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Comics/Graphic Novels

The TCAF Catch-Up—Indie Comics, Part 3

Ardo Omer

Staff Writer

Ardo Omer has a BA in criminology and a minor in creative writing. She’s a senior writer at Women Write About Comics and Batman seeks her advice constantly. Blog: Ardo Omer Twitter: @ArdoOmer

Ardo chronicles the books she’s picked up at the last three years of the Toronto Comics Arts Festival, discussing what she loved about each of them. See Part 1 and Part 2 of this series.

Red Handed: The Fine Art of Strange Crimes by Matt Kindt Red Handed: The Fine Art of Strange Crimes by Matt Kindt (TCAF 2013)

I picked up Red Handed at my first TCAF after having just read the fantastic MIND MGMT Volume 1: The Manager. It wasn’t what I expected when I first dove in, and what I expected was a very straightforward crime story. Detective Gould hasn’t met a crime he hasn’t solved in the city of Red Wheelbarrow so when a string of eccentric, and strange crimes are seemingly done at random, he’s stumped. While you’re trying to find out if Gould will find the connection between these crimes, the book plays with the story’s structure by having mini stories that are linked only by the presence of Gould before they begin to bleed into each other. I liked the way Kindt used this genre to debate morality, crime, and justice which are a thematic weakness of mine. Finally, I loved the art work, and the use of paper clippings, and side stories via comic strips throughout. I was also a big fan of the water colouring courtesy of Ella Kindt. Check it out.

The Storm by Megan Lavey-Heaton and Isabelle MelançonThe Storm by Megan Lavey-Heaton and Isabelle Melançon (TCAF 2015)

I’ve covered Bad End by Megan Lavey-Heaton, and Isabelle Melançon in TCAF Part 1, and now they’ve returned with The Storm. I really love the art in this because of the sparse use of bright colours like the red for the shawl and the light blue for the spirit. It’s a story about a woman waiting for her husband to return from the war where the American colonists are trying to take Quebec City from the British. She meets a spirit that saves her life but you’ll have to read the rest to find out what happens next. Visually, it’s stunning read.




Toronto Comics Anthology (Vol. Two) edited by Steven Andrews, Nelson da Rocha, and Miike SomethingToronto Comics Anthology (Vol. Two) edited by Steven Andrews, Nelson da Rocha, and Miike Something (TCAF 2015)

I’ve covered the first volume of the anthology in part one, and I didn’t like the second volume as much. There are a lot more people involved, and the creator pool is more diverse than the last volume but I didn’t enjoy the stories in this one like I did the other. It’s not surprising since you’re rolling the dice on number of stories that will engage you in a collection but this one had less for me to devour happily. I enjoyed Hero by Mark Foo, and Greg Jensen but that was it. Of course, this is a case of personal taste so this could be a great read to someone else. I’m just disappointed that it didn’t click with me.

I didn’t get to Lynda Barry’s Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor before TCAF 2016 but I hope to do so in the future. It’s a book that requires readers to participate in the assignments so I wanted to dedicate time to that. If you wanted to get a feel of the books debuting at TCAF 2016, check out Panelteer Hélène’s post. This brings this TCAF series to a close. I hope you’ve found a book that has caught your attention, and if you ever find yourself in Toronto in early May, stop by TCAF!