Drawing a Crowd for Tintin and Hergé at Steamwhistle

This Sunday, admire some truly unique original comic-book art while sipping a refreshing lager at Toronto Draws, presented by The Beguiling Books & Art and hosted by, and at, the Steamwhistle Brewery.

Since November 2, Steamwhistle’s conveniently long walls — a function of being housed in a former railroad roundhouse — have anchored an exhibition of remarkably diverse Tintin-inspired artwork, generated by dozens of Toronto artists (criteria: current or former Torontonians). The show closes Sunday, with a silent auction and launch of the graphic novel biography of Tintin creator Georges Rémi, better known by his pen name Hergé. In attendance will be European comic artist Stanislas Barthelemy, who travelled from France to Toronto specifically for the English-language release of his book, The Adventures of Hergé; the title intentionally reflects the looming Spielberg/Jackson film adaptation, The Adventures of Tintin, out December 21.

Although Tintin began his adventures in the 1930s and retired in the mid-’70s, he remains a beloved international household name (admittedly, more popular in Europe — though the mass-market film will likely change this). The series comprised almost two dozen complete graphic novels, outlining the adventures of young Belgian reporter and titular hero Tintin, along with a colourful cast of supporting characters including the fox-terrier dog Snowy, the clutzy Professor Calculus and the grumpy Captain Haddock.

The Toronto Draws exhibition boasts about 80 pieces of art created by an eclectic mix of artists. Works that leapt off the wall at this reporter include a Chip Zadarsky’s full-size portrait depicting Tintin as a brute, and Vicki Nerino’s gonzo version of detectives Thomson and Thompson. Other name-brand contributors include Chester Brown, Michael DeForge, Joe Ollmann, Zach Worton, and Faith Erin Hicks — but big name or “no name,” it’s all fascinating.

Who should attend? “Fans of original comic-book art, or anyone who wants to get something really cool and Tintin-related for some special kid… or adult kid. Timing is fortunate as we enter the holiday season,” says Beguiling owner Peter Birkemoe, who designed the event with inclusiveness in mind, to attract old fans, new fans, casual readers, comic enthusiasts, local artists, film fans and passersby alike.

The evening includes a silent auction. All proceeds will be donated to the Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting comic book artists and fans in legal issues and ensuring their right to free speech.

Toronto Draws happens this Sunday November 27 from 7pm-11pm. Steamwhistle Brewery, 255 Bremner Blvd. Admission is free.

Image courtesy of Tara McCallum.

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