TORONTO, Ontario: Over 20 female comic book and cartoon strip writers, artists, and editors will come together on Saturday, April 29 at the Women of Comics symposium as part of the 2006 Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon.
The Women of Comics symposium will showcase female talent and creativity in what has traditionally been a male-dominated industry. Sponsored by All New Comics Inc., the symposium will feature signings, portfolio reviews and several panel discussions on women as storytellers and the unique perspective they bring to the art form.
The idea for the symposium started with Peter Fisico, co-owner of All New Comics Inc. and patron of the WOC symposium: "The idea began a few years back when I was a partner in a comics retail operation. We were hosting a signing with Jill Thompson, creator of Scary Godmother, and a mother and daughter attending the event were quite surprised that Jill was working in comics. It seemed so foreign to them that a woman would be creating these amazing stories that I became intrigued with the idea of hosting an event to help promote the work of Jill and her peers."
The lineup of guests features comic professionals from a variety of disciplines spanning three generations including the following:
Ramona Fradon: an elder stateswoman of comics, Ramona began her career at the height of the mainstream superhero industry in 1950 for DC Comics, the publishers of Batman and Superman. Her most sustained assignment during that time was another DC pillar, Aquaman. In 1980, at the age of 50, she decided to attend college where she studied Psychology and Ancient Religion for the next 11 years while drawing the newspaper strip Brenda Starr. After graduating, she continued on the legendary Starr strip until retiring in 1995.
Rina Piccolo: Rina's professional career began in 1989, but it wasn't until the launch of her very own comic strip in 2002, Tina's Groove, syndicated by King Features, that her career took off. With the approach of the strip's fourth anniversary, she looks forward to the launch of her first Tina's Groove collection. Rina was born and raised in Toronto and her work can be seen regularly in The Toronto Star.
Sandra Bell-Lundy: after developing a comic strip loosely based on a group of friends, Sandra self-syndicated to a number of Southern Ontario dailies for four years. In 1994, Between Friends attracted the attention of King Features and is now syndicated in nearly 100 newspapers worldwide.Diana Schutz: Canadian born Diana Schutz has been an editor for over 25 years to some of the biggest names in comics including Frank Miller, Matt Wagner and Harvey Pekar. In her pursuit of her editorial career, she somehow managed to find the time to earn an MA in Communication Studies.
Colleen Doran: Colleen is a writer and illustrator who began writing A Distant Soil, an epic science fiction fantasy tale, at the tender age of 12. She went on to produce comic books professionally by the age of 15. Colleen continues the series today, having produced four graphic novels and over 40 comics. Currently, Colleen has just wrapped up work on the all-female anthology Sexy Chix.
Gail Simone: a former hairdresser turned comic book writer, she's one of the busiest professionals in the industry today. Her current assignment on Birds of Prey has garnered praise from both fans and professionals for her strong female characters and her action/comedy style.
Diana Tamblyn: an Ignatz-nominated cartoonist who has been actively writing and drawing minicomics for the better part of 10 years. Her most recent work is The Toca Loca Project, commissioned by spectral music band Toca Loca. Her website is http://www.speedlines.com.
Raina Telgemeier: she's received rave reviews for her minicomic Takeout and her online comic strip Smile. She has been nominated for numerous awards including a 2005 Eisner Award for Talent Deserving of Wider Recognition and Best Minicomic and the Friends of Lulu's Kim Yale Award for Best New Talent of 2003. Her first major work, a comics adaptation of the popular book series The Baby-Sitters Club, debuts this spring from Scholastic Books' Graphix line.
Jill Thompson: perhaps best known for her series Scary Godmother, which can be seen on the Cartoon Network, Thompson's art has graced the pages of many graphic novels. Her Eisner Award winning story 'Stray' for the Dark Horse Book of Hauntings is a perfect example of why she is a fan favourite.
The 4th Annual Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon runs from April 28-30 in Hall C at the National Trade Centre on the CNE Grounds.
About All New Comics Inc.
Canada's newest online comics shop is a joint venture between Peter Fisico, a veteran comic book retailer, and web expert Brian Garside. Visit www.allnewcomics.com for more information.
About the Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon
The home of the Shuster Awards and the premiere gathering of creators and retailers in the comic book and graphic novel field in Canada, the Paradise Comics Toronto Comicon is the brainchild of organizers Peter Dixon and Kevin Boyd. From April 28-30, the convention will host over 150 creators and their work alongside dozens of retailers promoting a broad spectrum of offerings.