Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Cartoon Crossroads Columbus: a new comics show

This was first announced on Monday, I believe; a new comics show put together by Jeff Smith, Lucy Caswell, Vijaya Iyer and Tom Spurgeon, who will together serve as a four-person executive committee for the show. Cartoon Crossroads Columbus -CXC- The Columbus, will be a four-day, yearly comics festival beginning in autumn 2016, although a launch event show will be held over October 2-3 next year. The CXC launch event will be a two-day show split between the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (October 2nd) and the Columbus Cultural Arts Center (October 3rd), with the second day hosting a one-day comics expo featuring up to 35 exhibitors.

Probably the most familiar names on the board to most people are Smith, who is well-known for his award-winning comics -most obviously the Bone series-, and Spurgeon who edits and publishes The Comics Reporter. Caswell is the founder of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum and Iyer the president and co-publisher of Cartoon Books, an imprint which publishes Smith's works.  Smith will act as president and artistic director while Spurgeon will serve as the festival director, and will also be relocating to Columbus in early 2015 -this is the big upcoming news he was referring to on the Comics Reporter earlier in the month. That's a pretty tight ship- I can't imagine that anything other than a lot of thought has gone into this, so it will be interesting to learn more details and see how it develops and distinguishes itself. There's an ever increasing number of comic events, shows and festivals to attend now, and no real data on whether there's a growth in audience and demand that will help sustain them- but the involvement of institutions such as the Billy Ireland Cartoon Museum and the Columbus Cultural Arts Center should go some way to bridge any gap.

Further information regarding exhibitor applications, sponsorship, plans and programming is due to be released in early 2015.

'We're extremely excited to try and bring a first-class comics festival to Columbus, Ohio. I've attended and enjoyed so many great shows over the years, and hope that CXC can take its place alongside them.' -Jeff Smith

'I share with the council members a belief in the comics art form and a love for the American Midwest as a great place for comics. We also share a passion for the professional development and infrastructure issues facing so many cartoonists. We hope that CXC can become a positive force for a better community and more effective industry.' -Tom Spurgeon