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Cartoons Crossroads Columbus 2015

I have a head cold so forgive me for rambling and missing mistakes on this blog post.

We were honored to be invited out to the very first Cartoons Crossroads Columbus festival in Columbus, Ohio. And I am so glad we made the time to go out because it was a magical weekend.

I need to thank Tom Spurgeon, Jenny Robb, Vijaya and Jeff Smith, Everyone at the Billy Ireland museum, and just everyone involved in the show as well as everyone who attended. It really was an honor to be there.

Our talk, about the new creative middle class, appears to have gone over really great. We got very passionate during the talk and afterwards we got an outpouring of thank yous and back pats. There was a wide range of ages and interests at the talk. There were comics veterans and young fresh eyes. Everyone took something away from the talk and it was just really amazing to see that.

We got to meet Steve’s college professor Stewart McKissick from the Columbus College of art and design who’s working on setting up a sequential art curriculum. Stewart and Mike Laughead (another great teacher involved) had lunch with us and we talked comics.

Jenny Robb, Caitlin McGurk, and Susan Liberator (and the entire staff) are doing the Lord’s work at the Billy Ireland Museum. Their task is no less than preserving the legacy of comics for the benefit of humankind and they are doing so with diligence, passion, and integrity. To know that this place exists and these women are in charge of it makes my heart overflow with pride and love and gratefulness.

I was able to see original art by Windsor McKay, Walt Kelley, Jim Davis, Charles Schulz, Neal Adams, Bill Waterson, and Osamu Tezuka. To be able to see the linework, the actual strokes of pen and brush, the mistakes and white out, all of it. It’s so invaluable to an artist. It’s such an amazing resource. Take advantage of this institution and support it with your patronage and donations. It’s important. It’s so important.

I got to spend some quality time with Craig Thompson, Jeff Lemire, Chris Schweizer and Alex Heberling. Also Batton Lash and Jackie Estrada. Batton reminded me that the struggle of acceptance the webcomic creators experienced in the late 90’s was very similar if not identical to the same struggle of acceptance that indy comic creators went through in the 70s and 80s. Life is so cyclical. It’s crazy. I came away wiser for being able to have spent time talking with everyone.

American Airlines is the devil, and they tried to break our will with a series of micro-aggressions but Cory and I stood strong and made it home with our sanity intact. We will always fly Alaska from now on.

Did I mention that I saw original artwork by Berke Breathed? I could just reach out and touch it. It was right there in front of me. I was afraid to breathe on this stuff.

What else? David Saylor at Scholastic took us out to dinner one night. We had the entire restaurant to ourselves because it was like, 9pm and the food was amazing. The company was even more amazing. Talking publishing and book sizes and about living in New York. Standing outside afterwards, watching Cory and David talk shop on the street corner while Steve, Alex, and I told each other stories and laughed.

I’m trying to remember everything, but I’m forgetting a lot too.

Chris Schweizer is my spirit animal. I want to be him when I grow up. He’s a cartoonist through and through (also a cowboy, a pirate, and a lumberjack). He loves drawing and he teaches me something new every time we talk. He gave me a pencil case of his that he caught me admiring and I still can’t believe he did that. It was just such a sincere and kind gesture. I’ll never stop using it.

So anyway, that was Columbus. I can’t wait to go back, and I’m going to spend days at the Billy Ireland museum. I can’t wait to go back there. Oh! And we’re going to have Jenny Robb on the podcast soon to talk about the museum and about preserving your own legacy very soon. I can’t wait for that.

Okay. Talk to you soon.

Go do great things!