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Brown: Eddy Smet talks comics as part of Words festival

It’s hard to overestimate the impact Eddy Smet has had on geek culture in London.

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It’s hard to overestimate the impact Eddy Smet has had on geek culture in London.

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“I’d say that Eddy laid the foundation for comics in London. Without him, the comic scene wouldn’t be where it is today,” said Diana Tamblyn, herself a Forest City graphic novelist and founder of Tingfest, the annual celebration of local comic talent.

Sunday at 2 p.m., Tamblyn will interview Smet online as part of this year’s Words: The Literary and Creative Arts Festival. Smet was one of the first to enter the direct market with his London store, Tamblyn said, meaning comics weren’t just something you picked up off a spinner rack in the drug store anymore. They had their own specialty shops.

“He opened the Comic Book Collector in 1979, making it one of the first dedicated comic stores not only in Canada, but in North America,” said Tamblyn.

“London, at one point, had five comic book stores (in the late 1990s and early 2000s). We have been very spoiled by the excellence of our shops. Some larger cities don’t even have one good comic shop, and Eddy and his wife, Zorka, led the way.”

Tamblyn said you can trace a direct path from the Comic Book Collector to today’s retailers, such as Heroes on Dundas Street and L.A. Mood at 100 Kellogg Lane.

“I certainly wouldn’t have the love of comics that I do now if not for the Comic Book Collector and probably wouldn’t be a cartoonist,” she said. “I’m sure that could be said of many others and could be why we have such an over-representative of world-class cartoonists from the area.”

Joining Tamblyn and Smet during the online chat will be Ivan Kocmarek, the comics researcher behind Heroes of the Home Front, a history of homegrown Canadian comics that thrived during the Second World War due to government restrictions on imported material, such as American comics.

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Kocmarek and Smet have a shared interest in the Canadian Whites, the comics that featured domestic heroes including Nelvana of the North, and all through the festival, rare comics Smet has donated to the Western University Archives will be on display at Museum London.

You can register for the free chat at:

https://westernuniversity.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_V91dnebwT2yr7hqE0CZ0pQ?fbclid=IwAR2znhSri4JbHA7Ini__dJ3yQTon864s7V5obPbcF3CKK90-kTG3gndNcd0

danbrown@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/DanatLFPress

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