Whitby Comic Arts Festival

Whitby Comic Arts Festival

WhitCAF logo.

The first Whitby Comic Arts Festival is taking place at the Central Library – a day of activities designed for comic lovers of all ages. Stop by, take in a panel discussion, buy comics from emerging and established comic book creators, show off your cosplay costume and check out the latest comics from our major partner, Comic Book Addiction.

WhitCAF will take place on Saturday, November 18 from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Whitby Central Library. This festival has a local, literary focus and is geared towards Whitby residents of all ages.

We've got a full roster of talented comic book creators who will be at WhitCAF. See below for details on all of our guests. We'll also have Marvel-ous Makeup face-painting and Cosplay Corner with green screens. Show you inner fan by dressing up as your favourite character!

WhitCAF Kickoff - Drinks 'n Doodles & Mixer

Drinks 'n Doodles illustration.Join us for the WhitCAF kickoff event with an evening of comic arts drawing and doodling. Bring your sketchbook, or come empty handed (pencils, markers and paper will be provided) and socialize with other aspiring artists (doodlers) in a relaxed, judgement-free environment. 

After the Drinks 'n Doodles program, stay to mix and mingle with some of WhitCAF’s artists, illustrators and vendors. A selection of appetizers will be provided (while quantities last). This program is hosted in partnership with The Royal Oak.

Registration is required for the Drinks ‘n Doodles portion of the evening ONLY. This program is for Adults 19+. Register here.

Location: The Royal Oak, 617 Victoria Street West, Whitby.

Panels and Presentations

11:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon

Meeting Room 1

Comics for Kids and Reluctant Readers
The media spotlight on comic-based movies like Wonder Woman or The Avengers has moved comic books from a niche market of enthusiasts to a rapidly growing aspect of the publishing industry. Now, libraries and bookstores feature shelves dedicated to graphic novels -- and classrooms have caught on as well. The literary art form of comic books offers a whole new way to look at storytelling and can be a powerful motivator for even the most reluctant young reader. However, some people still think that comics are too low brow, too simple, or too mature for kids. Wendy Browne will help you discover what comics are really about, what kinds of stories writers and artists are telling through this medium, and how you and your kids can enjoy reading time with a great comic book.

12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Meeting Room 1

Start Your Comic
Are you a creative nervous or overwhelmed about how to get your comic book published? In this Q&A, panelists Meaghan Carter, "Fearless" Fred Kennedy, D.A. Bishop and Scott Chantler will shed light on how aspiring writers and illustrators can go about getting their comic book off the ground. Topics that will be discussed include how the panelists started their own comic books, problems they faced and overcame, and new challenges that have cropped up now that they've been creating comics for the long term. Join this group as they provide practical information on how to navigate the publishing market, marketing comic books and showing the various pathways you can take when sharing your work with the world.

1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Children's Program Room

Saturday Afternoon Comic-toons with J. Torres
Writer J. Torres and friends will read from their works including Teen Titans Go, Group of 7 and Adventures of L'il Auroraman. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the story time slideshow or, better yet, volunteer to provide the voice of one of the characters! Fun for the whole family.

2:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Children's Program Room

Community Comic Book Make 'n Take
Complete your very own comic strip at our Make 'n Take station. Give your completed panels to one of our volunteers to be showcased on our Community Comic Book wall or bring it home to add it to your "private collection".

2:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.

Meeting Room 1

Wonder Woman and the Evolution of Feminism
Comic Book Addiction employee and Durham College instructor Elisabeth Pfeiffer will present a history of Wonder Woman through the lens of feminism. Learn all about how this iconic and culturally significant character has impacted the feminist movements throughout her 75 year history. 

3:15 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Meeting Room 1

How Comic Book Fans Took Over the World
Comic Cons and "nerd culture" are all the rage these days. Ron Kasman, veteran comic book writer, penciller, inker, colourist and letterer will talk all about the increasing popularity of comic book culture and fandom, from cave paintings to modern day blockbuster films.


Comic Book Addiction logo.Comic Book Addiction is Southern Ontario's finest specialty shop!  Located at 1022 Brock Street South in Whitby, they sell new and vintage comics and have a massive selection of trade paperbacks, busts and statues, games and gaming supplies, toys and action figures and more! The Whitby Public Library is proud to have Comic Book Addiction as its major partner for WhitCAF. Visit the CBA website or find CBA on Facebook.

Organizations and Media

The LivingRoom Community Art Studio logo.The LivingRoom Community Art Studio is a registered non-profit that provides a safe space for folks of all ages and abilities—including those most marginalized—to make and share art for free in the service of community development and individual well-being. The LivingRoom is thrilled to join WhitCAF in a celebration of cosplay, and can’t wait to help you tell the story of your character through art and accessory making. Visit their pop-up Art Hive table to embellish your accessories, or to create something new for your character! For more information about the LivingRoom Community Art Studio visit them on Facebook, or see their website.



Geek Hard logo.Geek Hard is the weekly internet radio show and podcast that brings you the latest news and reviews for all things GEEK! Hosts Andrew Young and Mr. Green are your guides through the world of pop culture and genre entertainment as they talk about movies, comics, television as well as interview professionals in the industry. Check them out Friday Nights at 7:00 p.m. Eastern on www.realityradio101.com or anytime at geekhardshow.com. The Whitby Public Library is proud to have the Geek Hard crew as moderators for the WhitCAF programs and panels.

Hey Kids Comics Radio Show logo.

The Hey Kids, Comics! radio show is available on Google Play and at heykidscomics.ca. A group of long-time comic reading pals share hosting duties on the Hey Kids, Comics! radio show, which broadcasts live on Trent Radio 92.7 CFFF FM in lovely Peterborough, Ontario every week. Join Dan Collins, Marty Boruta, Chris Gilpin and Sam Tweedle as they rant and rave on the hobby they love.



Special Guests

Photo of J. Torres.

J. Torres is a comic book writer perhaps best known for his DC Comics' Teen Titans Go, the Eisner Award-nominated Alison Dare, and the TD Summer Reading Club title Bigfoot Boy. Winner of the Shuster Award for "Outstanding Writer," Torres has worked with characters from A (Archies) to Z (The Mighty Zodiac) and many more in between (Batman, Chirp, Ninja Scroll, The Simpsons, WALL-E, Wonder Woman, Yo Gabba Gabba, and X-Men to name a few). He has also written for animation and television (including a Degrassi webisode in which "Drake" ignored the script and ad-libbed his own lines). Torres was born in Manila and raised in Montreal where he was educated at McGill University (and pretty sure he took a lit class with Justin Trudeau). He is married with two sons and currently resides in Whitby, Ontario.

Photo of "Fearless" Fred Kennedy.

"Fearless" Fred Kennedy was raised in the wilds of northeast Edmonton where his love of comics began at the 7-11 while waiting to play Street Fighter 2. The day the convenience store removed the comic book spinner rack was a dark day for young Frederick and he was forced to take 3 buses to get to the closest comic shop.
That was a long time ago, now he's writing comics in his basement almost every day of the week. He's been writing for a few years now, the first published work being a 24 hour comic challenge story in 2006. That led to his indie series, Teuton, Mike Gorbsmith: The Only Good Looking Russian Ever, Helos, and countless shorts for anthologies. His most recent work is with Chapterhouse called The Fourth Planet. Fred is also a radio personality on 102.1 The Edge.

Photo of Valentine De Landro.

Valentine De Landro is a Canadian comic book artist, illustrator, and designer. His credits include titles from Marvel, DC Comics, IDW, Valiant, and Dark Horse. He’s known for Marvel Knights: 4 and X-Factor. He is the co-creator of BITCH PLANET with Kelly Sue DeConnick.

Photo of D.A. Bishop.

D.A. (David) Bishop is a Durham Region comics creator whose works include the zombie webcomic Stranger, the fantasy tale Of Stone, and Squirrels. He is also the artist on True Patriot Presents: Crude with writer Fred Kennedy. David has also created the art for Amazing Hockey Stories: Connor McDavid from Scholastic, Morte, with writer Kevin Joseph published by Source Point Press, and The Monster with writer Ben Rosenthal as part of an anthology from Alterna Press. Previously, he has successfully self-published Deep Sea: An Original Graphic Novel with writer Ricky Lima via Kickstarter. When David is not creating comics, he is spending time with his wife and two children in their humble abode in Pickering.

Photo of Ron Kasman.

Ron Kasman created the first graphic novel on Canadian history called William Lyon Mackenzie and the Rebellion of 1837 in Upper Canada. Ron wrote and drew stories for Image Comics and many other publishers. Many of the stories have been about comic book fans like him. His reoccurring stories featuring his character Kalabogie Jake are cautionary tales about what fanaticism can do to a person. His comic strip Bruce Barnaby, Master Pedagogue, the story of a useless and arrogant school teacher, won a province wide award for educational journalism, the Amie Award. Ron has recently completed a 216 page graphic novel, Tower of the Comic Book Freaks, which was published by Caliber Entertainment this year. Set in the New York of Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver, it is the story of five very young men from Toronto who cross the border in search of love, sex, art, comic books and a glimpse at New York’s wicked underbelly.

Artists' Alley

Picture of Jason Loo.

Jason Loo is a Toronto-based cartoonist behind the Pitiful Human-Lizard comic series. He has contributed short comics for the Monstrosity comic anthology by Alterna Press as well as the third volume of Toronto Comics Anthology. He has also done freelance illustration work for This Magazine, National Post, Globe and Mail, and 24 magazine. Loo graduated from Sheridan Institute in their Interpretive Illustration program.

Picture of Meaghan Carter.

Meaghan Carter is the author of the YA webcomics Take Off!, and the ongoing Godslave. Her work primarily features female leads, character drama and interactions with otherworldly beings. She's also been a part of the Valor fairytale anthology, The Secret Loves of Geek Girls anthology, and the Toronto Comics Anthology.

Picture of Dan Collins.

One fateful night Dan Collins picked up his first Green Lantern issue. His world was instantly altered forever. Several years and many comics later, he decided to put his degree in Radio Broadcasting to work when he co-founded the Hey Kids, Comics! Peterborough podcast. Attempting to make use of his other skills, he is currently writing several comics including The Adventures of Lil Auroraman and Friends.

Picture of Chris Sanagan.

Chris Sanagan is an archivist who lives with his family in Guelph. He has written for Spacing Toronto, The American Archivist and the Guelph Mercury Tribune. Group of 7 is his first work of fiction. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisSanagan and on Instagram @chrissanagan. See more details about Group of 7 on Facebook.

Picture of Jason Lapidus.

Jason Lapidus taught art for nearly a decade in both the classroom and museum gallery. Although his love of drawing comics began more than thirty years ago, Group of 7 is Jason's first published work. Follow him on Twitter @JasonLapidus and on Instagram @jasonlapidus. See more details about Group of 7 on Facebook

Picture of Chris Willdig.

Chris Willdig is a lifelong comic book fan and avid collector. His first comic book was Marvel’s Uncanny X-men #334, which he purchased off the spinner racks in his hometown of Sutton, Ontario in 1996. It was this single comic book that ignited Chris’ passion for comic art and design and set him on a course to pursue a career in the creative arts! Chris attended Sheridan College and Algonquin College where he studied art and graphic design. Chris currently works full time as a Senior Graphic Designer at 360insights in Whitby. Earlier this year, Chris also began working as a contract artist for Upper Deck and Topps trading cards. Chris has drawn licensed artwork for Marvel properties such as Spider-man and Daredevil, as well as Star Wars and The Walking Dead. You can see his work on his Behance page or on Instagram @rebelart1984

Picture of Rene Vriends.

Rene Vriends was born and raised in The Netherlands. Rene grew up reading and has been influenced by the European greats in comics. Schooled in design arts and illustration, Rene continues a career in that field both in a full-time job and freelance. Recently, through Elsewhere Media, he published a series of Silly Rhyme Christmas Cards.

Picture of George Todorovski.

George Todorovski is a professional comic artist and writer, who has also done work as a designer and animator for film, television and games, working on notable projects, such as Through The Wormhole, hosted by Morgan Freeman, Heavy Metal Magazine and the game Dungeon Crawler. George is the co-creator of the cult classic comic, The Bear Stories and recently published his graphic novel anthology The Book.

Picture of Chris Hatzopolous.

From Toronto Canada, Chris Hatzopoulos began his comic-making ways during a week of downtime between jobs that resulted in a mini-comic named Elsewhere. Early interests in drawing and creative writing paved the way towards a profession in graphic design, 3D animation, becoming a member of a comedy group and drinking scotch. 

Picture of Philip Jones.

Philip Jones is a freelance illustrator and cartoonist who emigrated to Canada from the United Kingdom almost ten years ago. He has had works published in the British magazines Astronomy Now, UFO Times and What Laptop, and has had works in small press magazines and publicity posters. He is syndicated by Continental News Service, who features his cartoon series Size and Stupidity on a monthly basis in their US magazine Continental Newstime. He is a podcast junkie and loves listening to vintage radio and CBC Radio 1. He lives in Whitby with his 1 Wife, 2 hedgehogs and 5 cats.

Picture of Zi Chen.

Zi Chen is a 19-year-old freelance comic artist, animator, character designer, and illustrator. She is the creator of a soon-to-be-released webcomic titled Ramshackle, which she works on in her spare time. Zi enjoys trees, chilling with friends, and frolicking through wheat fields. Her favourite colour is a sort of yellowy-orange. She currently studies animation at Sheridan College and thinks it would be cool to work on a cartoon someday.

Picture of Kanekiel.

Kanekiel is a young artist and writer who is best known for their colourful canvases as well as their unique and eclectic personal style. Three of their pieces were featured this year in the Station Gallery’s Art Attack. Their art has also been recognized by musicians/artists like Charli XCX, Du Blonde, GIRLI, HANA and SoKo. You can find Kanekiel on Instagram @kanekiel_

Nora Li Logo.

Nora Li is a traditional and digital artist that has a great passion for animation, comic and craft. In her free time, she enjoys exploring and creating with different media including marker, watercolour, acrylic, gouache, and clay. Most importantly, she enjoys telling stories with her art. Currently, she’s working on an illustrated novel called Ianthe and Her Apple Tree.

Picture of Candice Chavannes.

Candice Chavannes is a 13-year-old artist currently living in Whitby, Ontario. In 2012 at the age of eight she began to enjoy the visual arts, and created a business called Candy Coated Art. She started with painting abstract and gradually progressed to still life, sketches, and eventually, digital art. She enjoys doing many types of art including cartoon drawings on her computer. She also enjoys physical activity such as soccer and running. But art is truly her passion and she hopes she can continue with it throughout her life!

Photo of Bruce Gravel.

Since 2003, Bruce Gravel’s light-hearted stories have delighted readers of newspapers like the Peterborough Examiner and the Globe & Mail, and magazines like Maclean’s and Association, among others.

He published his first novel Inn Sanity: Diary of an Innkeeper Virgin in 2009 and has written several books of comedic short stories. In 2015, Bruce shifted gears, releasing The Hero Stone, a fantasy adventure novel for readers aged 13 and up, starring three teenagers, including one living with an intellectual disability. 2015 also saw the publication of Every Season has a Story...Summer, an anthology of eight interweaving short stories by eight Peterborough authors, of which Bruce was one. His contribution was a tale of adventure and secrets. 

Drawn avatar of Reece Themen.

Reece is a 19-year-old studying Game Design at Sheridan College. He grew up in Whitby and loves to draw creatures and to see how they interact with different environments. He’s really into character/creature design, animations and concept art. He usually draws with pencil and paper, but he’d like to say he’s pretty good at 3D modelling things, too, which he taught himself to do. He is currently working on his own comic called Grim Matter, so he mostly does original stuff but also likes adapting different video game elements into his own style. 



Photo of Scott Chantler.

Scott Chantler is the acclaimed creator of the graphic novel Two Generals, which was nominated for two Eisner Awards, named one of Chapters-Indigo’s Best Books of 2010, selected for Best American Comics 2012, and named by the CBC as one of the 40 best Canadian non-fiction books of all time. His other work includes Northwest Passage (nominated for Eisner and Harvey Awards) and the Three Thieves series (winner of the Joe Shuster Award for Best Comic for Kids and listed by YALSA as a Great Graphic Novel for Teens).

Picture of Wendy Browne.

Wendy Browne proudly labels herself as (in no particular order) a mother, bibliophile, gamer, professional administrator, geek, writer, and editor. Her love of comics was stoked by her brother, who handed over his collection of Classic and Uncanny X-Men comics when she was ten years old. That collection has expanded greatly since then, and she happily shares it with her two daughters. When not reading comics, she's writing or reading about them as the Assistant Editor of the Eisner-award nominated comics criticism journal, Women Write About Comics. She's also a co-reviewer at BiblioSanctum, a speculative fiction book blog.

Photo of Elisabeth Pfeiffer.

Elisabeth Pfeiffer is a huge comic book and Wonder Woman fan. She works at Comic Book Addiction in Whitby and for the past five years, has been running a Ladies Comic Book Night group where women meet to read and discuss graphic novels. She has previously presented at the Whitby Public Library on Gender and Comics. She is also a communications instructor at Durham College, freelance journalist and licensed paralegal. 

Planning to come to WhitCAF? Awesome! Before arriving, please take a look at the WhitCAF Rules of Conduct.

WhitCAF Prize Draw Contest Rules