Only 20 seats are available in the one-year certificate program which leads up to graduating and presenting their final project at the Camosun Comic Arts Festival. They’re all talented individuals!
The 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.
The Perogy Cat is a fixture in Victoria, BC and this comic book character is going to be roasted, no “hanged” at Trounce Alley Gallery come November 23rd. This art show starts at 5pm and will feature pieces from her 14 year history with artist Gareth K. Gaudin present. Many original pieces of his work will become available for sale for the first time. Ever since she came into being 2003, her popularity has only grown. Gaudin created this character as a way to help raise money for his girlfriend’s diabetic cat’s insulin, and for reasons unexplained, the popularity only skyrocketed.
This cat has appeared in many comic strips, sandwich boards (Walk by Street Level Espresso on 714 Fort Street, and you’ll spot her), books, videos and art projects. Barenaked Ladies’ Ed Robertson (to which she has a crush on) composed a single (available in vinyl) dedicated to this cat, and what’s next is anybody’s guess. Maybe we can see a cartoon? The Perogy Cat frequents Legends Comics & Books, and if you can’t make it to this show, you can see her antics at the store and at http://www.magicteeth.ca (when it’s back online, the website is currently down at time of writing).
Comic collectors are sort of everywhere, but nobody is really speculating these days.
Buying comics used to be a big hobby for baby-boomers two decades ago, and for appreciators of sequential art, it still is. But if one thinks the printed medium is worth something, I feel that newer titles are harder to resell at full market value. Comic collectors are sort of everywhere, but nobody is really speculating these days. Getting your hands on golden age titles, like the first appearance of Spider-Man in Amazing Fantasy (see left) requires re-mortgaging your home for a mint condition edition stored in a mylar strength bag.
Today, most people in their 30’s to late 70’s just buy to read, and a handful of these readers stores them in a comic bag and backing board. That’s a sign of a collector. Al Coccola has been in this hobby for more than 50 years. And on the retail side that’s what both managers Bill Rice of Curious Comics and Gareth Gaudin of Legends find as part of their customer base.
He believes investors have climate-controlled attics with rare comics, and speculators with 20 copies of Todd McFarlane’s Spider-Man #1 are hoping that it’ll be worth millions one day. They’re also known as investors.
“But it’s more about cross promotion and the product can be enjoyed more by spinning comic book films in new directions,” says Saunders.
Comic book films are very often a tough sell in a mass market that’s picky about what they like seeing. While Hollywood sees the medium as a readymade—a product that comic book readers are familiar with—to attract new converts requires a product that has to be easily accessible, if not understandable.
“For example, Walking Dead, flies off the shelves like bats looking for human flesh,” says Steven Saunders, a comic book writer and columnist for the industry for five years, “and Robert Kirkman takes concepts that’s been overdone and he makes it interesting.”
But with the box office these days, originality only goes so far. Saunders used to write for All The Rage, a gossip column about the comic book industry on Comics Bulletin and he would rather go watch the movie than to follow 40 years of comic book continuity.