Written by Patrick Kain, Art by Patrick Kain

Saturday I walked into the newly renovated Main Library in Downtown Columbus to attend the second annual Cartoon Crossroad Columbus (CXC) and I noticed something different about this convention that usually accompanies most other small press comic book/zine shows. It had your typical aroma of freshly minted books and prints, and the smiling charm of kids just trying to get you to check out cool shit, but most importantly — CXC was welcoming.

The convention itself was free. Yes, free and that was a total bonus. Just think about it, that’s an extra $5 you can spend on a handful of cool books. What did I use my extra $5 bucks for? I bought Major Bummer by Peter Faecke.

I can’t overemphasize how important con-vibe is — I’ve tabled before and understand most of these cartoonists are only hoping to connect and find fans. They don’t want to come off as pushy. Hell, they’re thinking maybe they’ll even make a couple bucks too.

That was truly the special thing about CXC, most — if not all of the creators looked engaged and excited to be a part of the show.

The convention had a wide variety of events all over our fair city including panels, classes and signings from Charles Burns (Black Hole, X’ed Out and The Hive), Garry Trudeau (Doonesbury), Stan Mother Fuggin’ Sakai (Usagi Yojimbo), and MAD Magazine’s Marginal Master Sergio Aragones.

Upon scouring a healthy sampling of the over 100 exhibitors I discovered the secret, unsaid draw. The beauty of the con isn’t that there are only the well known cartoonists and publishers but it’s that everyone else is doing the #grind.

Creators like Nate Mcdonough, Kevin Czap, Ben Sears and Jeremy Baum always have great stuff at every show and are super prolific. They get to come to these shows and really make a case that whether you’ve got a name or not, it’s the work that speaks.

Don’t get it wrong though. There were still those awkward financial transactions of an artist or a publisher trying to get you to give them the measly $3-10 for something they slaved over for months, this fact is sadly unavoidable. 

CXC is the kind of show that makes you wish you had hundred of dollars to throw at all the amazing work. Can’t wait to see what your smiling faces have in store for us next year.

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