Komiks Zine Fair launches in Toronto

Kwentong Bayan Collective organized its inaugural small press literary space generically called Komiks Zine Fair. (Provided)

Toronto, Ontario

Young blood brings new crop of Pinoy komiks

By Ysh Cabana

TORONTO (07/25)—For artists, collectors and geek culture savants, the month of July means it’s time for the San Diego Comic-Con International, North America’s biggest and loudest showcase for comics and all things pop culture. In recent years, the number of comics-related events has grown to thousands of regular events, from massive gatherings of more than 100,000 patrons to festivals and fairs held in local library branches.


In Toronto Reference Library, there is an ongoing exhibit on Canadian superheroes, including Scott Pilgrim, Captain Canuck, Nelvana, and Kagagi, in what is considered the ‘Golden Age’ of comics in this country. Created by Library and Archives Canada, the thrilling display is titled Alter Ego: Comics and Canadian Identity drawing hundreds of visitors.


Comic cons are not just in the US or Canada. More kinds are organized in the Philippines featuring displays (or cosplays) of elaborate costumes, toys and gaming culture, movies, Western animation, manga series and workshops for prospective commecial cartoonists or indie creators. An increasing interest on komiks, or Philippine comics spelled as such to to fit the orthography of native languages, add to the fanfare.

Comics/Komiks Zine Fair


For that, Kwentong Bayan Collective is keen in organizing its inaugural small press literary space generically called Komiks Zine Fair in partnership with the Toronto Public Library on July 21.

Composed of Toronto-based artists Jo SiMalaya Alcampo and Althea Balmes, Kwentong Bayan has been hosting pulp fiction weekly meet-ups since July 2017. Participants have been encouraged to network, to create and bring their comics/komiks to completion. 

Zines, tiny photocopied and stapled books that are often with political text and images, deck the Lillian H. Smith Library branch. The fair features local artists including Noelle “KEET” Geniza, 20, whose creations “trace the significance of poignant memories of her childhood and map the emotional atmosphere of her life as a queer immigrant woman of colour.”

Other artists include Maria Patricia Abuel (mpabuel.com), Kara Manso #WeAreNotRobots, Sarah Salise & youth group Anakbayan Toronto, Eric B. Tigley of HOY! a Filipino activity book, and Lorraine Chuen (lorrainechuen.com) and the Cup Doodle Project. Some are with illustrations, others selling prints as well.

At the other end of the hall, Ysh Cabana and Eloisa Guerrero shared their own collection of komiks and graphic novels in a reading corner. Cabana also introduced the film “Illustrated By: The Filipino Invasion of U.S. Comics” he co-produced. The documentary traced the history of legendary Filipino comic artists whose works were published in the US mainstream industry, to be read by fans from all over the world. 

Kwentong Bayan Collective believes that a new model for komiks and pop culture events will take shape over time.

Kwentong Bayan’s drop-in to the Comics/Komiks Meet-Up is every Monday (except for statutory holidays) from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at the Lillian H. Smith Library, 239 College St. (at Spadina) Meeting Room A, Lower Level, Toronto.

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