In the last issue of The House Always Wins…
The intrepid investigator House had scoped out the Pulp Show and Sale, but that was not the only mission that lay before him. After completing his search there, he set out to the Toronto Reference Library, to battle the faceless hordes of the 2009 Toronto Comic Arts Festival.
Lighthouse Comics presents…
The House Always Wins #54: “Ask Not For Whom the Bell Tolls…”
Scene: Outside the Toronto Reference Library, 4:15 PM, Saturday, 09 May 2009.
House (monologue): Time is running out. Hiding from the weather and investigating the Pulp Show set me back more than I had anticipated. But that didn’t matter. I had a mission, and I’m the best there is at what I do. And what I do is buy webcomic merchandise.
Scene: Lobby of the Toronto Reference Library, beyond which the main exhibition area can be seen, filled with people and exhibits.
House: I hadn’t anticipated so many people. The place was crowded. Too crowded. If a fight broke out, there’d be trouble. The main show area was six of seven floors high; why couldn’t flight be one of my powers? But no, I had to fight my way through the crowds. I’m good at that, too.
People are going every which way around me; I have no idea where anything is, and nothing I see looks familiar. I push my way through to the back, where, out of the corner of my eye, I see a sign directing me to the webcomics pavilion. Bingo.
This room is much smaller, with the exhibitors set up around the edges, leaving the middle free. From the middle, I’m able to scan each of the tables. I see Bryan Lee O’Malley, behind stacks of Scott Pilgrim books, signing away, and this confuses me—that’s no webcomic. I feel a flash of regret, not having brought any of my Pilgrim stuff to be signed, but that’s not why I’m here.
I finally see my target: Chris Hastings, of Dr. McNinja fame. I recognize him by all the merch in front of him. I buy two shirts, though in one size smaller than I’d prefer, and a poster and a book, which he very coolly sketched and signed.
House: “I’m a big fan of the comic.”
Hastings: “Yeah, I can tell.”
House: “I even went as the Doctor for Halloween a couple of years ago.”
House: “Keep up the good work.” I’m a man of few words. And my mission was accomplished. I got out with ten minutes to spare, because I’m the best there is at what I do.
Scene: Toronto Reference Library, 1:15 PM, Sunday, 10 May 2009.
House: Mother’s Day. I got here too late to get into the panel on Newspapers, Comics, and the Internet, and so I took the time to give my mother a call instead. That went well enough, but I still had time to kill. This proved to be mistake—I ended up with Two-Fisted Science and Galaxion, as well as an art book. Like I’ve said before, I’m the best there is at what I do, and what I do is buy stuff.
Scene: Learning Centre 2, Toronto Reference Library, 2:30 PM.
House: After running into a friend, I took in a panel on Editing in Comics. This may have been a mistake. Unfortunately, the venue was not very sound-proof, and the noise from the main exhibition floor readily made its way through the glass walls of the Learning Centre. Coupled with the low volume of the microphones meaning the panelists couldn’t be heard, it was challenging to pay attention. Ultimately, the take-away was that comics editing usually amounts to either censorship or selection, and there’s not usually much back-and-forth with creators.
Scene: Main Exhibition Space, Toronto Reference Library, 3:45 PM.
House: My cash was used up, and so was my interest in panels. Still, the Comic Arts Festival was good. It was nice to see so many excited people out to a comics event, and it showcased the huge variety of comics that are out there today. This thing will come around again in another couple of years. I’d better start saving up….