Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Guttersnipes: Elisha Lim

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Guttersnipes: Elisha Lim

TCAF is the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. It is an annual week-long celebration of comics and graphic novels and their creators, featuring readings, interviews, panels, workshops, gallery shows, art installations, and culminating in a two-day exhibition and vendor fair featuring hundreds of comics creators from around the world. The Toronto Comic Arts Festival 2014 will take place Saturday, May 10 and Sunday May 11, at Toronto Reference Library (789 Yonge Street). Admission is free. Leading up to the Festival, I'll be interviewing some of the dazzling comic writers and illustrators – particularly the Canadian ones – who have brand-new books out for TCAF.

Elisha Lim have exhibited art and videos internationally, and have lectured on race representation and gender neutral pronouns on panels, artist talks, and United Nations conferences since 2009, and directed Montreal's first Racialized Pride Week in 2012, for which they curated the central exhibit '2-Qtpoc' at the gallery articule. Their current film circuit short '100 Butches #9: Ruby' was controversially censored in Singapore and debuted this year at the London BFI. They are also the comics creator of 'Sissy Calendar,' The Illustrated Gentleman, and 100 Butches, a series of portraits and anecdotes about masculine queers, with an introduction by Alison Bechdel. At TCAF, they present 100 Crushes, a collection of five years of queer comics, including 'Sissy Calendar,' The Illustrated Gentleman, and 100 Butches, a series of portraits and anecdotes about masculine queers, with an introduction by Alison Bechdel (Fun Home).

Please describe, as best you can, your new comic book as an equation of movies. (e.g. Passenger 57 + Fried Green Tomatoes – unintentional cannibalism)

Persepolis + Reality Bites + The Muppets Movie

What was your favourite comic book when you were thirteen?

Nobody Is Perfick by Bernard Waber.

What was the name and general premise of the first comic book you ever made? (That is, when you were a kid, making comics for your siblings and/or friends?)

I had dozens of this series:

'Toady is a frog. One Monday, Toady was trampled in a field. Toady hates Mondays.'

Have you been to TCAF before? If so, what’s your favourite TCAF memory? If not, what are you most looking forward to?

Oh yeah, I love TCAF. I love roaming through tiny enchanting hand-made jewels and labour-intensive comic loot bags. My favourite memory was getting a signature and hug from Alison Bechdel.

If you could collaborate with one other TCAF guest, who would it be (and why)?

Oh man Alison Bechdel (Fun Home) for sure. She's my hero, someone who dignified everyday queer life and turned it into award winning literature.

What do you find the most difficult thing to write? Draw?

Filler. Transitions. Landscape. My stories are super short and often involve a single drawing.

TCAF is now over ten years old. What’s the biggest change you've noticed in the world of comics in the past ten years?

It's the same change I've noticed in the mainstream world: more queer inclusion. I love that! I've been really encouraged by the successes of the Cristi C. Road, MariNaomi, Gay Genius Anthology, Nicole J. Georges, Edie Fake, and others.

100 Crushes is like a sampler or ‘best of’ some of your acclaimed comics and illustration work (the Sissy calendar, your work on The Illustrated Gentleman, etc). How did you select what to include?

I chose the comics that still move me. Some of them bore me now, especially anything didactic that I might have been commissioned to draw for Trans 101.

You started as a musician before turning to comics and still perform. How does your musical work inform your comics? (Or does it?)

It definitely does. Being onstage is all about keeping short attention spans. You have to make a great first impression. You have to consider your audience. You have to keep the momentum. It taught me everything I know about storytelling.

You’ve also turned your acclaimed 100 Butches portrait project into a short film. What was it like to adapt your earlier work to film? Are there more adaptations from that project coming?

Oh my God, it was so tedious. Major respect to all claymation animators. That stuff was so painful, which is maybe why I've only made two clay comic adaptations. But I loved the fantasy of it. I loved adapting my schoolyard crush into tiny figures hopping on and off teapots and can openers. It helped me loosen up and explore an alternate reality that I wish came to me more naturally.

Visit to find out more about TCAF and Elisha Lim's appearance at the festival. They will also be part of a special TCAF Queer Mixer on May 10.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Evan Munday

Evan Munday is the illustrator of the novel Stripmalling, written by Jon Paul Fiorentino (ECW 2009), and is the cartoonist behind the self-published comic book, Quarter-Life Crisis, set in a post-apocalyptic Toronto. He works as a book publicist for Coach House Books. The Dead Kid Detective Agency was his first novel, and in 2013, he published Dial M for Morna, the second book in the Dead Kids series. He lives in Toronto, ON.

Go to Evan Munday’s Author Page