COVERLAYOUT.inddIf you love art or at least have an interest in learning about art, Guardians of the Louvrepublished by NBM Publishing, is a treasure trove waiting to be discovered.

Created by acclaimed award-winning Japanese artist, Jirô Taniguchi, Guardians of the Louvre is a graphic novel that tells the tale a Japanese artist who, after attending an international comics festival in Barcelona, Spain, gets ill (probably from what’s traditionally known as ‘con crud’), and spends time in his Paris hotel room convalescing. Or does he? Once, he feels well enough, he ventures out of his room to visit the sites and wonders of the Louvre.

Without giving away the story, he tours the venue and experiences the famous pieces of art in unique and deeply personal ways. For example, when he sees the art of Vincent van Gogh, he is so intent on examining the paintings that he ‘meets’ with van Gogh and travels to his home town to experience the sites and sounds that inspired the painter.

The artwork in this graphic novel is inspiring. With lush water color mixed with detailed drawings, the graphic novel is like a dream itself. On many occasions I thought I was looking at Studio Ghibli film.


Scene from Tales From Earthsea from Studio Ghibli. Image owned by Studio Ghibli

At first I was confused by the graphic novel. The panels were out of order – or at least that’s what I thought — until I understood that this book was written by a Japanese author. Created in the style of Manga, the Japanese form of comic book publishing [which Scott McCloud so entertainingly educates in Understanding Comics],  the panels read from right to left as opposed to the western way of comic books that read from left to right.

The book is written as if it’s an lecture on art. I just wish all my university lectures were like this book — I would have stayed in school forever.

I’ve never been to the Louvre in France. My only knowledge of the museum comes from television and movies. Most recently The Da Vinci Code movie featuring Tom Hanks has been my association with the art of the site.


Tom Hanks stars in Columbia Pictures suspense thriller featuring the Louvre — The Da Vinci Code. Photo Credit: Simon Mein

But the graphic novel takes the reader inside the Louvre and brings you closer to the works of art than you could ever experience.

Another memorable moment in the book comes about when the Japanese artist is informed about the history of the museum. He learns about the painstaking efforts the French museum staff went through to secure the artwork during the upheaval of World War II. It’s heart wrenching to learn how these brave men and women went to great lengths to ensure the timeless art pieces were secure from the clutches of the Nazi regime. This story provides further background to the most recent book The Monuments Men by Robert Edsel that became a movie featuring George Clooney.


Guardians of the Louvre is a love letter to the Louvre and those who keep its artwork alive for visitors to experience. Furthermore, the graphic novel is a discourse on how to appreciate art and understand the reasons that inspired the artists in the first place. Definitely recommended. The book is available for purchase from the following sites: Amazon Canada, IPG, and iTunes


I first heard about The Eternaut when I attended the 2016 Eisner Awards during the San Diego Comic-Con. Considered the Oscars of the comic books industry, the Eisner Awards recognized The Eternaut for Best Archival Collection/Project—Strips. The competition was fierce being up against other nominees such as Beyond Mars, Cartoons for Victory, The Complete Funky Winkerbean, vol. 4, Kremos: The Lost Art of Niso Ramponi, vols. 1 and 2, and White Boy in Skull Valley.

It wasn’t until I happened to come across the graphic novel at my local library that I decided to give it a gander and offer my thoughts.

‘Daunting’ is the word I’d chose to best sum up this graphic novel. From the outset, just looking at the black and white graphic novel, it’s definitely oversized. The tale is set in Argentina and even though the author Hector German Oesterheld provides a local flavour throughout the tale — overly detailed descriptions of neighbourhoods, sporting teams specifics and pointed references to political figures — the English translation assures readers of a story that anyone could appreciate today. The artwork by Francisco Solano Lopez expertly conveys the feelings of characters, the landscape of the towns, and the adventure of the story.

It was until I finished the 350 page tome that I understood that the graphic novel is a compendium of the comic strip published in serial form between 1957 to 1959. Even though I kept hoping for natural breaks in the story, none were included. So every now and then I had to take a rest from reading just to process all the information. The continuous introductions of new characters, situations and story are too overwhelming to be read in just one sitting.

According to the publisher, Fantagraphics, the tale is a thinly disguised political allegory. But that didn’t stop me from appreciating the story as an unknown 1950s science-fiction page-turner that paid homage to famous silver screen alien invasion movies of the time.

I can imagine how the main character Salvo has become a famous character in Argentina just as Tintin has become Belgium’s hero.

I’d definitely recommend this graphic novel for those who love the medium and for those who want to experience a slice of Argentinian life in the 1950s. The Eternaut is a great addition for anyone who appreciates the nuances of Watchmen, V for Vendetta or other graphic novel best sellers.

Fantagraphics video


2015 was a tumultuous year for many. So as we step forward into the bright shiny new year, it’s fitting to remember those from the comic book world we lost in 2015.

Although a short video doesn’t do justice to properly recognize these creative talented people, this tribute is a small effort to at least say they will not be forgotten.

In Memormiam 2015 slide

Alan Kupperberg – artist for DC and Marvel Comics

Andrew Hutton – artist for Beano

Brad Anderson – cartoonist and creator of “Marmaduke”

Brett Ewins – artist for “Judge Dredd” and “Rogue Troopers”

Clint Thomas – owner of Clint’s Comics

Dennis Eichhorn – artist and writer

Father Roy Gasnick – editor and writer for “Mother Theresa” and “Francis”

Fred Fredericks – artist for “Mandrake” and “The Phantom”

George Clayton Johnson – co-creator and writer for “Deepest Dimension”

Gopulu – artist

Henri Arnold – cartoonist for “Jumble” and “Meet Mr. Luckey”

Herb Trimpe – artist and co-creator of ‘Wolverine’

Irwin Hasen – creator and artist of ‘Dondi’ and ‘Wildcat’

John Dangar Dixon – artist for “Captain Strato”, “Crimson Comet” and “Tim Valour”

Ken Feduniewicz – colorist for “Captain America”

Lenny Robinson – Route 29 Batman, philanthropist

Leonard Starr – artist and creator of “Mary Perkins, On Stage”

Malcolm Bennett – writer for “Brute!”

Martin Honeysett – cartoonist

Michael Gelbwasser – blogger of “With One Magic Word” for The Sun Chronicle

Murphy Anderson – artist and inker for DC Comics

Norman Lee – artist for Marvel Comics

Rafael Freyre – cartoonist

Randy Glasbergen – cartoonist for “The Better Half”

Rick Obadiah – co-founder of “First Comics”

Shigeru Mizuki – manga artist

Sir Terry Pratchett – author “Discworld” and “The Colour of Magic”

Tom Moore – artist for “Archie Comics”

Wes Craven – writer for “Coming of Rage”

Yoshihiro Tatsumi – cartoonist

As long as we remember, they will never be forgotten. We thank them all for their contributions to the artistic fabric of our lives.


Hidden deep within Terminal 3 at Toronto Pearson Airport is a tunnel showcasing amazing Canadian photographers.

I stumbled across the eye catching display while wandering around the terminal as I waited for my overseas flight for a business trip.

For those planning a trip out of Terminal 3, you can find the unique Canadian artwork on the way to gates B1-B5

YYZ Terminal 1 signs to gates B1-B5

YYZ Terminal 1 signs to gates B1-B5

The newly revitalized tunnel connects to the also newly revitalized gates at B1-B5. I can recall taking my family to Terminal 3 when it first opened years ago to much fanfare. However, over time, the wear and tear on the terminal is showing. So it’s surprising that this tiny section of Terminal 3 has been given the beauty treatment.

By way of escalator, I reached the brightly lit tunnel and was greeted by a moving sidewalk. Because of the late hour of my flight, I had the area to myself so I could study the artwork adorning the walls of the tunnel.

The first offering is from Gaye Jackson ( who travels in Northern Ontario to photograph unique and memorable sights of the inspiring landscape objects.

Gaye Jackson artwork

A selection of Northern Ontario landscapes by Gaye Jackson

When you think of Canada, it’s hard not to picture a variety of winter ice rinks. Tobi Asmoucha ( presents a series of photos capturing the rituals of winter that bring together communities across the nation.

Winter ice rinks

Winter brings communities together in photos by Tobi Asmoucha

The Canadian landscape captures the imagination of many visitors. Aislinn Leggett ( used her own family photos from the 1920s and 1940s in combination with scenes of the Canadian landscape based on her own historical research of the country.

Canadian wilderness family photos by Aislinn Leggett

Family photos combine with the Canadian wilderness by Aislinn Leggett

Canada is also the home of many identifiable animals. Photographer Maureen O’Connor ( juxtaposes the natural world with the known domestic world by capturing images of a variety of animals in surroundings familiar to us.

Animals at home by Maureen O'Connor

Animals are photographed in domestic settings by Maureen O’Connor.

The vast expanse of Canada is covered in small towns and this national feature is captured in a series of photographs by Jason Brown ( His tribute to small town life has an edge of mystery.

Small town mysteries photography by Jason Brown

Small town mysteries captured by Jason Brown

Photographer Greg Girard ( portrays the changing scenes of the Vancouver waterfront. The most western edge of Canada is exceptionally captured in scenes of the docks, railways and waterways.

Vancouver waterfront photos by Greg Girard

Scenes from the Vancouver waterfront by Greg Girard

And when the tunnel transit ends, travellers ascend to the B1-B5 gates to be greeted by a freshly revitalized section of the terminal. Gleaming and shiny, the new section offers a selection of stores and services for visitors making this one of the newest parts of the Toronto Pearson Airport in years.

Travellers get a treat in Terminal 3

Ascend to the newest section of the Toronto Pearson Airport

Stores and services for Terminal 3 travellers

Stores and services for Terminal 3 travellers

Thirty years? I can’t believe it’s been thirty years since the original “Back To The Future” movie first hit the silver screen. This year marks a huge milestone not only for those who original saw the trailblazing action/comedy. A new Blu-ray box set will hit the market before the end of the year and there’s talk about showing the original films in movie theatres. The anniversary also gives many of us a chance to step back and reminisce about going ‘back to the future’.

To better illustrate my point, the Brampton Peel Art Gallery Museum + Archives recently announced a special exhibit called ‘can You Imagine’. The exhibit runs until September 6 with the intent to encourage visitors to share what they value most today and what they envision for the future of their community. Some of the exhibit’s interactive features include a video booth time machine, an imagination station with an idea waterfall, and a kids’ zone dedicated to creating artifacts from the future.

What really caught my eye was the DeLorean that sent Doc and Marty back and forth in time, causing a multitude of problems along the way.

I've got to get back to the future!

I’ve got to get back to the future!

We also had the distinct pleasure of seeing costume replicas from the ‘Back to the Future’ trilogy including the Flux capacitor and the hoverboard.

Ah, the Flux capacitor. Now to get the car up to 88 miles per hour!

Ah, the Flux capacitor. Now to get the car up to 88 miles per hour!

Biff won't catch me on this hoverboard.

Biff won’t catch me on this hoverboard.

All these movie props stir up the imagination while reminiscing of life 30 years ago. We didn’t have Gmail, Netflix, YouTube, smartphones or a host of innovations that we take for granted today.

Some would say it was a simpler time, just as our parents or grandparents would argue they too also had ‘simpler’ times. I think we choose to remember only the good things from those days.

Thirty years ago we thought we’d have flying cars or at least hoverboards to get us quicker to destinations or at least escape from bullies named Biff. The days of the flying car are still a daydream for most — honestly I don’t want a flying car dropping on my house because it ran out of gas. As for the hoverboard, these are still in the infancy of development requiring huge investments in materials. Or for those instances where it seems a reality, it turns out to be well constructed prank hosted by Tony Hawk.

Taking this ‘can You Imagine’ exhibit on a more serious note, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to the future or least what’s to come in the next 30 years. Perhaps we’ll really have video phone wrist watches like Dick Tracy. Maybe we’ll be eating food concentrates from a pill that captures all the flavour and taste of a well done steak. Maybe our living rooms be completely empty and replaced with virtual reality rooms where we participate in experiences from just about anywhere with anyone in virtual space.

I like to think there’s a great deal we can imagine about what we can do to create positive outcomes, if we all pitch in to make it happen.

And maybe one day we’ll all get our own DeLorean car so we can all go ‘Back To The Future’.

Not really my car.

Not really my car.

My Dad wasn’t a soldier. He never took part fighting enemies or freeing captives in any wars. But my Dad has always been my hero.

This Father’s Day I get to pay tribute to him in a very unique way.

With the amazing talent of Canadian comic book creators Scott Chantler, J. Torres and many others, I helped in the making of ‘True Patriot volume 2‘. I also supported the original volume.

True Patriot

However the new volume contains a special tribute to my Dad.

true patriot vol l2

My Dad always recognized my love of comic books. I can still remember back in grade four when my Dad would give me a weekly 25 cent allowance. On my way home from school, I’d stop at the local Yarmouth, NS, convenience store to admire the spinner rack of comic books. It was a joy to behold and picking just one comic book from the many was always a tough decision.

Scott Chantler used his creative talents to include my Dad in the comic book exploits of the Canadian hero, The Red Ensign, who fights the enemy on foreign soil.

Now I get to honour my Dad on this Father’s Day with a tribute that makes him a comic book hero battling the enemy alongside of The Red Ensign in “The Knight of Normandy”.

With permission from Scott, here are a few panels from that story.

Red Ensign 1

Red Ensign2

I’d like to thank again Scott Chantler, J. Torres and all the Canadian creators for their amazing work to make “True Patriot volume 2” a reality.

Check out the blog and video from the recent launch party that includes interviews with Scott and J. Torres.

For more information about the Canadian hero graphic novel, visit and to purchase your own “True Patriot volume 2”, visit

Here’s to you Dad.

At Page & Panel – The TCAF Store, Canadian comic book creators of True Patriot vol. 2 provided their insight into the making of the new second volume original graphic novel featuring Canadian superheroes.

The video interview also includes creators’ super hero aspirations. Interviews include J. Torres, Arthur Dela Cruz, Jack Briglio, Scott Chantler, Fred Kennedy and Ramon Perez.

For more information available at

This video is a brief tribute to the comic book artists, creators, writers and industry supporters we lost in 2014. Their love of comic books will live on.

So a little thing call San Diego Comic-Con happened just recently.

Amidst allcci_1970logo the hoopla of big screen and small screen panels, star signings and sightings, and general craziness, there actually was some comic book news.

That’s basically why the convention was founded almost 44 years ago and then it was called the Golden State Comic Book Convention.

So here’s a brief run down of the comic book news that you didn’t hear about in all the multimedia coverage from the convention;

– Starting on August 20, DC Comics will publish ‘The Multiversity’ by Grant Morrison.

– In October 2014, Vertigo  will publish ‘The Names’, a ‘financial thriller’, with Peter Milligan and Leo Fernandez.

– In November 2014, DC Comics will publish ‘Batman ’66: The Lost Episode’ based on a story that award winning author Harlan Ellison wrote for the original TV show but was never produced.

– In November 2014, Vertigo will publish ‘The Kitchen’ about the wives of Irish Gangsters set in 70s New York, by Ollie Masters.

– DC Comics will be publishing two new Absolute Edition titles: ‘Transmetropolitan’ and ‘Y The Last Man’.

– In November, Marvel Comics will publish ‘Captain America and the Mighty Avengers’ by Al Ewing and Luke Ross.

– Marvel Comics will publish ‘Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD’ based on the TV series. Written by Mark Waid with illustrations by Carlos Pacheo, the first issue of the series will be released in December.

– Image Comics will publish ‘Injection’ by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey and Jordan Bellaire in April 2015.

And to top things off, the 2014 Eisner Awards were handed out to the crème de la crème of the comic book industry. First started in 1988, the Eisner Awards are often compared to the Oscars of the comic book industry by bestowing awards for creative achievement in American comic books. The awards are named after the groundbreaking artist and writer Will Eisner who was a regular showgoer until his passing in 2005.

Here is a list of the Eisner Award Winners for 2014:

Best Lettering – Darwyn Cooke for ‘Richard Stark’s Parker: Slayground’

Best Coloring – Jordie Bellair for ‘The Manhattan Projects’, ‘Nowhere Men’, ‘Tom Strong’, ‘X-Files Season 10’ and more

Best Digital Comic – Matthew Inman for ‘The Oatmeal’

Best Publication for Early Readers – Art Baltazar and Franco for ‘Itty Bitty Hellboy’

Best Publication for Kids – Faith Erin Hicks for ‘The Adventures of Superhero Girl’

Best Publication for Teens – Paul Pope for ‘Battling Boy’

Best Penciler/Inker – Sean Murphy for ‘The Wake’

Best Publication Design – Dean Mullaney for ‘Genius Illustrated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth’

Best Painter/Multimedia Artist – Fiona Staples for ‘Saga’

Best Comics-Related Periodical/Journalism – Jonah Welland for ‘Comic Book Resources’

Best Comics-Related Book – Dean Mullaney and Bruce Canwell for ‘Genius Illustrated: The Life and Art of Alex Toth’

Best Scholarly/Academic Book – Sheena C. Howard and Ronald L. Jackson II for ‘Black Comics: The Politics of Race and Represenation’

Best Archival Collection/Project-Strips – Dean Mullaney for ‘Tarzan: The Complete Russ Manning Newspaper Strips Vol.1’

Best Archival Collection/Project-Comic Books – Scott Dunbier for ‘Will Eisner’s The Spirit Artist’s Edition’

Best Humor Publication – Jeffrey Brown for ‘Vader’s Little Princess’

Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Jaques Tardi and Jean-Pierre Verney for ‘Goddamn This War!’

Best U.S. Edition of International Material-Asia – Osamu Tezuka for ‘The Mysterious Underground Men’

Best Adaptation From Another Medium – Darwyn Cooke for ‘Richard Stark’s Parker: Slayground’

Best Writer – Bryan K. Vaughan for ‘Saga’

Best Writer/Artist – Jaime Hernandez for ‘Love and Rockets New Stories, vol. 6’

Best Cover Artist – David Aja for ‘Hawkeye’

Best Short Story – Gilbert Hernandez for “Untitled” in ‘Love and Rockets New Stories #6’

Best Single Issue (Or One Shot) – Matt Fraction and David Aja for ‘Hawkeye #11 – Pizza Is My Business’

Best Anthology – Mike Richardson for ‘Dark Horse Presents’

Best New Series – Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky for ‘Sex Criminals’

Best Limited Series – Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy for ‘The Wake’

Best Continuing Series – Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples for ‘Saga’

Best Graphic Album-Reprint – Jeff Smith for ‘RASL’

Best Reality-Based Work – Vivek J. Tiwary, Andrew C. Robinson and Kyle Baker for ‘The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story’

Best Graphic Album-New – Ruto Modan for ‘The Property’ Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award – Joe Field

Will Eisner Hall of Fame – Orrin C. Evans, Irwin Hasen, Sheldon Moldoff

Will Eisner Hall of Fame Inductees – Hayao Miyazaki, Alan Moore, Dennis O’Neil, Berni Wrightson

Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing – Robert Kanigher, Bill Mantlo, Jack Mendelsohn

Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award – Aaron Conley, artist of ‘Sabertooth Swordsman’

Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award – All Star Comics (Melbourne, Australia) and Legend Comics & Coffee (Omaha, Nebraska)

Congratulations to all the award winners.


So there you have it. A lot of comic book stuff amidst the crazy, zany antics of San Diego Comic-Con. Yes, there’s lots more comic book stuff that I haven’t covered here like panels, interviews and all sorts of comic book creator goodness.

Thanks to the Internet more details will come to light in the coming months. For those stories, I heartily recommend Word Balloon hosted by John Siuntres, and Comic Book Resources.

Tens of millions of passengers walk past it every day but very few know it exists. Located on level 2, above the Canada Arrivals Hall in Terminal 1 of the Toronto Pearson International Airport, the Malton Airport Gallery is often overlooked by those rushing to catch a flight or ride back home.


The gallery plays host to a wide variety of exhibits throughout the year. The current exhibit is one that definitely caught my attention.


To help celebrate Canadian comic book creators, the gallery is currently offering a glimpse into the Toronto Comics Arts Festival. In advance of this year’s annual event (May10-11 at the Toronto Reference Library), a broad spectrum of talented artists, writers and creators is available to all for educational and viewing enjoyment.


Award-winning Kate Beaton, native of Nova Scotia, is the creator of Hark! A Vagrant. The webcomic features historical or fictional characters from western literature.


The Collingwood, Ontario native, Lynn Johnston is known for her comic strip For Better or For Worse, and was the first woman and first Canadian to win the National Cartoonist Society’s Reuben Award.


Jeff Lemire is a comics artist and writer from Essex County, Ontario. He is the author of the Essex County Trilogy, Sweet Tooth, The Nobody, and Animal Man. He’s also known as the writer for Justice League Canada/United featuring a new generation of Canadian super heroes.


Originally from Toronto, Joe Shuster is considered one of the legends of comic book heroes. Together with Jerry Siegel, Joe was responsible for the creation of Superman. An early concept drawing for the Man of Steel is included in the display.


And visitors can view Joe Shuster’s legendary cover that started it all.


Born in Montreal, Chester Brown is the creator of Louis Riel, one of Canada’s bestselling graphics novels.


Diana Tamblyn, currently residing in London, Ontario, has been writing and drawing comics for over 12 years. Her work That Thing You Fall Into is on display at the gallery.


Originally from Dover, Kent, England, Doug Wright emigrated to Canada in 1938 until his passing in 1983 in Ontario. Doug was best known for his weekly comic strip Doug Wright’s Family also known as Nipper.


Geneviève is an illustrator and pin up artist from Montreal, Canada.  She is presently working freelance in multiple fields like animation, games, magazine illustration and comics.


Jo Rioux is an author and illustrator from Ottawa, Ontario. Her first book Cat’s Cradle is on display in the gallery.


Katie Shanahan is an animation storyboard artist and cartoonist from Toronto, Canada. One of her works Silly Kingdom gets special treatment amongst the displays.


Matthew Forsythe is the Doug Wright Award-winning, Eisner nominated author of My Name Is Elizabeth — a New York Times Notable picture book.


Seth (Gregory Gallant) was born in Clinton, Ontario and is an award-winning cartoonist, writer and artist. He’s best known for his work designing the complete collection of Charles M. Schulz’s classic comic strip Peanuts.


A Softer World is a webcomic by Canadians Joey Comeau and Emily Horne. First introduced in 2003, A Softer World features unique photographic art.


For more information about TCAF 2014, please visit