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A tribute to Diana Tamblyn

- April 27th, 2014

Diana Tamblyn is going to kill me for writing a column about her.

The comic creator and founder of the Ting Comic and Graphic Arts Festival is no glory hound.

Some might even call her shy.

She won’t like me shining a spotlight on her, but there are few people in this city who are as deserving of public praise than Diana (it’s pronounced “Dee-anna,” for the record).

I can’t even remember when I first met her. It was probably about 2005 or 2006. That’s when I heard about her comic biography of Frederick Banting, Duty Must Be Done.

Everything I’ve learned about her since then has only made her more impressive in my eyes.

The thing about Diana is, she may look placid on the surface. Once she sets a goal for herself, however, nothing will shake her determination.

I mean, let’s face it – it can’t be easy to draw and write comic books late into the evening after she comes home from her day job.

Even more impressive, she’s now added the title of “comic impresario” to her many accomplishments.

Along with the good folks at The Arts Project, Diana decided London needed its own comic festival and gallery show.

It was a dream she nurtured for a long time. With her polite persistence over a number of years, she has made it a reality.

All signs tell me the Ting Fest has already been an overwhelming success. I would guess about 200 people showed up for the opening reception Saturday afternoon.

The white cube that is The Arts Project was packed with people from at least three generations: The grandparents who are peers of Merle Tingley (the Free Press editorial cartoonist is now 92 years old), the parents who grew up with Ting’s work, and the children who are only now falling in love with his blocky drawing style and gentle humour.

With her unabashed love for Canadian history, Diana is the essence of quiet confidence.

Come to think of it, she’s a lot like London itself. She’s a work horse, not a show horse.

We can all learn from her example. Some people think it’s hard to make your dreams come true, and it is.

Diana wouldn’t be deterred or denied; she plugged away, looking for an opportunity to realize her vision – in the process, she has honoured a legendary local cartoonist and given a boost to legends-in-the-making such as Seth, Jeff Lemire and Scott Chantler.

The basic building block of any society is the individual. Diana Tamblyn is a testament to the power of one committed person.

A tireless booster of London, she is always talking or writing or drawing about how cool this community is. But here’s the thing: That coolness didn’t happen by accident.

The unavoidable truth is, we get the city we create. Who made London such a happening city? Diana did.

Who can make this city an even better place? You can.

So whatever your hope is for London, please allow yourself be inspired by Diana’s example.

I know she won’t mind.

The Ting Comic and Graphic Arts Festival runs until May 3 at The Arts Project.

Categories: News

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1 comment

  1. Ryan Brooks says:

    I have always been uplifted by the success of friends.

    Diana to me is such a friend. In a real world way, she is every bit the superhero we would all like to be. She’s always a voice for good and I for one appreciate that in anyone. Diana is a seasoned professional, a passionate artist and one hell of a Mom.

    Way to go D. Never change.

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