Canada is just plain cooler

The Toronto Comics Art Festival has scored a coup:

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) is excited to announce that internationally renowned manga creator Natsume Ono will make her first-ever North American public appearance as a Featured Guest at TCAF 2011. Hailing from Japan, Ono is one of the most exciting and unique women working in the medium today, and she will appear on panels and sign books in support of her English language works at Toronto Reference Library, May 7 and 8, 2011. Ono appears with the support of her English-language publisher VIZ Media.

Since I can’t resist praising Ono whenever her name comes up, I will happily repeat another paragraph from the press release:

“Ono’s fantastic work fits squarely into the ‘art comix’ idiom that’s at the core of the Festival,” enthuses Festival Director Christopher Butcher. “It’s the type of work we try to encourage. She’s a true auteur, working in a variety of styles and on different subjects, and her work is sure to find favour with fans of our other Featured Guests including Chris Ware, Jillian Tamaki, Mawil, and Adrian Tomine.”

You may recognize Mr. Butcher from his awesome blog or his work as manager of The Beguiling.

The cruelties of the calendar generally mean I can’t travel during the Festival, but I’m sure Ono’s appearances will be packed. I would certainly be elbowing people out of the way to get floor space, believe me. This is because I uniformly adore Ono’s work, going so far as to theoretically adore work that has yet to be published in English.

Other people who are excited by this news include Brigid (Robot 6) Alverson, Deb (About.Com) Aoki, and Heidi (The Beat) MacDonald. Erica (Okazu) Friedman and I were yammering on Twitter the other day about her concept of a “fifth genre” of manga that extends beyond, fuses, or ignores traditional demographic categories, and I only half jokingly suggested that you can identify a fifth-genre anthology by its serialization of work by Natsume Ono. Sure, she hasn’t had work run in Comic Beam, to my knowledge, but she’s all over IKKI, Manga Erotics F and Morning Two.