You might know about the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) which is a comic con held in the Toronto Reference Library every year. It’s supposed to be great, and I’ve never been. But, this year was the first VanCAF, a smaller indie comics show that I really enjoyed being part of.
One of the things I’ve learned in the process of interviewing librarians about association-work is that conventions and conferences are a lot more interesting if you’re there doing something rather than just attending. I put that to the test and volunteered for VanCAF even though it was free to get into. I wanted to have a little bit of skin in the game, so I could say I helped with the first VanCAF, especially if it becomes more awesome as years go by.
This one was pretty great. I loved the space it was in, the Roundhouse. There was a whole wall of windows and fresh air coming in so it didn’t feel shut away from the world (especially because the weather was so nice this weekend). Some of my volunteering duties took me outside, where I put up posters on Friday (which were gone by Saturday morning because apparently Vancouver has a poster mafia which we were unable to pay off) and handed out flyers at the beginning of the day on Sunday. Japadog was on site and Chris Hastings drew a picture commemorating the good Doctors McNinja’s love of the franchise.
The best part of volunteering was actually covering people’s booths while they went for lunch. I covered for Klara Woldenga and sold an adorable crocheted killoctopus for her, Critical Hit Comics so they could both attend a live podcast, Carina Piccioni, and Ryan Pequin and Emily Partridge. The exhibitors seemed really happy with this arrangement and were really great to the volunteers. It was fun to be on the other side of the table, selling things and chatting with their neighbours (including Doug Savage). I felt involved with the con and had a great time.
Once I was done volunteering I bought some books, including the new Delilah Dirk, the SciFi anthology from Cloudscape, the new edition of Joey Comeau‘s Lockpick Pornography and a comic by Mike Deas, which is interesting because it’s from Orca Books, one of Canada’s big YA publishers that I didn’t know did comics at all. I also got to attend a panel where the panelists (including David Malki ! made a comic live on stage while discussing the art of humour writing. It was chaotic but also kind of awesome.
So yes, VanCAF was a pretty great little indie comics show. It seemed busy both days and I heard many favourable comparisons between it and Stumptown, and also how MoCCA used to be before it got so big. I’m very glad to have been part of VanCAF’s first year.