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Camosun Comic Arts Festival 2023 Post Event Report

Camosun Comic Arts Festival 2023 PosterThe start of this decade was off to a rocky start for anyone who loves their pop culture and comic book style conventions. That’s because the health scare had some events cancelled or stopped altogether. Thankfully the Camosun Comic Arts Festival persevered. It returned in 2022, and I attended; however, there wasn’t much to report since it’s tough to resume with all engines running after a pandemic and what I have to say would be no different from past coverage.

The 2023 event is this program’s 10th Anniversary! Not only did it change to the Wilna Thomas Center, but also it was put into one room. As a result, it stopped being like a comic book convention. Gone are the massive dealer’s room, a schedule of guest lectures and the “drawing room.” What was offered yesterday is how a Comic Arts Festival should run; it’s about discovering new talents and learning about where they want to take their works to.

Legends Comics shop co-owner and Perogy Cat illustrator, Gareth Gaudin, who is now the head of this program, said he wanted to bring this event back to its roots–to celebrate the sequential art medium–and have people together in one space rather than spread out. That way, attendees can meet all the talents under one roof. This organiser wasn’t given a budget. If he was offered one, Gaudin most likely would have gone all out to recognise 10 glorious years, but that’s another story.

This event is all about helping these graduates get noticed amongst locals. And with this article, to the world. It also helps give local talents who are already established an additional boost. To see the two together helps turn a newcomer to become an industry leader. What’s presented at this event is just like browsing any convention’s Artists Alley.

Here, I got to see familiar faces. Renee Nault is best known for illustrating Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and Nelson Dewey is a name familiar to those who love their cinema and comic strips. He’s been a storyboard artist, instructor, and illustrator for many projects throughout his freelance career. I was glad to see Lawrence Denvir (pictured below) present. I’ll forever remember his work in Monsterella!

Without these talents to nurture the minds of new artists when they do guest lectures, they may not know how to take their work to the next level. The following photos are of those whose work has caught my attention.

Only 20 seats are available in the one-year program, and honestly, they’re all talented. I dabbled in writing for comic books, but that was a long time ago. I know the power of literature a lot more than how to make an ideal brush stroke. I’m certain past graduates have brilliant self-publishing careers though, and as for those who made it to the big leagues, perhaps it’s time for Camosun College to advertise that list.

Camosun Comic Arts Festival 2023 Mini-Gallery

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