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How to spend a cloudy, bitterly windy mid-November day? Indoors!! Downing a beer or two and discussing comic books!! I was invited to this exclusive event by MaddSketch. The organizer is A Shay Hahn. Just a smidge past Chinatown and a bit south of Kensington Market, the Cameron House was the venue for this two-day forum. I was only able to attend yesterday (Saturday).

IMG_4569IMG_3147IMG_3148Special guests from yesterday: A Shay Hahn, MaddSketch, Keith Grachow, Mike Rooth, Aaron Feldman and Rebecca Slack!! Today’s line-up has Shawn Daley, Shane Heron and Ricky Lima, Jason Loo, Mr. Hahn once more and lastly Mike Rooth for a repeat visit.

On to the report!! Mr. Hahn has this write-up about himself: “[I am] the writer and artist on The HOMELESS G-MEN, BATTLE RALLY and CRYPTO ZOMBIC. [My] paintings and murals can be seen all over Toronto, like in the front room of the Cameron House for instance.” Truer words have never been spoken!!! I snapped some pics of the exterior and interior. Before sitting down with Mr. Hahn to poke his brain, I remarked the intricate detail and Dia de los Muertos motif. Mr. Hahn informed me that his talents are full-time. This is his calling, how he earns the bread and butter. Mr. Hahn has become Mr. Mom with a nine-month-old daughter now a significant part of his life.

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IMG_3155Until I was asked to attend, I had never heard of this individual. Shay is extremely welcoming, verbally engaging, creatively ‘out there’ and downright passionate. He produced seven issues between his three books in a nine-month span!! I cracked wise how that was the term for a full pregnancy. He let me know that I was right!! He began the three titles once he learned that he and his wife would be expect a little bundle of joy. What impresses me is that he worked on the trio simultaneously rather than separately. Smart!! The latest issue of HOMELESS G-MEN (#3) debuted yesterday.

IMG_4600IMG_4601IMG_4602IMG_4603IMG_4604IMG_4605Mr. Hahn offered a deal one couldn’t refuse: all seven issues, three stickers, a post card and a poster for the reasonable price of $30. I definitely didn’t pass up on it. Luckily, I was able to chat briefly with him before other attendees arrived and convos started flowing. There will be a follow-up with this down-to-earth man in a later interview. P.S. not only did Shay indulge me by answering my questions, we partook in a pint together >_^

IMG_3164IMG_3163IMG_3162My next ‘target’ was Mr. Keith Grachow. The info on Facebook states: “[He] is the creator of the UP in the SKY series of children’s books. He’s also the artist on the comic series CONCRETE MARTIANS, SALTWATER and the ARCANE AWAKENINGS graphic novel series. His favourite thing to do besides being tied to his drawing table is crawling to a pub. He won’t say no to trading a beer for a doodle.” Amusing! That last part is definitely true!! In fact, that was one of the first things Keith said to me after we introduced each other. I offered to buy him a beer but he said he’d rather sketch for someone.

IMG_4612Keith spoke to me in great detail about his works. The two kiddy lit books are illustrated by him and authored by his mother. The CONCRETE MARTIANS was created with his collaborator Mitch Cook. They are self-published as Kika Mika Comics.

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IMG_3176IMG_3177What really piqued my interest were the glimpses of his renditions of the Universal (Studios) Monsters from the 1920’s to the 1950’s — the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Invisible Man, the Phantom of the Opera, and the Wolf Man. The inclusion of Baba Yaga really raised my eyebrows. This is a supernatural entity from Slavic folklore. Mr. Grachow is definitely down to have a more thorough conversation with me in the near future. I appreciate your signature on the covers of CONCRETE MARTIANS.

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I approached MaddSketch, who was considerate enough to extend the invitation to me. His real name shall remain confidential ^_< MaddSketch recently organized the first annual MCX (Mississauga Comic Expo). All the credit goes to him concretizing that brainchild. The ‘mad’ sketcher had copies of his first-ever MADDTHOLOGY, pints featuring a gruesome grinning face that should be created as an emoji!! We chit-chatted and I reminded him that he is next on my list for the official interview. OH! In case you want to know more, M.S. works in computer animation.

IMG_3151IMG_3152IMG_4589Magnificent Mike Rooth obliged me with a small superb sketch!! All it took was $20 to buy FUBAR: BY the SWORD digest. LOL!! The mini-compilation came out last month. I was happy to pony up 😉 As a bonus, he autographed the cover 🙂 He told me that his contribution within the reasonably-priced tome was a story entitled “The Carrier”.

IMG_4614IMG_4617IMG_4614Mr. Rooth also had copies of his RED SONJA/CONAN #1 variant which I purchased in July at his local comic shop. He has joined the big leagues with major comic book publisher (Dynamite) commissioning his art. There were also copies of his creator-owned WIDOWS WAKE SKETCHBOOK. He graciously gave me one on Free Comic Book Day 😀 I’m dying for that series to become a reality!! He assured me that he is plowing away. He is not resting on his laurels. His cover design for the CAPTAIN CANUCK COMPENDIUM by Chapter House is imminent. I overheard him speak of a hush-hush project to one of his fans. Inquiring minds want to know!! What’s the deal with this big loveable bear of a man?? “[Mike] is a freelance art mercenary. His beard is a thing of legend. His art is ok too I guess. He is allergic to penicillin as well.” Those are not my words but they aptly describe him.

IMG_3154An unexpected guest appeared. He wasn’t on the roster but that doesn’t matter. Joe Osei Bonsu, the more public face of HEROES of the WORLD dropped by!! I spoke with him and his cohort at length in mid-August. He was finishing colours on a commission for CAPTAIN AMERICA {6th Series} #1 blank variant. Joe’s most admirable trait: his positivity and good cheer. He’s always smiling and laughing. Plus, he never stops drawing. Literally!! Major props!

IMG_3185IMG_3187The last person whom I addressed was Aaron Feldman. I met Mr. Feldman at FANeXpo this year. He contributed a story to TORONTO COMICS vol. 2 anthology.

IMG_3195IMG_3196IMG_3201He was with his partner Rebecca Slack. I grilled her with several questions since it was our first time meeting. The two have produced a 24-hour comic book JET HUNTINGTON from two years ago. Rebecca had two prints for sale: a red-hooded character from a video game (the name escapes me) and various versions of Harley Quinn. Harley is always a major seller!!

IMG_3198IMG_3200IMG_3204IMG_4624The four-hour event whizzed by! I took my leave half an hour before the end. I enjoyed myself immensely. I wish I could attend again today. No biggie. Check out all the local talent, faithful readers!! Click on the words in bold for the links. Drink, draw, and be merry!! or devour the funny pages to your hearts’ content!!

 

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