The Comics Studies Society

Extra Events

Pre-Conference Event

We are pleased to offer a Wednesday evening film screening for conference attendees who have arrived in Toronto and would like to get together informally on campus.

We will be screening the 2018 film documentary, Drawn Together: Comics, Diversity, and Stereotypes (Dir. Harleen Singh, Kaur Films, 2018, 52 minutes). For more info and to watch a trailer:

When: Wednesday, July 24th @ 7:30-8:30pm

Location: English Department Boardroom (Ryerson-Jorgenson Hall 1043)

Drawn Together: Comics, Diversity, and Stereotypes taps into the explosion in the public’s appetite for superhero stories on television and in movies as a gateway to refocus common comic themes of justice and doing good for the community to open a deeper and more inclusive social dialogue about diversity and inclusion.
Screened in over 42 Film Festivals, tens of universities and multiple libraries across the globe, the film traces the fascinating journey of three comic creators who challenge the notion of race, appearance, and gender stereotypes creatively through cartoons, comics and cosplay. Keith Knight is an African American syndicated comic writer who tackles police brutality and racial injustice with satire. Vish is a Sikh American who proudly wears his turban and beard while also the Captain America uniform to challenge our idea of what a superhero should look like. Eileen is a caucasian woman who confronts gender bias and traditional norms of femininity with strong female characters in comics and has the distinction of being a rare action based comics creator.

Expert commentary is provided by Professor Arvind Singhal, a world expert in Entertainment Education; Andrew Farago, curator of San Francisco Cartoon Museum; and Adam Elrashidi, a producer at Al Jazeera; who collectively tie the story together and share how change in stereotype culture can be brought about by changing stories. They share their thoughts on the impact of these artists work in bringing a groundswell movement on how we look at racial identity, gender biases and other stereotypes that are well entrenched in our society.

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Action! Adventure! Laughs!
Canadian Comics During WWII

A special exhibit at the Ryerson Library for CSS COMICS/POLITICS Conference Delegates

Location: Ryerson Library Archives and Special Collections: LIB 405

Exhibition Viewing: The exhibit will be on display for CSS Conference Delegates to view from 10:00 am – 7:00 pm, Friday, July 26th.

Exhibition Reception for CSS Conference Delegates*: 5:30-7:00pm, July 26th 2019.

*limited space, tickets will be available at Registration table. Appetizers and cash bar.

Special Guest: Hope Nicholson
Hope Nicholson is the owner of Winnipeg-based publisher Bedside Press, which focuses on publishing new and old stories from all cultures and walks of life. A historian of comics, she's worked to bring attention to 1940s Canadian comic book history as a producer on the film
Lost Heroes and the publisher of 1940s Canadian comic book collections including Nelvana of the Northern Lights. She was also the curator of anthologies for Dark Horse comics including The Secret Loves of Geek Girls and was responsible for putting together the NYT #1 best-selling Angel Catbird trilogy by Margaret Atwood, Johnnie Christmas, & Tamra Bonvillain. She is the editor of Moonshot vol. 1 & 2 from AH Comics, an Indigenous comics anthology series, and the author of the The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen by Quirk Books which shines light on female characters forgotten by comics history.

Exhibition Overview
The Ryerson Library is pleased to present an exhibit of Canadian Comics During WWII from the Bell Features Canadian Whites collection. The exhibit features over 181 action, adventure, science, and humour comics published between 1941 and 1946 that provide a glimpse into wartime popular culture and Canadian comics history.

Ryerson Library's Bell Features Canadian Whites collection was donated anonymously and consists of 181 comic books, produced in Canada, mainly during World War II. When the War Exchange Conservation Act (WECA), on December 2, 1940 classified American comics as "luxury goods" and limited their importation, an instant market for Canadian produced comic books emerged and four companies emerged to fill the void.

When WECA was repealed in June of 1944 and American comic books were once again available to Canadians, Bell Features tried to remain competitive by expanding their market into the US and the UK, and by publishing some titles in colour. When another ban was implemented, the company shifted its focus and began reprinting American titles, but once American comics were consistently available again, Canadian comic publishers simply could not compete, and Bell Features eventually went out of business in 1953.

For further information about this Special Collection:

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In-Store Social
@ The Beguiling and Little Island Comics

Friday, July 26th from 8:00-9:30
Address: 319 College Street (30 min. walk from Ryerson/20 min. streetcar ride/10-15 minute taxi or ride share)
All conference delegates are invited to join Peter Birkemoe and the staff of Toronto's landmark comic book store, The Beguiling, for an informal social event and opportunity to browse and shop their impressive collection of comics for everyone. You can read more about The Beguiling, winner of the first ever Will Eisner Spirit of Retailing Award for excellence in retailing, here:  Light refreshments. 

Accessibility: The store has no steps or thresholds, and can largely be navigated with a wheelchair or other mobility device. Seating available.

CSS Conference Comics Drive

CSS is committed to supporting local comics communities at each of our conferences. We have partnered with the Canada Comics Open Library (CCOL) for our 2nd annual conference at Ryerson University for a Comics Drive.

We invite all attendees to donate a comic to Canada's only non-profit comics library, located in downtown Toronto. You are also invited to visit the CCOL while in Toronto and check out their open, inclusive, and accessible space:

Click here for the CCOL donations wishlist: