Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015


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Storytelling is powerful. When I asked this week's illustrators to choose a book that inspired them, both went for a favourite from childhood. When else are you more easily pulled into the world between two covers? In Agnes Garbowska's case, a lot of that time was spent under the covers, terrifying herself with the stories of R.L. Stine's classic Goosebumps series.

Comics had a special place for Agnes; when she came to Toronto from Poland as a kid she was still learning English and their colourful worlds were one of the first places she could escape to. Nowadays all that time spent in imaginary worlds is being to put to use. She's the illustrator and character designer for the Yogurt the Ogre series by boutique publisher Pdoink books. She also does webcomics of her own, such as the all ages, completely adorable You, Me and Zombie, a story inspired by all the horror that she first devoured as a child.

Incidentally, while working on the upcoming video for Whazamo, I tracked down The Haunted Mask, one of the books that inspired Agnes' story. I found one at Fairview Library, well-thumbed and battered, amongst dozens of later volumes, which just shows that kids are still tearing into this series to this day.

WHAZAMO! Comics: Graphic vs Novels
Every TUESDAY and THURSDAY for the month of May, Open Book: Toronto will feature an original comic by a Canadian cartoonist. We asked them to share a story of one book that has inspired them as artists, as storytellers, as people. Together, their comics will open a window, a panel if you will, into the mysterious process of inspiration.

Click on the illustrations for a better look. (The images can be further enlarged by clicking on the icon with four arrows that will appear.)

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.

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Ian Daffern

Ian Daffern directs and produces documentary videos and writes about books and comics for places like Quill and Quire, The Globe and Mail and The National Post. He's also half of the mighty writing team behind Freelance Blues, your favourite new supernatural-horror-comedy comic (tm).

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Go to Ian Daffern’s Author Page