(l to r: Jeremy Tankard, Steve Manale, Mike Cho, Brian McLachlan, Christopher Butcher)

On behalf of The Beguiling I’d like to thank everyone who came out for Free Comic Book Day — and Free Comics For Kids Day — this past weekend. Despite some pretty terrible weather, we still had a great turnout at both events, with hundreds of free comics finding their way to good homes.

(Tara Tallan (left) speaking with a fan)

Because of the torrential downpour on Saturday, our planned outdoor event at The Beguiling had to be moved indoors, and since the store is packed floor-to-ceiling with comics and graphic novels, moving it into The Beguiling wasn’t an option. Luckily, our neighbors at The Central lent us their entire restaurant for the day, as we gave out comics to all comers, young and old. Thanks to Stephen and everyone at The Central for going above and beyond the call of duty in the pursuit of great comics.

I bet ours was the only FCBD event with beer on tap…

(A young reader and his Dad brave the elements for free comics and Owl Magazines.)

(The main library set-up.)

(The never-ending line-up of kids looking for sketches!)

Meanwhile, over at The Palmerston Library, Free Comics For Kids Day was a roaring success. At its busiest point, I counted over 50 kids in the room with about 30-40 parents, and the numbers hovered around the 30-kid mark all day. We figure we had about 300 kids come through in the four-and-a-half hours the event was open, taking part in our crafts and activities, readings, engaging our artist guests, and of course Reading! Reading! Reading! (Comics). It was pretty awesome.

The event was an outgrowth of our Free Comic Book Day events, where we used the momentum generated by the event not only to promote ourselves and the medium, but also the the launches of new comics and related books from some of our favourite artists. The event was a launch/celebration of Jeremy Tankard’s Me Hungry from Candlewick, Steve Manale’s You Crack Me Up from Owlkids, and Mike Cho’s Max Finder Mystery Volume 3 from Owlkids. Even though it was a ‘free’ event the books were for sale, and while we didn’t move a ton I was happy to see that quite a few books made it to good homes.

(Mike Cho sketches for fans.)

(Grumpy Bird author Jeremy Tankard was surprised how many superheroes he drew…)

(Jeremy Tankard reads from his books Grumpy Bird and Me Hungry)

Our Free Comics For Kids Day events also included readings and presentations from our participating authors. Here, Jeremy Tankard is reading from his award-winning picture-book Grumpy Bird. Also making its official debut at this event was his new book, Me Hungry, the story of an adorable cave-boy looking for something to eat.

(Steve Manale draws an old-school Mario.)

(Brian McLachlan teaches kids how to write and draw ‘gag’ comics’)

Owl magazine illustrators and webcomics creators Brian McLachlan and Steve Manale doubled up in a presentation, teaching kids how to write and draw their own gag cartoons. It was a well-attended presentation both times they gave it.

(Mike Cho drew non-stop, all day, and even emptied out one of his markers doing this amazing ‘Venom’ drawing for a young fan. Kids love Venom.)

(Brian McLachlan makes a custom sketch for a young fan.)

(Volunteer Amanda is no worse the wear after a full day of giving away Owl Magazine, Chirp, Simpsons, Tiny Titans, Owly, and many, many more comics.)

(Almost everyone in attendance was drawing up a storm. Here’s our lil’est artist.)

But all good things must eventually come to an end, and so at 5 o’clock we all trudged back out into the rain with our comics safely bagged, waiting to be read at home.

(Actually, the whole staff went for dinner at Central because we were exhausted, and their food is as good as their nature, in our very humble opinion.)

Once again, thanks to everyone who came out for the event, to everyone who spread the word, to our sponsors at The Toronto Public Library, Owl, Penguin Canada, and espescially The Burrow Art Centre, and to our volunteers and staff Amanda, Becca, Dan, Derek, James, Jason, Jerry, Jim, Kai, Kayla, Maggie, Naseem, Parrish, and Zach… and anyone I’m forgetting of course.

Of course, extra-special thanks to our artist and author friends who came out and signed and sketched for hours! You made a lot of fans of all ages happy, and you’re all invited back whenever you like (maybe rest up a bit first though…). Here’s where you can find out more about all of our participating artists:

Michael Cho (Transmission-X, Max Finder): ,
Willow Dawson (Violet Miranda):
J. Korim (Neozoic):
Jessie Lam (Neozoic):
Steve Manale (Superslackers, You Crack Me Up):
Nick Mandaag (Artist): no website!
Tyrone McCarthy (Corduroy High):
Alana McCarthy (Illustrator):
Brian McLachlan (Princess Planet):,
Tara Tallan (Galaxion):
Jeremy Tankard (Grumpy Bird, Me Hungry):
Chip Zdarsky (Monster Cops):

See you all again next year!
Chris @ The Beguiling