Benjamin Woo researches comic cons at TCAF 2019

Here’s my chat with Benjamin Woo of the Comic Cons Research Project at Toronto Comic Arts Festival. Podcast is available on Apple Podcasts and player.FM


Benjamin is an assistant professor in Carlton University’s School of Journalism and Communication. He’s also the project director for the Comic Cons Research Project which, over the period of three years, will study the role that North America’s comic conventions, comic art festivals and fandom events play in the creative economy and the cultural life of cities.

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During our chat, Benjamin talked about the Comic Cons Research Project and the way in the which the research will help others. He discussed how data is being collected and how it might help influence future creators and the comic book industry.

You can find out more about Benjamin on Twitter @geek_worlds and online at


Here’s some of the current news about Canadian comic book creators and supporters.

Film School Rejects wrote an article to remind movie goers about ‘The Forgotten Comic Book Origins of Men in Black. The film derived from a comic book published by Aircel Comics series written by Lowell Cunningham and illustrated by Sandy Carruthers. The original storyline focused on the secret government agency that policed various alien and supernatural threats to Earth. The article cites: “The comic book was a far grimmer experience than the film, especially in those first two black-and-white iterations.” You can read more at

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CBC Books published a list of 14 books to read for Indigenous History Month. The list includes This Place: 150 Years Retold by various creators. The article describes the books as “an anthology of comics featuring the work of Indigenous creators as they retell the history of Canada of the past 150 years. Elements of fantasy and magical realism are incorporated throughout the book, telling the stories of characters like Jack Fiddler, an Anishinaabe shaman facing murder charges, and Rosie, an Inuk girl growing up during the Second World War.”
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Entertainment Weekly wrote about the ’15 biggest (and best) YA books of the summer’. The list includes Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks. The article claims that “The perfect transition from summer to fall comes courtesy of one of YA’s greatest talents, Rainbow Rowell, in her graphic-novel debut. She teams with comics superstar Faith Erin Hicks for a rom-com about two high-school coworkers finding love on their last night of working the local pumpkin patch.”
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The Horn Book published an interview with Mariko Tamaki about her new book Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up With Me. When asked about how she new this was a graphic novel and not prose fiction, Mariko answered: “It‘s hard to say what makes something a graphic novel. Generally a book of mine ends up being a graphic novel because that‘s what I‘m pitching at the time! I do think there‘s something about the comic form that gives a story like this space — a level of being in the moment as opposed to describing or explaining it. I‘m very happy that this is a graphic novel, now that it exists as one. It feels like the only way to express this particular story.”
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