The 2023 events season is livening up as two cons taking place in the fall fill out their guest spots, namely Columbus, Ohio’s Cartoon Crossroads Columbus (CXC) and the UK’s Lakes International Comic Art Festival (LICAF).

CXC (September 27 to October 1, 2023) has announced its featured guests for the 9th year of the show. Headliners include Daniel Clowes (Eightball, Ghost World), Raina Telgemeier (Smile), and mangaka Keito Gaku (Boys Run The Riot). Big gets all.

Joining them at CXC 2023 will be animation director and storyboard artist Brenda Chapman (the first woman to direct an animated feature from a major studio, Dreamworks’ Prince of Egypt); ; Marvel/DC artist Chris Sprouse; editor Shelly Bond; and Abrams ComicArts’ Megascope imprint curator and editor, professor, artist, and visionary John Jennings.

Ohio guests at this year’s CXC include Derf Backderf (Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio), autobio cartoonist M.S. Harkness (Time Under Tension); and writer, illustrator, musician Raeghan Buchanan (The Secret History of Black Punk: Record Zero); and CXC co-founder Jeff Smith (Bone, RASL, Tuki).

Also on the billing are writer Henry Barajas, cartoonist Ray Billingsley, artist Jessica Campbell, artist and character designer Mars Heyward, cartoonist, publisher, agent and curator Denis Kitchen, comics journalist Calvin Reid, children’s illustrator, writer and comic artist Jannie Ho, and illustrator/cartoonist Nicole Goux.

Jeff Smith said:

“Come Fall in Columbus, everyone who loves cartoons is joyous, because CXC brings the best and the brightest in the fields of animation, comics, graphic novels, political cartoons and comic strips to our fair city – and this year is going to be star-studded!”

CXC Programming Co-Chair, cartoonist Ben Towle added:

“Comics, as an art form, spans many genres, audiences, and formats–and assembling a representative group of artists is challenging. CXC 2023’s special guests include creators from many disparate areas of comics: from best-selling kids’ cartoonists to New York Times best-selling adult graphic novelists, webcomics to newspaper strips. We spotlight some of the best Columbus-based cartoonists as well as artists from around the globe.”

Earlier this week the festival unveiled its official poster for CXC 2023 by Ohio cartoonist – and last year’s CXC Emerging Talent AwardeeVictoria Douglas

CXC 2023
CXC 2023’s official poster by 2022 Emerging Talent Award-winner Victoria Douglas

CXC 2023’s programming, to be announced in coming months, will take place across several locations in Columbus, including the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus College of Art & Design, the Columbus Metropolitan Library, and the world’s biggest repository for comic art, Ohio State University’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, which is currently featuring a major Raina Telgemeier career retrospective Facing Feelings, running until November 5, 2023.

In the UK the Lakes International Comic Art Festival (LICAF), which will run concurrently with CXC on September 29 to October 1, 2023, has just announced its second wave of guests both local and international.

Mohamed Salah’s official poster for LICAF 2023

British cartoonist Hunt Emerson and American caricaturist and cartoonist Tom Richmond return to the festival. They will be joined by:

  • George Khoury, aka JAD, (The History of Arabic Comics). He is an award winning filmmaker and artist whose skillset includes teaching journalism, comics art, and animation. He is also co-founder of the Lebanese Syndicate of Professional Graphic Designers, Illustrators and Animators
  • Fouad Mezher, Lebanese cartoonist and illustrator. His comic The Fifth Column won the 2016 Mahmoud Kahil Award. He has been a regular contributor to Lebanese collective Samandal’s anthology publications. He is currently working on Suraya, a graphic novel due for publication in 2025
  • Seif Eddine Nechi, award-winning Tunisian comics journalist. Seif co-founded the Tunisian comics collective Lab 619. His work includes Tawahoch, Bombyx Mori. He founded the publisher Soubia which has released or co-publshed work including a comic about fear and folklore in Tunisia and Egypt, the graphic novel De plomb et de sang [tr: Lead and Blood], and Une révolte Tunisienne, la légende de Chbayah [tr: A Tunisian Uprising, The Legend of Chbayah]. 
  • Václav Šlajch, multi-award winning Czech artist and educator associated with the country’s “Generation 0” of comics creativity. 

Already announced guests include Mehdi Annassi/Machima, Charlie Adlard, Gigi Cavenago, Gustavo Duarte, Gerhard, Lina Ghaibeh, Peter Hogan, Comics Laureate Stephen L. Holland, Mai Koraiem, Michael Lark, Lucie Lomová, Dave McKean, Bill Morrison, Steve and Annie Parkhouse, Sean Phillips, Marek Rubec, Mohamed Salah, Rachael Smith, and Nick Sulek.

As well as the second wave of guests, LICAF has opened a crowdfunding campaign for its annual children’s activities, and launched an open call for its next honorary Comics Laureate, with nominations from the comics community to be received no later than Friday June 30, 2023. The next laureate will be selected by LICAF Chairman Peter Kessler, journalist Rachel Cooke, and comic creator and publisher Yomi Ayeni – and will take up the post in January 2024. Previous title holders have included artists Dave Gibbons, Charlie Adlard, and Hannah Berry. The current incumbent is specialist retailer Stephen L. Holland.