Comics Events @ The 18th Toronto Jewish Film Festival

Comics Events & Films at The 18th Toronto Jewish Film Festival

April 18th-25th, 2010, Various Venues
We here at The Beguiling couldn’t be happier to see the wonderful array of films and discussions available at the 18th Toronto Jewish Film Festival! To see the complete list of comics-related events, just click here.
The kick-off to the whole she-bang starts on Sunday, April 18th, with appearances by historian Paul Buhle, acclaimed author Harvey Pekar (American Splendor), and renowned comics auteur Ben Katchor! Here are the big kick off events:
Paul Buhle Talk: Jews and Comic Art
@ The Al Green Theatre, Miles Nadal JCC (Spadina & Bloor)
Sunday April 18th at 11:00am. 90 Mins
Free to attend
The connections between Jews and comic art on the printed page and on screen (film, TV and computer) offer one of the most enigmatic and valuable sagas in all Jewish/popular cultural life. Before Jewish artists and entrepreneurs created the comic book and the archetypal superhero, Rube Goldberg and Milt Gross invented wildly imaginary machines and the first graphic novel. More important, the Fleischer brothers as much as invented animation, with Betty Boop’s syncopated madness. For 30 years, movie cartoons filled theatre screens between features, and as they crashed, William M. Gaines (EC Comics) and Harvey Kurtzman (Mad Magazine) reinvented comic art once more. And that was only the beginning! Comics scholar Paul Buhle opens up the TJFF’s exploration and celebration of this field with film clips and observations, high points, disappointments and, increasingly, Jewish self-identification.
The Comic Art Forum
With Harvey Pekar, Ben Katchor, and Paul Buhle

@ The Al Green Theatre, Miles Nadal JCC (Spadina & Bloor)
Sunday April 18th at 4:00pm. 90 Mins
Free to attend

What’s new in Jews and comics, and … what’s old! This lively forum — with special guests and listeners joining the conversation — will probe familiar questions (what is it about comic art that drew Jewish artists in the first place?) and go on to recent ones (why is 90 percent of comic art on the web?). Just some of the other topics: Where is the comics industry going, now that the traditional comic book of the pulp variety is dying, and what has happened since comics became a growth industry, but mainly for the sale of superhero characters to Hollywood? Paul Buhle (author or editor of 42 books) and Harvey Pekar (American Splendor) have collaborated on a series of comic art volumes, including The Beats, Students for a Democratic Society, an adaptation of Studs Terkel’s Working and the forthcoming Yiddishland. Graphic novelist Ben Katchor (“The most poetic, deeply layered artist ever to draw a comic strip”) is the only cartoonist to receive a “genius” MacArthur Fellowship. Katchor’s most recent Pop Opera (in collaboration with Mark Mulcahy) will be performed at Lincoln Center in May.
The Film Festival will continue with a special speaking engagement by Katchor, documentaries on Will Eisner, Al Hirschfeld, Joann Sfar, and Siegel and Shuster, screenings of American Splendor and Fritz The Cat, and a preview of the forthcoming documentary on Will Elder, The Mad Playboy of Art!
It’s a truly sensational week of programming and events, and we strongly recommend you head over to the website at and check everything out…!
– Chris @ The Beguiling