Sex Criminals and a horse named Neil are stars of this year’s Vancouver Comic Arts Festival

A cover for the adult comic Sex Criminals. Artist Chip Zdarsky is among the guests at this year’s Vancouver Comic Arts Festival.

One of the weirdest and wistfully strange comics ever published in Canada, Neil the Horse developed a cult following during its 1983-88 publication. The comic was written and produced by Katherine Collins, who was born in Vancouver and known as Arn Saba until 1993 when she came out as a trans woman.

This year, those 15 classic, family-friendly comics have been collected in book form, in The Collected Neil the Horse. To mark the event and the renewed interest in Neil and his pals, Collins is appearing at this year’s Vancouver Comic Arts Festival (May 20-21 at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre, 181 Roundhouse Mews) – along with a number of other special guests, including the artist behind Sex Criminals, one of the most acclaimed adult comics of recent years.

Other featured guests include Faith Erin Hicks. Since 2007, the Canadian writer/artist has published a number of graphic novels, including Friends with Boys, Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong (with Prudence Shen), The Adventures of Superhero Girl (for which she won one of the comics industry’s highest honours, an Eisner Award), The Last of Us: American Dreams (with Neil Druckmann), and the Bigfoot Boy series (with J. Torres). Her current series is The Nameless City, a trilogy published by First Second Books.

Another high-profile guest is Chip Zdarsky. He’s the writer of the titles Howard the Duck and Star-Lord for Marvel, as well as Jughead for Archie Comics. He is also the artist of Image Comics’ Sex Criminals, issues of which have been collected into a #1 New York Times Bestseller.

The festival features dozens of other guests, many from out-of-town but also several from Vancouver, including Brandon Graham, James Lloyd, and Johnnie Christmas (who is currently illustrating the ongoing graphic novel series Angel Catbird, written by The Handmaid’s Tale author Margaret Atwood). For a complete list of guests, along with more information, visit

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