Cartoonists at large – highlights of this year’s Vancouver Comic Arts Festival!

Art by Faith Erin Hicks, a Halifax cartoonist who is one of the guests at this year's Vancouver Comic Arts Festival.

Art by Faith Erin Hicks, a Halifax cartoonist who is one of the guests at this year’s Vancouver Comic Arts Festival.

Talented guests, entertaining and informative panels and an all-around good vibe have combined to make the Vancouver Comic Arts Festival one of the city’s most anticipated events, at least by comics nerds (and the city has plenty of those).

Now in its fifth year, VanCAF 2016 takes place May 21-22 at the Roundhouse Community Centre. This year’s special guest is Lynn Johnston, known to fans of the funny pages as the creator of the popular comic strip For Better or For Worse. The Canadian cartoonist, who worked on the strip for over 30 years before retiring in 2010, will be in conversation with cartoonist Doug Savage on Saturday, May 21. Afterwards, she’ll sign books and meet fans.

But there are plenty of other highlights, too. Let’s look at some of the other creators who are going to coming out to talk comics. And, by the way, VanCAF is FREE, although enthusiasts might want to think about paying for a VIP Package, which is $20 and includes raffle tickets, posters and more.

Re-Writing History: Research & Invention In Historical Comics (4 p.m. – 4:45 p.m., May 21) – A panel of comics creators look at writing and drawing comics based on history. Five cartoonists will discuss their methods, from research to brainstorming.

This Is Probably a Mistake, With Jeph & Karla (1:00 p.m. – 1:45 p.m., May 22) – Cartoonists Jeph Jacques (Questionable Content) and Karla Pacheco (Inspector Pancakes, Under the Wagon) discuss telling stories using crude humour. According to the VanCAF website: “Equipped with rude jokes and a thorough misunderstanding of human anatomy, Jeph & Karla seek to entertain, inspire, and enlighten – without bullying or punching down. Mature audiences and parental guidance highly encouraged.”

For Better or For Worse creator Lynn Johnston is this year's special guest at VanCAF.

For Better or For Worse creator Lynn Johnston is this year’s special guest at VanCAF.

Bump In the Night: Horror Comics & Modern Storytelling (4 p.m. – 4:45 p.m., May 22) – Horror has a fine old tradition in comics. In this panel, three practitioners of the comic arts talk about how they scare readers, analyze modern themes and explore what terror means to both reader and creator.

Brandon Graham – One of this year’s many guest artists, Graham is a Vancouver-based cartoonist behind the acclaimed series Prophet as well as the anthology series Island (which draws on the talents of several local creators).

Faith Erin Hicks – The Halifax, Nova Scotia cartoonist’s work includes the Eisner Award-winning The Adventures of Superhero Girl. Her latest book, The Nameless City, comes out in April 2016.

VanCAF 2016’s hours are 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. May 21 and and 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. May 22 at the Roundhouse (181 Roundhouse Mews).

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