Cartoon Crossroads Columbus a Show to Watch

Cartoon Crossroads Columbus art by Katie Skelly

Cartoon Crossroads Columbus is quite the unusual comic show. It’s a “free, citywide arts festival” involving both downtown Columbus and Ohio State University (particularly the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum). This year, it will be held September 28 through October 1, and they’ve brought on a new staffer to make the experience even better.

Long-time comic journalist Tom Spurgeon has been serving as Festival Director, with Jeff Smith (Bone) as President and Artistic Director. This year, he’s joined by Melody Reed as Operations Manager and Showrunner. While the Director works on the guest list, programming, selecting exhibitors and vendors, media outreach, and so on, according to the show, “the Operations Manager will be tackling more of the administrative duties, financial responsibilities such as grant writing, and managing the budget.”

Cartoon Crossroads Columbus art by Katie Skelly

Art by Katie Skelly

Speaking of guests, the list invited this year is a stunning group of notables that cover all areas of comics, including

* Peter Bagge, author of 2017’s Fire: The Zora Neale Hurston Story and the alt-comics legend behind the titles Neat Stuff and Hate.

* Kyle Baker, the brilliant writer, illustrator and comics-maker whose career has straddled independent graphic novels (Why I Hate Saturn; Special Forces) and iconic runs on mainstream titles (Plastic Man, The Shadow).

* Howard Cruse, underground comix master and author of the titanic, crucial 1990s graphic novel Stuck Rubber Baby.

* Kelly Sue DeConnick, superstar comics writer (Pretty Deadly, Bitch Planet) and formidable industry advocate.

* Matt Fraction, A-list mainstream comics scripter (Iron Man, Hawkeye) turned award-winning writer of independent series such as Casanova and the hit Sex Criminals.

* Ann Nocenti, mainstream comics writing legend on Daredevil and other titles.

* Mimi Pond, one of the great writers to ever work in comics and cartoons, now a poignant comics memoirist (Over Easy) with second book on deck: The Customer Is Always Wrong.

* Dana Simpson, author of the hit syndicated newspaper strip Phoebe and Her Unicorn.

* Chris Sprouse, prestige-gig mainstream artist perhaps best known for his Tom Strong collaboration with Alan Moore and current work on Black Panther.

* Tillie Walden, comics superstar-in-the-making here in support of her major book debut (Spinning, with First Second) and having recently complated a major webcomics effort, On a Sunbeam.

* Judd Winick, all-ages cartoonist (currently with Hi-Lo) that has enjoyed successful runs in several comics disciplines from superhero comics to memoir to alt-comics humor.

That’s just a few selections; check the link above for the full array. I haven’t had the pleasure of attending the show myself yet, but it’s definitely on my list to plan for.

Update: I’ve removed names from the list above per Jeff Smith’s comment below.


  • Thanks for the notice, Johanna. We have some guest updates to share with your readers. New additions include Chris Ware (Building Stories), and children’s authors Jarrett Krosoczka (Lunch Lady), and Mike Maihack (Cleopatra in Space).

    Dav Pilkey and Jennifer Holm will not be coming this year – through no fault of those wonderful cartoonists – we had a misunderstanding with their publisher and thought they were coming. We let our excitement get ahead of ourselves! Totally our bad, not theirs!

    Hope you do come one of these years. The show is becoming a warm gathering of cartoon makers and enthusiasts.I think you’d have a great time!

  • Thanks very much for the update. (I’ve edited the post to match.) I’d definitely be making plans to go this year if it weren’t for some life things going on.

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