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Photo by: Caroline Garcia

What better way to spend the Halloween weekend than to visit Broken Pencil's annual Canzine festival at the Art Gallery of Ontario? The free event was hosted by a number of local artists and bigger-name Canadians such as Walter Scott, the creator of the Wendy comics. With prices for tabling being much less expensive than most comic and zine press fairs, the artists are a lot more daring, more local and more experimental. This event is a taste of Toronto's underground countercultures coming together, creating a much different atmosphere than most larger events, such as Toronto Comic Art Festival and Comic Con.

With Canzine, you encounter a more tight-knit but welcoming group of artists, all of whom engage in all types of media from occult poetry (Liz Worth, Watch Your Backs) to Hoser Punx zines drawn on LCBO paper (Shelby Monita). If that's not up to your taste, than you can find pop-culture zines, Dungeons and Dragons zines or even a zine that revels in the hotness of dead continental philosophers (Kawai Shen). There was a workshop to create your own meatball made out of yarn with Elly Niedzviecki, or have drawing lessons with a 9-year-old artist, Sidney Munroe.

I was overwhelmed by the amount of artists and zines at this event, but what really caught my eye was a Mississauga-based artist, Maria Nguyen. Her zine debut is reminiscent of the classic ero-guro genre (a Japanese horror genre mixed with erotic and gore) that is just as stylistic and horrifying as Shintaro Kago's illustrations. I also came across Jean Liang's Mushi-Bon's three-dual tone horror zine that explores the simple but strange theme of young girls casually taking on physical forms of insects and interacting with centipedes. It came with a separate authorial note explaining that her zine subverts the classical horror trope we see in films and books like Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis and David Cronenberg's The Fly, where morphing into a bug is something to be afraid of. Needless to say, all of these zines made my Halloween weekend extra special.

I also had the pleasure of attending the Comic Jam event, a collaborative project where anyone can pick ideas from a jar and illustrate a panel or continue on the stories left open ended by strangers. It was a nice surprise to see the amount of amazing comic narratives drawn on a whim, which included hilarious dialogues and silly, well-drawn sketches. These artists are continuously pushing the boundaries of their own subculture by embracing the plurality of art.

Look no further than this amazing festival, inclusive to any religion, race, age, orientation and gender. This event remains the horsepower of Toronto's independent, underground art scene and reminds us once every year that zines are for everyone and can be done by anyone.

What better way to spend the Halloween weekend than to visit Broken Pencil’s annual Canzine festival at the Art Gallery of Ontario? The free event was hosted by a number of local artists and bigger-name Canadians such as Walter Scott, the creator of the Wendy comics. With prices for tabling being much less expensive than most comic and zine press fairs, the artists are a lot more daring, more local and more experimental. This event is a taste of Toronto’s underground countercultures coming together, creating a much different atmosphere than most larger events, such as Toronto Comic Art Festival and Comic Con.

 

With Canzine, you encounter a more tight-knit but welcoming group of artists, all of whom engage in all types of media from occult poetry (Liz Worth, Watch Your Backs) to Hoser Punx zines drawn on LCBO paper (Shelby Monita). If that’s not up to your taste, than you can find pop-culture zines, Dungeons and Dragons zines or even a zine that revels in the hotness of dead continental philosophers (Kawai Shen). There was a workshop to create your own meatball made out of yarn with Elly Niedzviecki, or have drawing lessons with a 9-year-old artist, Sidney Munroe.

 

I was overwhelmed by the amount of artists and zines at this event, but what really caught my eye was a Mississauga-based artist, Maria Nguyen. Her zine debut is reminiscent of the classic ero-guro genre (a Japanese horror genre mixed with erotic and gore) that is just as stylistic and horrifying as Shintaro Kago’s illustrations. I also came across Jean Liang’s Mushi-Bon’s three-dual tone horror zine that explores the simple but strange theme of young girls casually taking on physical forms of insects and interacting with centipedes. It came with a separate authorial note explaining that her zine subverts the classical horror trope we see in films and books like Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis and David Cronenberg’s The Fly, where morphing into a bug is something to be afraid of. Needless to say, all of these zines made my Halloween weekend extra special.

 

I also had the pleasure of attending the Comic Jam event, a collaborative project where anyone can pick ideas from a jar and illustrate a panel or continue on the stories left open ended by strangers. It was a nice surprise to see the amount of amazing comic narratives drawn on a whim, which included hilarious dialogues and silly, well-drawn sketches. These artists are continuously pushing the boundaries of their own subculture by embracing the plurality of art.

 

Look no further than this amazing festival, inclusive to any religion, race, age, orientation and gender. This event remains the horsepower of Toronto’s independent, underground art scene and reminds us once every year that zines are for everyone and can be done by anyone.

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