Vancouver Comic Arts Festival 2017

Artwork by Brandon Graham


The Vancouver Comic Arts Festival 2017 is almost here! The Roundhouse will host the free two-day event May 20+21, with a vendor fair featuring hundreds of comic creators from BC and elsewhere, panels, workshops and art lessons for kids. Festival hours are 10AM to 5PM on Saturday and Sunday. More info below.

Full List of VanCAF 2017 Panels & Workshops


The Terrifying World of Kids Comics
Saturday at 10:30 – 11:15 AM in the Performance Centre
Kids comics are a big deal in the comics business these days. But what do you need to watch out for when you’re creating comics for kids? When it comes to violence, drugs and alcohol, scariness, and mature themes, how much is too much? What’s acceptable/unacceptable to publishers, to parents, and to the kids themselves? Laser Moose and Rabbit Boy creator Doug Savage hosts Strangebeard’s Kelly Tindall, Katie Shanahan (Silly Kingdom), Kean Soo (March Grand Prix), Faith Erin Hicks (The Nameless City), and Mike Lawrence (Star Scouts)
Panelists: Doug Savage, Kelly Tindall, Katie Shanahan, Kean Soo, Faith Erin Hicks, Mike Lawrence

Fantastic Comics & How to Create Them
Saturday at 11:30 AM – 12:15 PM in the Performance Centre
From the magically urban to the ancient and otherworldly, this panel will explore a large body of work from a diverse range of contemporary cartoonists whose stories reinterpret and interrogate this genre’s traditions. Hosted by Inkstuds: the radio show about comics.
Panelists: Jayd Ait-Kaci, Farel Dalrymple, Evan Dahm, Sam Beck, Kel McDonald, Sloane Leong

Looks Good Enough to Eat: Comics and Food
Saturday at 12:30 – 1:15 PM in the Performance Centre
What kinds of stories do we really tell when we make comics about food? What can food illustration teach us about technique, history, family and diaspora? What are the unique challenges of translating a multi-sensory culinary experience into a two-dimensional visual format? Are comics an underutilized medium for illustrating recipes? Join us for a panel discussion exploring the intricate relationship between comics, art, and food.
Panelists: Sarah Becan, Jade Feng Lee, Blue Delliquanti, Levi Hastings, Becca Tobin

A French Comics Introduction
Saturday at 1:30 – 2:15 PM in the Performance Centre
France has a very robust community of comic creators, but many Canadians may not be familiar with it. Join French comic guests Marcelino Truong (A Lovely Little War) and Sandrine Revel (Glenn Gould: A Life Off Temp), along with Xaviere Daumarie (Women of the Otherworld) and Ash Kohari (Black City Birds) as they discuss their comics, and the differences between those made in France and North America. Our panelists explain how culture, language, and audience inform everything from storytelling to artistic decisions.
Panelists: Marcelino Truong, Sandrine Revel, Xaviere Daumarie, Ash Kohari

Autobio: it’s the Slice of Life
Saturday at 2:30 – 3:15 PM in the Performance Centre
Autobio comics have pervaded comics since it’s not-too-early inception in the 70s, from brutal confessions to pedantic self-justifications. We will talk with contemporary cartoonists who create comics that weave truth in the abstract as they examine their history and everyday life experiences to crystallize the little realities of their life on the page. Hosted by Inkstuds: the radio show about comics.
Panelists: Charissa So, Karen Shangguan, Mary Verhoeven, Louisa Tsui, Sloane Leong

Spotlight on Katherine Collins and Neil the Horse
Saturday at 3:30 – 4:15 PM in the Performance Centre
Arn Saba’s Neil the Horse ran 15 issues in the 1980s. With its tagline, “Making the World Safe for Musical Comedy” it is the world’s only musical comic book. It is a totally original hybrid influenced more by Carl Barks and Fred Astaire than by the underground comics of the time. Originally produced under the name Arn Saba, Neil’s creator transitioned to Katherine Collins after the last issue. At VanCAF Collins launches her massive archival The Collected Neil the Horse book (Conundrum) and discusses her life in comics, and where the heck she has been since 1993.
Panelists: Katherine Collins, Brandon Graham



Hash Out Your Cash! Understanding Freelance Finances
Sunday at 10:30 – 11:15 AM in the Performance Centre
It’s never easy making it as a freelancer, but what if we don’t even know what “making it” means? Join adventure cartoonist Lucy Bellwood (Baggywrinkles) for a frank, friendly discussion about financial transparency, personal values, and strategies for crafting a sustainable path in comics—because money is terrifying, and it’s time we talked about it.
Panelists: Lucy Bellwood, Hope Nicholson, James F. Wright, Jeph Jacques, and Steve Lieber

How to Kickstart Your Comic Like a Pro
Sunday at 11:30 AM – 12:15 PM in the Performance Centre
Want to know how to run a successful Kickstarter campaign? Join Kickstarter experts C. Spike Trotman (Iron Circus Comics), Hope Nicholson (Bedside Press), and Zan Christensen (Northwest Press) for a discussion on planning, running and fulfilling a successful Kickstarter campaign. Bring your notebooks, this crew will be sharing all the secrets.
Panelists: C. Spike Trotman, Hope Nicholson, Zan Christensen

Building a Comics Community
Sunday at 1:00 – 1:45 PM in Workshops (Room C)
Comics can be a discouraging and isolating endeavor so how do you connect with other artists and what are the best ways to support each other? A discussion about comic collectives, comic non-profit societies as well as drink and draws and drawing meet ups.
Panelists: Jeffrey Ellis, Oliver McTavish-Wisden, Jason Turner

Colin Upton in conversation with Ronnie Tessler and Ilona Shulman Spaar about “Kicking at the Darkness”
Sunday at 1:30 – 2:15 PM in the Performance Centre
Colin Upton is the creator of the comic “Kicking at the Darkness,” which was commissioned to accompany “Canada Responds to the Holocaust, 1944-45,” an original exhibition of the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre (VHEC). Colin will be in conversation with Ronnie Tessler, one of the research directors and writers of the exhibition, and Ilona Shulman Spaar, education director of the VHEC. Colin will discuss the process of creating “Kicking at the Darkness,” his interest in Second World War history, his influences and his other works. He will also address the challenges and opportunities of using the comic medium to educate high school students and others about the Holocaust, liberation and their aftermaths. The integration of the comic into the VHEC ‘s school programs will also be discussed.
Panelists: Colin Upton, Ronnie Tessler, Illona Shulman Spaar

Comics in Education
Sunday at 2:00 – 2:45 PM in Workshops (Room C)
Look how far we’ve come! Comics in schools. How has comics education evolved in the past decade. Look and the fundamentals of comic art education for youth and grad school.
Panelists: Jeffrey Ellis, Bevan Thomas, Julian Lawrence, Miriam Libicki, Jonathon Dalton

Chip Zdarsky, wtf?!
Sunday at 2:30 – 3:15 PM in the Performance Centre
Unfortunately popular Canadian comic guests Ryan North was unable to attend this year, so we found the other guy who wrote Jughead, and we brought him instead. Most famous for his near-miss mayoral run against Rob Ford in Toronto, and his autobiographical comic series Watchmen 2, Chip Zdarsky has the prestigious honor of winning best new talent after ten years in the industry. Come listen to him speak, and ask him your burning questions.
Panelist: Chip Zdarsky

Queer Witches of Color: How Fantasy Can Empower Us All
Sunday at 3:00 – 3:45 PM in Workshops (Room C)
Fantasy is a genre that lets us escape into worlds of magic and supernatural possibility. When you engage with works of fantasy, how easily can you see yourself? Join our panel of fantastical cartoonists as they relate their personal experiences with the fantasy genre: how they got into fantasy, their favorite stories, not-so-good stories and why, how their favorite storytellers have influenced their own comics, and their hopes/dreams for the future of fantasy in comics.
Panelists: Joamette Gil, Judy Jong, Jayd Ait-Kaci, Der-shing Helmer, Jade Feng Lee

Sequential Sci-Fi: Visually Exploring The Unknown
Sunday at 3:30 – 4:15 PM in the Performance Centre
From imperialistic space opera to dystopic cyberpunk, this panel will explore the literary traditions and ever-shifting limits of the SF genre with cartoonists who are pushing the boundaries in their own unique personal way. Hosted by Inkstuds: the radio show about comics.
Panelists: Brandon Graham, Simon Roy, Kelly Kwang, Morgan Jeske, Sloane Leong

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