Nine to see at Cartoon Crossroads Columbus 2021

A rundown of some of the virtual and in-person events taking place as part of this year’s edition of CXC

Jim Fischer and Andy Downing
Bryan Christopher Moss photographed in the home of late artist Aminah Robinson

Cartoon Crossroads Columbus 2021 will be a combination of in-person and virtual events. Additionally, most in-person events will also be streamed live via CXC’s YouTube and Switch channels, as well as its Facebook page. Make sure to check out the official site for details, including how to register for online events and information on COVID-19 policies of host venues.

Here are nine events worth a look at this year’s CXC, which kicks off today (Thursday, Sept. 30) and runs through Sunday, Oct. 3.

From Boom to Snap: An Often Raucous History of Sound FX in Comics

2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30

Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

1813 N. High St., Campus

This presentation, um… sounds cool, as comics scholar and Billy Ireland staffer Kay Clopton takes a, er, listen to the use of sound effects in comics. Clopton will discuss these accompaniments to visuals and dialogue, and how they shape the way we read and remember the work.

Spineless to Upright: The Jump to Long-Form Comics with M.S. Harkness

11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 1

Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

1813 N. High St., Campus

You want stories? There’ll be stories. You want tips? There’ll be tips. Whether you’re a working/aspiring comics artist or just a fan, recent Columbus transplant M.S. Harkness (fresh off hosting a comics block party just a few weeks back at Blockfort) will discuss long-form storytelling and its application in autobiographical work. 

A Conversation with the Creators of Superspreader Magazine

3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1

Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum

1813 N. High St., Campus

Superspreader is a pandemic-era magazine started by Steyven Curry and CM Campbell, among others, that collects comics, poems, collage pieces, photos and more, much of it by Columbus artists. “All of the artists clearly approach this with different mediums, with different skill sets, with different perspectives,” Campbell said in a July interview with Alive. “The isolation of art-making can get kind of overwhelming. ... At some point you want a place where you can have an uncompromised vision that still has the refinement of a critical eye from your friends who have seen a thing or two and have that experience.” The creators will engage audiences about the project here.

Jeff Smith in Conversation: Tuki, Bone and 30 Years of Cartoon Books

7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 1

Wexner Center for the Arts

1871 N. High St., Campus

Columbus artist Jeff Smith self-published the first editions of his landmark comic series Bone 30 years ago, in July 1991. In truth, though, the characters have existed much longer, Smith having invented them as a kindergarten student (in a 2016 interview with Alive he noted that his mom had preserved his first ever drawing of the characters, done at age 5). Expect these tales and more to surface as the comics artist delves into his long career for this spotlight talk.

Spotlight on Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed

10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 2

Virtual only

Jamieson is the Newbery Award-winning creator of “Roller Girl.” Mohamed has an amazing story about growing up in a Somali refugee camp in Kenya. Together they share his story in When Stars Are Scattered, a National Book Award finalist. In a starred review, Kirkus wrote, “Jamieson’s characteristically endearing art … perfectly complements Omar’s story, conjuring memorable and sympathetic characters who will stay with readers long after they close the book.” The pair will discuss their partnership, the making of the book and Omar’s nonprofit organization, Refugee Strong.

The Eightfold Path

10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 2

Columbus Metropolitan Library

96 S. Grant Ave., Downtown

Bryan Christopher Moss has had quite a year, painting a mural of newly crowned MacArthur “genius” Hanif Abdurraqib on the East Side and living and working in the house of the late Aminah Robinson, where he’s currently serving as steward. Indeed, Moss completed a number of pages for his debut graphic novel, The Eightfold Path, in the same room where Robinson once worked, and he’ll discuss the book, out now on the Abrams Books imprint Megascope, in a panel talk here.

CXC Keynote Alison Bechdel in conversation with Hilary Price

7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2


60 Cleveland Ave., Downtown

The last time these two leading lights were together in Columbus, they arm wrestled. No promises, save that this discussion, which serves as CXC’s keynote for 2021, will be entertaining. Whether you are familiar with Bechdel’s strip, “Dykes to Watch Out For,” or her graphic memoir, Fun Home (which was adapted as a stage musical and won a 2015 Tony Award), you’re almost certain to appreciate her candor and creativity. Price (“Rhymes With Orange”), who, at age 25, became the youngest syndicated cartoonist, will engage Bechdel on the latter’s latest work, The Secret to Superhuman Strength.

Ronald Wimberly in conversation with CM Campbell

1:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 2

Virtual only

An unabashedly Black comics artist who puts Black characters front and center, Wimberly told Alive five years ago that a commonality in his work is “a criticism of some shit we take for granted, to subvert accepted norms.” His graphic novel, Prince of Cats, placed him at the industry’s forefront, and Wimberly continues to shine. CCAD’s CM Campbell, a fellow comics creator, will facilitate the discussion. Bonus: Wimberly returns Sunday at 5 p.m. as part of a virtual panel discussion on LAAB, the newspaper he founded to aggregate comics and serve as a platform for critique.

Side Effects: The Art of Patrick McDonnell - Gallery Tour and Reception

2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 3

OSU Urban Arts Space

50 W. Town St., Downtown

“Side Effects” is one of the most striking exhibits to show in the city this year, combining comics art and abstractionist technique in a way that can make jaws drop. The large-scale works feature classic characters such as Nancy and Sluggo, Captain America and Dick Tracy, among others. In an August interview with Alive, McDonnell said the paintings reflect “the craziness of the times we're living in — the emotional feeling of being out of control, and that constant feeling of dread amid the absurdity of what was going on.” Don’t miss your last chance to see this exhibit.

"Life ('Nuff Said)" (acrylic latex paint, oil stick, ink, pencil, watercolor and collage on canvas) by Patrick McDonnell