Editor’s Note: Kurt Ankeny came to CXC as one of Comics Workbook’s workshop leaders. Comics Workbook hosted four sessions over the course of the festival, and Kurt presented on his work and on modifying your tools and materials to suit the story. He had an engaged audience who dug into the exercise he led after the presentation, which was right out of Ohio’s history of comics correspondence schools – a riff on the comic gag spinner.
And now, the rest of Kurt’s CXC experience in his own words.
Well, I’m back from Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, and caught up enough to sit down and write a few words about the experience. MUCH thanks to Frank Santoro for funding the vast majority of our trip out there as part of the Comics Workbook crew!
THIS IS THE START OF SOMETHING BIG.
The show being created by Jeff Smith, Tom Spurgeon, Caitlin McGurk and the staff of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum is still in its nascent stages. But if the project that they are all working towards comes to fruition, this is going to be a major event on the comics schedule, and may even put indie comics on the national media radar in much the same way that San Diego used to for mainstream comics. It’s exciting to think of how this show might grow.
BY, FOR, and OF THE ARTISTS.
Shows are not always necessarily about the sales. There are money-maker shows that cartoonists need, certainly. But there are also shows that cartoonists love, because those shows feel, as Kevin Czap put it in his acceptance speech for the Most Promising Talent Award, “like a big family reunion.” SPX is one of those shows. In only its second year, CXC is becoming another. The really special thing about CXC is the programming that happens before the market opens on Saturday. The academic discussions of comics by smart people who love what we do, the peer workshops that convey useful info to working cartoonists, the in-depth evening interview events, all create an atmosphere that is so rare at a con: one of relaxation and appreciation.
It is hard to put into words the acceptance I felt being surrounded by so many people who love the form, not just as makers, but also as readers and academics and archivists. THOSE are the people we do this for, and as cartoonists we so rarely get to see those who really care about the work we do.
THESE ARE THE PEOPLE IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD.
Wow, it was really great to put names with faces and add IRL time to my relationships with Alyssa Berg, Juan José Fernandez, Sally Ingraham, Caleb Orecchio, Sacha Mardou, and Emil Friis Ernst! Tabling with the lovely Whit Taylor was a treat. It’s always good to have some time to talk to Ben Passmore and Kevin Czap, meet Caitlin McGurk, have a conversation with a nearly catatonic Tom Spurgeon at about midnight on Sunday, and have Ben Katchor stop at my table for a good 15-20 minutes to chat about the State of Comics.
In other words, I had a pretty good time.
Kurt Ankeny makes comics in Salem, MA – his most recent book is In Pieces: Someplace Which I Call Home.