheerful and upbeat and not succumb to just snarling about the current state of our democracy!), had brief chats with Adam Gorham, also a Holmes Inc. contributor, and the  artist behind Teuton.


All in all, very low-key and easy going.

When the con ended, given how low-key and easy going it was, it was easy to quickly organise a crowd of comics creators to gather for dinner. Dinner, for me, was truly the best part of the day. The Guy and I joined Gibson Quarter, Rob Pincombe and one of the absolute nicest guys in comics, Yanick Paquette (we traded stories of ER visits for our respective children). I met Francis Manapul for the first time (actually a bit of a quandary for me–not sure who is the official Nicest Guy in Comics, Yanick or Francis. Francis has more natural enthusiasm for his job than I’ve seen in a long time. Quite amazing after all the time that he’s been working). I had to tell him that Ty,  a huge fan of the strange, the unknown and the mythical,  was crazy-jealous of Francis’ gig on Beast Legends. (Honestly, we have bookshelves filled with books on UFOs, urban legends, etc.)

I had spent a bit of time at the con admiring Agnes Garbowska’s work–kind of hard not to, actually. Kind of hard to stare at and not use the word “adorable” waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many times. I think I tried for “ridiculously adorable” as a variant. I think her print of ridiculously adorable Supergirl was my favourite. (note to self–bring lots of $$ next convention). Anyway, having been fangirl at the con, it was fun to sit at a table and chat (although chatting was hampered by the jazz band and the acoustics of the restaurant. There was a lot of shouting and sign language). I hope I didn’t harm Richard Zajac’s hearing as he was next to me.

Kalman Andrasofszky joined us and the artists all got into a lively and amusing conversation as to their attitudes to their drawings and convention sketches (Ty is famous for being apologetic for almost every single one no matter how happy the recipient. Wanna make Ty cringe? Show him one of his convention sketches).

It was pretty eye-opening for me–and probably would be for young artists to know that every single artist in the world has times of artistic angst and crisis, and times when they’re happy and confident in their work. I think the main thing I took out of it was how genuinely happy that whole bunch is to be able to meet fans and talk to them and do sketches and commissions.

With children at home waiting for us (and phoning me constantly on the cell), and the noise level increasing in the restaurant (the Guy and I both have hearing issues), we decided to head out…so I know there were lots of other amazing creators there who I didn’t have a chance to meet and chat with. Hopefully, I’ll have other opportunities in the future…


Friday August 27

I stayed home with the younger kids, sent Ty and the teenager off to the con.  Thought about all the things we wanted to do to get Ty ready for the show which we ran out of time and to do…

Neither Ty nor the progeny like to take photos, so I relied on the world to post some pics. Here’s one of Ty, chatting people up at the Toronto Cartoonists Workshop booth, by a member of TCW/Holmes Incorporated Rachael Wells.

Ty at TCW booth (photo by Rachael Wells)

Saturday August 28

Two hour drive to get into Toronto from Mississauga/Oakville border…normally a 25 minute drive to the Convention Centre. Thank you , Summer Construction season which saw the one exit for the Canadian Exhibition closed which meant everyone had to exit at Spadina and double-back–which meant that the bulk of our time was actually on that off-ramp.

By the time we got to Simcoe Street and realized the South Parking Lot was closed, drove up and found the North Lot the same, Ty literally just jumped out of the car at the stoplight while I scuttled around to the driver’s seat! Luckily he was able to just be Ty and actually force his way into the Con…minutes later, I’d parked and discovered that the con had been shut down by the Fire Marshal and that many, many people had to leave the building before more could get in. I hightailed it off to Guest Relations to get a badge which had the power to get me up to the con floor.

Too hot and sweaty and cranky to wander, I sat at Ty’s seat in Artists’ Alley, went over once to TCW to see how Ty and Gibson Quarter were doing as they signed copies of Holmes Incorporated and promoted the school.

Gibson Quarter and Ty Templeton at TCW booth

That was my one foray out–I tried to go down Artists’ Alley once to say hi to people, managed ten feet…then realized it would be quicker just to turn around and go sit down.

Luckily, I had company at the table, and lots of people came by to see Ty and stayed to chat. More than a few even came to see me–I lettered six of the stories in Holmes Incorporated, and some of the contributors came by to introduce themselves and thank me. Once they’re all big stars they’ll understand that they don’t even need to know the letterer’s name–the lowest of the low on the comic book totem pole! (Unless your name is Richard Starkings or Todd Klein. Or Chris Eliopoulos. Or…) But Christopher Yao gave me a copy of his book, Fauntkin:  Journey to the Electric Horizon, and Adam Gorham of Big Sexy Comics came by to chat.

I was sitting next to David J. Cutler, artist for Northern Guard. David was selling prints of Bucky O’Hare, He-Man and Bizarro (and Bizarro Krypto which prompted one young girl to squeal, “what’s wrong with that dog?”). I have fond memories of sitting on the sofa with Kellam singing the Bucky O’Hare theme song with him, so I bought a print for him. David and I normally spend a bit of time on Facebook arguing over something I’ve posted or claimed…it was nice to get a chance to talk in person, although he was incredibly busy with commissions and selling his prints. Check out David’s blog, Drawings for Humans, for a look-see at his prints…and leave him a comment.

David Cutler hard at work

Gibson Quarter was on Ty’s other side, but he was off signing with Ty, then off to moderate a panel, so I spent time chatting with his beautiful daughter and watching fanboys try to figure out how to chat her up themselves. Although more than a few were equally taken with her dad’s art. Check out Gibson’s eponymous art blog, to see what he has for sale…he’s thinking about adding a PayPal account so you can buy a print even if you can’t make it to one of his appearances.

Jason Edmiston and his wife, Tanya, were on the other side of David Cutler. Tanya is a favourite with those in Artists’ Alley–that might seem obvious when you see her (beautiful and incredibly sweet) but she usually comes bearing trays of cookies and muffins. Jason is one of the nicest guys you’ll meet in–and one of the best. He’s currently working with Ty and David, doing the covers for Northern Guard. Check out his art site for more of his work.

I left the show at 5pm to pick up my kids and pass them over to their sister-in-law for the evening…when I left, word was that 1000 people had to leave the con for anyone else to be allowed in. There was not only an entry line for people wanting to buy tickets, those who had pre-purchased tickets…there was a heckuva line for the re-entry folks. The show closing time was pushed back an hour to try and accommodate some of those who had waited in line to get in  for nearly three hours.)

Kellam at The Silver Snail booth

(Ran into my son, as I was leaving, working at The Silver Snail booth. Nice surprise as I had thought he was at the store location all weekend. )

Sunday August 29

(brought the kids in. It was so crowded and so busy at 11am when we got there an hour after opening that the kids were actually taken aback, and it took them awhile to warm up to the idea of wandering around. Luckily, Tanya had some muffins to keep them occupied. I tried walking around with the kids a couple of times, but gave up pretty quickly and let them roam wild and free. They would come back periodically to drop off free posters and stickers they’d acquired and try to convince me of the toys they desperately had to have. Kate bought a print from Archie Comics’ artist, Dan Parent and got a signature, which thrilled her no end. Taylor’s best purchase was his Ellis Bullshifters t-shirt (Left 4 Dead). Sean just loved the whole world and the whole day and the Halo Reach game and the cool this and the cool that. And he bought a Transformer which I was assured was the best Transformer ever.

Got to chat–albeit briefly–with Gabriel Morrisette, Rob Pincombe, and Richard Pace.

All in all, seemed to be a pretty good con for many…Ty didn’t do as many sketches as he has in the past, nor sold as many pages, but his students all did well promoting themselves and their work, so  he was pretty pleased.