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Canadian Comics Comes to Tokyo for International Comics Festa

By November 14, 2012

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Toronto Comic Arts Festival doujinshiThis week, a contingent of Canadian comics creators and publishers have descended upon Tokyo to show their stuff at gallery exhibits, art happenings, and primarily, to show and sell their work at the first ever International Comics Festa (a.k.a. Kaigai Manga Festa) at Tokyo Big Sight on Sunday, November 18.

At Comics Festa, TCAF will be selling a very special full-color comics anthology (doujinshi) featuring artwork by Canadian comics creators, including Marc Bell, Darwyn Cooke, Bryan Lee O'Malley, Seth, Jillian Tamaki, Peter Thompson, Noel Tuazon, and Maurice Vellekoop (who will also be attending the show), plus original comics by Japanese manga-ka / TCAF guest artists Natsume Ono (House of Five Leaves) and Usamaru Furuya (Lychee Light Club), who are contributing their diary comics from their trip to Toronto in 2011.

Organized by the folks who put on the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) and sponsored in part by a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts, the TCAF crew will showing their stuff at a series of events throughout Tokyo this week. Here's a run-down of the scheduled events and comics creators/publishers who'll be attending this very special comics show.

ART EXHIBIT: TCAF Presents: En Masse in Tokyo
November 13th to November 15th at Design Festa Gallery WEST Room 1-D in Harajuku, 3-20-18, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001. Admission: FREE and open to the public

Design Festa Gallery logoEN MASSE is a Montreal based, multi-artist collaborative drawing project. It draws life from the many creative individuals who take part in the project to create large-scale, highly spontaneous drawings in black and white.

A group of Canadian and Japanese artists led by En Masse mainstay Rupert Bottenberg will collaboratively create three brand new works from blank canvas', with the public invited to (unobtrusively) view the creation process. Then, from the 13th to the 15th, all three new narrative art works will be on display and for sale at the legendary Design Festa Gallery, founded by acclaimed contemporary artist Takeshi Murakami.

ART EXHIBIT/RECEPTION: TCAF Presents: "Canada Comic Arts"
November 15 - December 2, 2012 at Shibuya Parco Part One B1F, Inside Parco Book Center at Presspop Gallery. Reception: Sunday, November 18, from 7:00 pm. Admission: Free and open to the public

a Nut at the OperaThis exhibit curated by the TCAF crew, features the work of Canadian cartoonists, including several artists that will be in Tokyo for the show. Maurice Vellekoop (A Nut at the Opera, from Drawn & Quarterly), Love Love Hill (an artists' collective that includes artists Wai Au, Kim Hoang, Julie Man), Rupert Bottenberg, Jeffrey Ellis, Agnes Garbowska, David Namisato, and Ben Rivers. Representatives from Drawn & Quarterly and Koyama Press will also be attending.

This exhibition of work expresses the diversity of theme, media, and background of TCAF, with participating artists from across Canada, specifically Vancouver, Toronto, and Montreal. The common theme is a commitment to personal expression, and a uniquely Canadian merging of influences and styles from classic and contemporary illustration,western comics, manga and anime, and fan-produced Japanese doujinshi.

COMICS EVENT: TCAF at International Comics Festa
Sunday, November 18, 2012 - 11:00 am - 4:00 pm at Tokyo Big Sight, East-West Atrium, 3-11-1 Ariake, Koutou-ku, Tokyo. Admission: Admission 1000 yen

Tokyo Big SightKaigai Manga Festa is the first ever Tokyo exhibition of international comics and graphic novels. Featuring a selection of outstanding authors from around the world, including Katsuhiro Otomo (Akira), Naoki Urasawa (Pluto, 20th Century Boys), Benoit Peeters and Francois Shuiten (Cities of the Fantastic), Emmanuel LePage (Muchacho), and Regis Loisel (Peter Pan), the festival is attracted to draw tens of thousands of attendees and comics authors, interested in international comics.

LoveLoveHillTCAF will be on hand to represent Canadian comics culture, with the support of Canadian publishers Drawn & Quarterly, Koyama Press, and UDON Entertainment, and alongside major publisher pavillions from France, Germany, Korea, Singapore, The United States, and Japan.

12 Canadian authors will participate in TCAF's exhibition, with both books and visual arts on display. Authors include Rupert Bottenberg, Omar Dogan, Jeffrey Ellis, Agnes Garbowska, Dax Gordine, Love Love Hill (Collective featuring Wai Au, Kim Hoang, Julie Man), David Namisato, Benjamin Rivers, Miguel Sternberg, Maurice Vellekoop.

Needless to say, I'll be in Tokyo (that's where I am now!), so I'll be there to take it all in, take photos and hopefully meet lots and lots of comics creators and comics fans from all over the world. Follow me on Twitter at @debaoki and @aboutmanga, and on Instagram at @debaoki as I take lots of photos of the fun that's in store this week.

Image credits: Toronto Comic Arts Festival, Design Festa Gallery, Maurice Vellekoop, Deb Aoki, Kim Hoang

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