Christopher Butcher has resigned his role as Artistic Director at Toronto Comics Arts Festival, he announced today in a post on his blog.  Butcher cited two reasons for relinquishing his responsibilities at the show: "…to address persistent health and wellness issues in my own life that I had neglected, and in the hopes that existing staff and potential staff and volunteers might be able to move up into the organization into leadership roles that I was abdicating."

Butcher co-founded TCAF 17 years ago with Peter Birkemoe, owner of Toronto’s The Beguiling and TCAF’s primary sponsor.  Birkemoe and TCAF Managing Director Miles Baker remain involved with the show. Over the last two years, succession planning and continuity became goals of the Festival, Butcher said, with efforts to build group management, a non-hierarchical structure, and a Board of Directors all ongoing.

Butcher said he informed Birkemoe and Baker of his intentions on June 5, and completely resigned on June 22.

Butcher also included a statement acknowledging criticism of him and the show around issues of support, inclusion, and recognition of BIPOC and LGBTQ+ people.  "I understand these criticisms and I believe they are necessary to address imbalances within the organization," Butcher wrote.  "I sincerely apologize for the role I played in devaluing the contributions of members of staff and volunteers.  I believe in both statements that TCAF has made this week, and believe that TCAF will continue to improve and be a necessary part of comics.  I’m committed to these same principles of improvement for myself—I want to be better and I want to step back completely and take the time to do so."

The TCAF statements Butcher references commit to end anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism, and to review its policies regarding conduct and harassment.

TCAF has grown into one of the most important North American shows for the comics art form.  This year’s show was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic (see "TCAF Canceled").