MAC TIN TAC is the product of Marc Tessier and Stéphane Olivier. The series was written primarily by the two and is made up of many short stories about the main character Mac Tin Tac or the inhabitants of the strange Kuskus city in which they live. The comic was produced irregularly over five issues from 1990 until 1995, the last of which was published in Mirrors, by Gogo Guy Publications.

This cover won the Pixel D'Or for Best Book Cover

The story is largely existential and sociological and effectively applies satire on the way we perceive substance abuse, life, death, work, tradition and ceremony. This dystopian narrative is largely reflective in the artwork as well. Created in Montreal, Tessier and Olivier hired many burgeoning and underground artists to illustrate their ideas. Some of these artists included Olivier himself, Simon Bossé, Siris, Rupert Bottenberg, Jean-Pierre Chansigaud, Caro Caron, Richard Suicide, G.B. Edwin, Helge Reuman, Hélène Brosseau, Phil Angers, Jean-Claude Amyot and Alexandre Lafleur.

More than ten years after the first comic book was published, MAC TIN TAC was compiled by and reproduced as a graphic novel by Conundrum Press in 2004. Although this made the work more accessible to a new generation of readers, many of the short stories from the singles were lost including the entire contents of the first issue. Some artists that produced chapters in the comics didn’t make the cut for the book including Alain Gosselin, Mario Tremblay, Michel Rabagliati, Gilles Boulerice, Martin Lemm and Matthew Brown.

Conundrum cover by Chansigaud.

I do recommend the graphic novel. The book takes from the singles and makes a more linear story line which is easier to read. That, and the singles are harder to find. They also include side stories and more alternative art and storytelling methods which may be more difficult or more alienating to read. If that is your thing, some of the singles can be ordered online, but are still difficult to find. You can Mile High Comics which usually has a pretty good selection. To see more of Marc Tessier’s work in both his publishing company Gogo Guy Publications, you can go here. You can see a review done by Montreal Review of Books here.

Don’t Touch Me Independent Comics

The flyer for the launch of DTM #15.

Don’t Touch Me Comics is a comic anthology that was released in October of 1994. The comic was based out of Weston, Ontario but was mainly distributed in Toronto, and was founded by alternative artist Dave Howard. The comic was released irregularly as a small press publication in black and white until 2002. Until this time, the anthology regularly featured an interview with an artist or other comics professional like Joe Matt or Chris Oliveros.

In 2002, Dave Lapp, another local artist and comic creator, joined Howard and together they reformatted Don’t Touch Me, taking out the interview and publishing it in better quality. Since that time the anthology has been published regularly four times a year.

The flyer for the launch of issue 17.

Don’t Touch Me has featured such artists as Fiona Smyth, Joe Ollmann, Alan Bunce, Dave Lapp, Zach Worton, Greg McCann, Marc Bell, Matt Daley, James Waley and Ron Kasman among many others and is a great way to stay on top of local developing artists. Current and back issues can be purchased online here.

As further evidence of his determination to keep the alternative comics scene going, two years after creating Don’t Touch Me, Howard began the Toronto Comic Jam, fashioning it after Rupert Bottenburg’s Comix Jam in Montreal. In 2005 Howard retired from the Comics Jam, but it remains very successful, taking place at The Cameron on the last Tuesday of every month.

Lapp himself published his first collection in October of 2008 called Drop In by Conundrum Press. He has also produced several zines including The Hood and a regular strip for the Georgia Straight called Children of the Atom from 1996 to 2001.

You can find out more here on Howard’s art page, as well as more about Howard and his other work. To learn more about what Howard is still up to, check out his other blog which features a mixed bag of comic or music related stuff. Yeah, I said stuff. Things?