Sequential State – the comics criticism archive of Alex Hoffman

Transmissions from: TCAF 2014

This was my first TCAF. It was the big promise I made to myself earlier this year when the indie comics crowd started rumbling. I was hooked when I read con reports of TCAF 2013, but hadn’t admitted it to myself.

I drove in from Cleveland. It was about 4.5 hours + 2 hours sitting in traffic. I had tickets for the Lynn Johnson/Kate Beaton/Raina Telgemeier kick off, but found out too late that traffic in and out of downtown Toronto grinds to a stop and start mess as far away as 30 km from the city center. Which is a shame, because I heard it was a killer panel.

Getting to talk to creators like Michael DeForge, Sophie Yanow, Sam Alden, Box Brown, Peter Wartman, and Conor Stechschulte was one of the best things about the con, even if it was basically me gushing and sometimes handing out a business card.

The actual best thing about the show was meeting long-time internet pals Erica Friedman, Deb Aoki, Brigid Alverson, Johanna Draper Carlson, and Lissa Pattillo. These people are remarkable human beings, and I would not have had nearly as special of a con without them.

I also briefly met Sean Gaffney and Ed Chavez, two other fine people from the manga-dome, and it was nice to put a face to a name. I’m hopeful that this interaction won’t be the last.


(Setting up for the Michael DeForge and Friends Panel)

The panels I went to were all pretty stellar. I live-tweeted the Women in Manga panel, moderated by Deb Aoki. Check out my twitter feed for some commentary there. Clearly a lot of time and energy went into making these things run well.


(The Women in Manga panel, which I livetweeted starting here)

Of note, the Contemporary Erotic Comics panel attendance was jam packed, standing room only, and was like 90% women and really sex positive and wonderful.

Toronto was a lovely city and there was a lot of great food, but it makes me wonder how I managed to keep my head on my shoulders when I didn’t have a digital device to cling to. Being without internet access for most of the con was surprisingly debilitating, which is honestly pretty sad.


(my day 1 TCAF spoils of war)

I met a lot of cool creators, but the place was huge, and there’s only so much money you can spend. Many of the best properties sold out at the show. I missed a lot of good comics. Here’s an example.

Overall TCAF was affirming, joy-filled, and exhausting. There were so many wonderful people and books. Hats off to Chris Butcher and the TCAF team for putting together a great show, and a big shout out to the volunteers at TCAF. I’m looking forward to next time.

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