Cartoon Crossroads Columbus (CXC)

Our Mission

We hope to provide an international showcase for the best of cartoon art in all its forms, including comics, animation, editorial cartoons, newspaper strips, and beyond, in a city that is a growing center of importance to comics and cartooning. We also focus on helping the next generation of young cartooning talent develop thriving careers that invigorate the industry for years to come.

To do that, we are strive to create an atmosphere of communication and shared enthusiasm between creators and audiences of cartoon storytelling so they can have serious (and fun) discussions on it as art, with the respect their creators deserve, as well as help an emerging generation of young cartooning talent develop careers that are both artistically and economically rewarding.

The Story Behind CXC

Cartoon Crossroads Columbus (CXC) is all about making connections between people with a passion for the art of cartoons, and that’s exactly how it all started: a conversation between friends.

As a founder and world-renowned curator of The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, Lucy Shelton Caswell had already helped organize a semi-annual Cartoon Arts Festival in Columbus for many years. She knew it could become more, because she knew so many influential people throughout the city and the industry that shares her passion. But two in particular knew how much support Columbus institutions offered for the cartoon arts: the husband and wife team behind Cartoon Books, Columbus native Jeff Smith and his wife Vijaya Iyer.

The three of them talked about how some cities in Europe would turn themselves over to their comics festivals, and how much each festival would spend a week showing people the best of each city offers the cartoon community, and how first-class treatment of cartooning talent not only brought in industry greats, but created an atmosphere where connections between the creators and fans could be had.

They believed Columbus was a place they could create a truly unique festival experience that could rival anything that had overseas. Being in the heart of the country, it could be the crossroads where museums and art centers, learning institutions and cultural landmarks, industry legends and aspiring creators, as well as professionals and fans could meet to celebrate cartoon storytelling like no other place on Earth.

That day, Cartoon Crossroads Columbus was drawn into existence.

As CXC began to grow, we quickly drew the support of numerous Columbus comics and arts community luminaries, such as Jenny Robb, Jared Gardner, David Filipi, and Caitlin McGurk. Tom Spurgeon joined his friends at CXC as Executive Director, and he quickly began to gather world-class talent and cultivate the programming that would resonate throughout the cartoon world.

Today, CxC is annual festival that spans 4 entire days—and stretches throughout the city. With each year, thousands more people attend the festival events— drawing even more friends and colleagues in the field to come together in support of this one-of-a-kind cartoon festival. CXC continues to do what it originally set out to do: make genuine connections between people who share a love, a passion, and a personal reason to believe in the future of cartoon art.

Thank You to Our Key Sponsors

Cartoon Crossroads Columbus is made possible each year by a wide range of individual donors and corporate sponsors. As a free festival, CXC depends on the practice of giving—and we greatly appreciate the support.

For the 2017 Festival, Cartoon Crossroads Columbus is delighted to say thank you to the following major partners:

Platinum Sponsors ($5,000 or more)

Gold Sponsors ($2,500 or more)

Silver Sponsors ($1,000 or more)

Bronze Sponsors ($500 or more)

We appreciate support at all levels for this year’s show, and we thank future sponsors for helping CXC continue for many more years ahead.

Our Key Cast of Characters



Jeff Smith, Festival President and Artistic Director

Jeff Smith (born February 27, 1960) is an American cartoonist, best known as the creator of the self-published comic book series BONE. Smith solidified the 1990’s Self-Publishing Movement when he joined other self-publishers and launched a new era of independent comics publishing, a movement that captured nearly 20% of the growing comics book market.

In 1993, Smith breathed new life into the Graphic Novel format with The Complete BONE Adventures Volume One: Out From Boneville, which sold an unprecedented 50,000 copies in its first year. BONE won numerous American awards including 10 Eisner Awards and 11 Harveys, as well as European awards from Italy, Germany, and the French Alph Art.

In 2005, BONE was chosen to launch the first graphic novel series for children from a major publishing house, Graphix, an imprint of Scholastic Books.

There have been exhibitions of his work, and in 2009 Smith was the subject of an Emmy Award winning documentary called The Cartoonist: Jeff Smith, BONE, and the Changing Face of Comics.

Later works include critically acclaimed SHAZAM: The Monster Society of Evil, and Little Mouse Gets Ready, a comic for emerging readers that received a Geisel Honor in 2009. In 2013, Smith guest edited The Best American Comics anthology, and released his second major work, RASL, a dark, hard-boiled sci-fi story that focuses on an art thief who hops through dimensional barriers, hiding out on various parallel worlds.

His current projects include the series Tuki, Save The Humans, and a return to the Bone universe with Smiley's Dream Book.

Tom Spurgeon, Executive Director

Tom Spurgeon is a longtime comics industry journalist. He was editor at The Comics Journal from 1994-1999 and has performed a similar function The Comics Reporter from 2004 to present. He has shared in eight Eisner Awards for his editorial work and writing.

Spurgeon has co-authored two books about comics, Stan Lee And The Rise And Fall Of The American Comic Book (Chicago Review Press) and We Told You So: Comics As Art (Fantagraphics Books, 2016). He co-wrote the syndicated newspaper strip Wildwood for King Features from 1999-2002.

He has been Executive Director at Cartoon Crossroads Columbus since 2015.

  • Board Members

  • Jeff Smith (President)
  • Tom Spurgeon (Executive Director)
  • Lucy Caswell (Vice-President)
  • Vijaya Iyer (Treasurer)
  • Kathleen Glosan (Secretary)
  • Michael S. Brown
  • Andrew Campbell
  • Scott V. Hoffman
  • Matthew Leppert
  • Kenneth Mills
  • Rebecca Perry Damsen
  • Jack Beeler
  • Rafael Rosado
  • Jeff Darbee
  • Council Institutions

  • Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
  • Columbus College of Art & Design
  • Columbus Metropolitan Library
  • Columbus Museum Of Art
  • Cultural Arts Center
  • Experience Columbus
  • Greater Columbus Arts Council
  • Laughing Ogre Comics
  • OSU Pop Culture Studies
  • Short North Alliance
  • SÕL-CON
  • The Wexner Center For The Arts
  • Thurber House

Keeping CXC Safe

Our Festival Harassment Policy

Cartoon Crossroads Columbus has a ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY for harassment of any kind, including but not limited to:

Stalking; intimidation; abusive behavior; offensive verbal comments; physical assault and/or battery; harassing or non-consensual photography or recording; sustained disruption of speakers, panels, signings, or other events; bathroom policing; inappropriate physical contact; unwelcome attention, in relation to, but not limited to race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, gender presentation, sexual orientation, age, body size, disability, appearance, religion, citizenship, pregnancy, etc.

If anyone sees or experiences harassment or otherwise has questions, please find a CXC staff member, council member, or Board member to provide a full report of the incident.

If a person engages in harassing behavior, CXC personnel will take prompt action in any form they deem appropriate, including expulsion from the event and pursuit of appropriate legal action. We also reserve the right to provide extra manpower and resources to help our attendees feel safe, whatever that may entail.

Our policy applies to EVERYONE at the events. Exhibitors, fans, attendees, speakers, guests, professionals, press, staff, volunteers, and security are all subject to our anti-harassment policy. If you see something, say something.

Volunteering with CXC

Cartoon Crossroads Columbus benefits from the hard work of dozens of volunteers, both during the festival weekend and in the weeks and months before. Volunteers assist everyone from staff to special guests to exhibitors to fans to attending VIPs, helping ensure each group maximizes their CXC weekend.

Contact Tracie Santos, our Volunteer Coordinator, for more information at tracie@cartooncrossroadscolumbus.org.

SÕL-CON: The Brown And Black Comics Expo

What Is SÕL-CON?

SÕL-CON: The Brown And Black Comics Expo, is a comics festival that takes place in Columbus, Ohio concurrently with Cartoon Crossroads Columbus. It focuses on creators with a Latino or African-American background. It was co-founded in 2015 by prominent scholars Frederick Aldama, John Jennings and Ricardo Padilla.

What Is The Relation Of SÕL-CON to CXC?

SÕL-CON exists independently under the greater umbrella of Cartoon Crossroads Columbus. The two shows share resources and information to make sure each runs more smoothly. Starting in 2016, the shows have been exhibiting together on the festival's Saturday and Sunday at the CXC Marketplace And Expo held at the downtown branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library.

Where Is SÕL-CON held?

SÕL-CON holds an opening reception on the OSU campus on the Thursday night of CXC Festival weekend. It runs a full day of programming and exhibiting at OSU's Hale Hall on Friday. Saturday and Sunday, several SÕL-CON exhibitors table with CXC guests at the Columbus Metropolitan Library. In 2017, SÕL-CON will host three panels over the weekend at the library focused on SÕL-CON creators and values.

How Is SÕL-CON different from CXC?

SÕL-CON and CXC are completely different shows that work together to make a greater overall experience for attendees and guests . In addition to the focused approach on creators utilized by SÕL-CON, observers have told CXC organizers they appreciate SÕL-CON's greater emphasis on community-building over business and industry advice.

Where Can I Find Out The Latest On SÕL-CON?

SÕL-CON has its own web presence at the site of OSU's Office Of Diversity And Inclusion. As part of our partnership, CXC will always try to have the most up to date SÕL-CON information on this site, and available via its social media.