By Erika Moen on May 16, 2011

Walking to the Train

Resuming from my previous post: Dylan Meconis and I have successfully collected Lucy Knisley from Chicago and all three of us are flying out to Toronto together to exhibit and speak at the Toronto Comics Arts Festival in beauteous Canadia!

Airport Escalator
We three brave travelers, bright and chipper at 6am.

Airplane Tidal Pool

Dylan made me a tiny tidal pool with her napkin and glass of water on the flight. She is so thoughtful like that!

At last we arrived on Canadian soil!

There was only minor confusion to be had when Lucy’s bags did not show up. But it’s cool, she tracked them down.

Lucy and Dylan Waiting For the Bus
After some wrestling with various broken(?) machines, we finally got our bus passes to begin the long trek into the city.


Months and months ago, Lucy had gotten us a room to fit us and super awesome cartoonist Liz Bailie. We were pretty surprised to discover that our “four bed” room reservation contained, in fact, two beds. Rather than admit making a mistake or something, the manager insisted that though we had reserved a “four bed”, that actually MEANT a room with two beds that could fit four people. Except the beds weren’t even doubles! Lucy looked into finding us other accommodations, but to no avail so we spent the next few nights gettin’ our spoonin’ on.

Cartoonists Love Sushi

The first order of business once we’d dropped off our stuff at the room was to seek out our fellow cartoonists and grab some food. Here’s Rich Stevens, me, Dylan, Lucy, and Meredith Gran gettin’ some sushi.


Dylan and Lucy display their preferred chopstick elevating techniques at a restaurant.

Bubble Tea!

Candy Shop
Then it was off to explore the city. Including this candy store!


    I am a sucker for hats but they are usually out of my price range– except for this little guy! His label says he’s named “deLux” and Lucy, Dylan and I found him in one of those expensively cute boutiques in Toronto except he was 40% off! Which meant he only cost me 15 Canadian dollars! Which, right now, I believe is still pretty close to 15 American dollars!


    Augh, why did we not get photos of ourselves together with hats? Whyyyyyyy? Why have I assigned my hat a male pronoun? I don’t know! He’s just a he! Who am I to hide it??

    Cartoonists in a Cafe
    And this coffee shop! (Dylan, Rich and Jon Rosenberg)

    Cartoonists in a Diner

    And then it was time for dinner. Rich Stevens, Jon Rosenberg, Dylan Meconis, David McGuire and Anthony Clark. (That’s Lucy’s hand in the foreground on the left there)

    Unfortunately, TCAF was SO BUSY that I only took a couple photos D:

    Lucy's Solution
    Lucy‘s booster seat.

    Alexis and Me

    Alexis Barattin and me! Alexis is an incredibly talented illustrator that Matt and I have been internet friends with for AGES now. We’d actually had the chance to meet up once before a few years ago in London, England of all places (Evidence A and B), so it was super great to see her again and catch up on everything. Really, you guys should check out her art, she is an absolute powerhouse.

    Mustache Mug from Alexis!
    Also, she got this adorable mustache mug for Matt and me!

    Story Time!
    While Alexis was sitting with me at the table, this middle-aged, skinny man was kind of smiling to himself while very carefully going through my two portfolios of my original artwork and my prints, which are primarily composed of pretty women in various states of undress and/or holding sex toys.

    After a while of this, he very patiently waits for me to finish talking to some other people and then informs me, very kindly in a light Indian accent, “I can tell… by looking at your art… that you are influenced by The Disease of Lust.”

    I laughed and agreed that yes, yes that is probably true. He smiles at me and then makes a second comment about my connection to The Disease of Lust. Again, I laughed, this time a little more nervously, and agreed with him that his observation was probably correct.

    Then he looks me in the eye and again with nothing but kindness in his voice and a smile on his lips tells me, “And I can tell… by the color of your hair… that you HAVE The Disease of Lust

    Welp. All I could do was laugh again and fess up that he wasn’t wrong, although at this point I was getting a little worried. He seemed harmless enough, but this conversation wasn’t really developing, if you know what I mean. We smiled at each other for a minute and when I didn’t volunteer any new topics to talk about he politely nodded his head and walked on.

    But that wasn’t the end of it! Half an hour later he came back asking if I “Had a top shelf”. “Nope!” I told him and didn’t offer anything more, so again he nodded at me and walked on.

    I turned to Alexis and asked “What the crap does that even mean? A TOP SHELF?” We puzzled about it for a few minutes, trying to figure out if he was looking for the publisher Top Shelf?? No, that didn’t seem likely, he seemed like one of the people who wandered into the library unaware that it had been overtaken by a comics festival (I got a couple people coming up to my table asking “What is going on in here??”). Eventually Alexis hazarded a guess that maybe he was asking about the kind of “top shelf” magazine and convenience stores have to hold their porno mags on, out of the way of the rest of their genteel clientele who don’t wanna accidentally see smut.

    That explanation fit better than anything else we could figure out, so I’m guessing this guy was coming back asking to see if I had any hard core porn to sell him! If I’d figured that out sooner, maybe I coulda sold him a copy of GirlFuck! Sorry dude, maybe next year!

    (PS, I’m naming my autobiography The Disease of Lust: The Erika Moen Story)

    Koyama Chocolate

    One of the major highlights of TCAF this year was getting to pick the brain of Annie Koyama of Koyama Press about becoming a publisher. Whenever people play the “What Would You Do With a Million Dollars?” game with me, my first answer is always “I WOULD MAKE MY OWN PUBLISHING HOUSE” Even though I manage to publish my own books, I have absolutely no clue how someone goes about dealing with the business side of publishing other people’s works (royalties, advances, distribution, bookkeeping, etc., etc), so I was dying to talk with Annie about how on earth she actually does all that. She gave me a waterfall of incredibly helpful and insightful information that I am still churning over in my brain. To boot, she is incredibly interesting, engaging and funny! And she gives you her own custom chocolates!! Man, wotta swell lady.

    Bucko Gifts!

    I was so surprised and happy to receive these lovely little Bucko gifts from the attendees of TCAF! Thank you, generous and talented Canadians!

    Top: A wooden Bucko buckle (say that three times fast) hand-crafted from Adam Grant
    Left-Right: Bucko by Peter Trinh, Jamie Campbell and Dechanique

    They’re all so lovely and I’m gunna treasure the hell out of ’em!

    Two(?) Slices

    Toronto has an interesting concept of what constitutes “two pieces of pizza” because this is what I got after placing my order. When I pointed out there was a mistake because this was, in fact, FOUR pieces, the lady at the counter explained that no, this is two, but each piece is SO BIG it has to be cut in half for easier handling. …wish I’d known that earlier!

    In addition to speaking on two panels (Ask A Freelancer with Lucy and Dylan; That Comic Isn’t About Me: Gender, Sexuality, and Race in Comics with Yuko Ota, Ananth Panagariya, Jose Villarubia and Zan Christensen) I was also invited to be a panelist at the queer after event called TCAFabulous with Scott Robbins, Jose Villarubia, Maurice Vellekoop, and Zan Christensen.

    Photo by QueeriesMag

    The four of us made fun of “accidentally gay” covers and pages of older comics.

    Jose Villarubia and me by Antoine Dodé
    Jose Villarubia and me by Antoine Dodé

    Then it was on to the hotel parties!

    Cartoonist Hotel Party
    Anthony Clark, Yuko Ota, Gina Gagliano, Greg Means (? I think?) I mean Ananth, Aaron Diaz, David McGuire, Dylan Meconis.

    Calista and Dylan
    Calista Brill and Dylan Meconis

    Hotel Party
    Lucy, Rich Stevens and Dylan.

    Jess Fink

    My only photo that turned out from the TCAFter party to celebrate the end of the con was of Jess Fink, which is alright in my book because the internet does not have nearly enough photos of this lady’s rad white hair, if you ask me.

    Our final day in Toronto was filled with exploring the more colorful parts of the city.


    Toronto Street Art


    Cirque du Poulet



    Window Display
    I was absolutely in love with this window display.


    I’ve never had my feet hurt so excruciatingly as they did that weekend! Amazing. Lucy and Dylan had to drop me off a couple times so I could just sit, massage my feet and recoup a bit and then they’d loop back for me.

    Scooter Window
    Lucy and Dylan check out some Lucy-porn.


    The three of us had our second-to-last meal in Toronto before heading to catch our flight (then we had another airport-food meal).

    When I set up my camera on a nearby garbage can to take a picture of us, nobody else was around– but in the time it took the 10 second long timer to count down, suddenly there were, like, TEN PEOPLE all walking towards my little camera! This is me in mid-lurch rushing over to shove it safely in my pocket before a passer-by noticed a nice, abandoned camera to take home as their own.

    Okay! That’s the last of my Toronto photos!

    Thanks so much to everyone who bought my books (I pretty much sold out of EVERYTHING), brought me presents (!! You guuuuuys!) and treated me so goddamn well. TCAF is a really exceptional convention and I really encourage everyone to visit if they can!

    Tiiiiiiil NEXT YEAR!

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