A highly subjective guide to Cartoon Crossroads Columbus

The third annual Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, or CXC,had its first full day today with sessions at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, and will continue through Sunday at a bunch of venues across the city.

I think CXC is one of the best things Columbus does. The festival shows off the laid-back collaborative spirit that is one of the best aspects of local culture.

If I didn’t live in Columbus, I would travel for this show.

I wrote about the first CXC as a reporter, then decided became a volunteer at the second one. This time, I’ll be volunteering again, including hosting two panels on Saturday and I gave a presentation today about some of the research that went into my book.

Here’s the full schedule.

So I am not an objective observer of this festival, and therefore no longer write about it for my day job.

Here are 5 things on my mind at this year’s show:

  1. Laura Park will be tabling at the show and did a Q&A last Sunday at the Columbus Museum of Art. I had heard of her before, but had not seen much of her work. After hearing her talk, and seeing the museum’s exhibit of her work, I want to read everything she’s ever done.
  2. Anyone going to the festival should make a point to attend the Friday tours of the Billy Ireland. People who live in Columbus may take the Billy for granted. A good cure for that is to see visiting cartoonists react to the original art and other treasures as if in the Sistine Chapel.
  3. Take a slow walk around the floor during the weekend market at the Columbus Main Library. If you’re like me, you know to look for the familiar names, but will get the most out of finding artists and books and that are a surprise.
  4. Dana Simpson, the cartoonist behind Phoebe and Her Unicorn, is one of several examples of how CXC is on top of the growth and dynamism of comics aimed at younger readers. My wish list for next year starts with Ben Hatke.
  5. Buy the damn books. Last year, I was running low on cash by the time I got to Miriam Libicki‘s table, and I didn’t buy her newest book. The solution: Bring more cash. Many of the exhibitors pay for their trip with book sales, and your sale could be the one that buys them dinner or pays for the ride home.

A lot of familiar faces were at my presentation today at CXC about research methods in the exploration of comics history. Thank you to everyone who came. This was the first time I gave this talk, and people responded nicely, which is a comfort since I’m still figuring out the best ways to present this material. Next time, I’ll try to reduce the oddly timed pauses by 50 percent.

Before I go, a few links:

• I wrote the “Things I Love” column for Columbus Alive this week, in which I talk about comics, jazz radio and Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace, among other things.

• Last week, I was the guest on the Major Spoilers podcast and had a good time talking about comics history with Stephen Schleicher.

• By day, I write about manufacturing and energy for the Columbus Dispatch. I had a big story last Sunday about wind energy in Ohio, featuring some crazy good video by my colleague Doral Chenoweth III.