Art above by Lon Levin all right reserved. For more go to http://www.levinlandstudio.com
By Fiona Smyth, painter, illustrator, and cartoonist
In the Comics and Graphic Novels course in OCAD U’s Continuing Studies, I explore and share information about the exciting contemporary comics scene. In recent years the media has rung the death knell of publishing but surprisingly there is a wealth of graphic novels being published.
The biggest trends in comics:
- The popularity and critical acclaim of autobiographic and graphic memoir work like Art Spiegelman’s Maus, Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis and Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home
- The rise of newer cartooning genres like journalistic comics such as Joe Sacco’s Palestine and Graphic Medicine such as Joyce Farmer’s Special Exits and John Porcellino’s The Hospital Suite
- Digital platforms are looking for creators of compelling content
- Comics are being employed as an accessible and engaging literacy tool
- Universities are finally recognizing the merits of the comics medium as literature, and as a research and educational tool
An emerging cartoonist doesn’t have to rely on a large publisher to have their work printed these days:
- You can begin a blog and use social media to create an audience
- Crowd funding can be used to publish one’s work (Kickstarter, Indiegogo)
- There are Canadian festivals and conventions that offer the opportunity to sell self-published zines and books such as The Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF), Canzine (Toronto and Vancouver), Expozine (Montreal), FanExpo, ComicCon, Zine Dream (Toronto) and the Toronto Queer Zine Fair
The comics medium is currently flourishing through self-publishing, smaller publishers, and an insatiable reading audience’s search for stories told by creators outside the mainstream media.
You can learn more by registering for Fiona Smyth’s Comics and Graphic Novels course this summer at OCAD University.
Fiona Smyth is a Toronto based painter, illustrator, and cartoonist. Smyth’s first graphic novel, The Never Weres, was published by Annick Press in 2011. A collection of her Exclaim comics, Cheez 100, was published by Pedlar Press in 2001. She illustrated writer Cory Silverberg’s Kickstarter funded picture book What Makes A Baby in 2012, re-released by Seven Stories Press in 2013.