CXC, the ambitious third year comics festival located in Columbus, OH, just announced its 2017 guest list, 24 creators from an eclectic swath of the comics world; I picked three names in the headline to express that, including bestselling children’s author Dav “Captain Underpants” Pilkey, wunderkind Tillie Walden, and Image Comics/Milkfed mainstay Kelly Sue DeConnick.

CXC is run in conjunction with the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum and includes a great deal of local support. This year’s event will be held Sept. 28-Oct. 1 — more details here!

The whole list, which reflect a gender and face mix that’s quite refreshing for a con:

* Derf Backderf, beloved son of OSU and a favorite member of the Billy Ireland family, esteemed comics author of runaway hits like My Friend Dahmer and Trashed! [courtesy of The Billy Ireland Cartoon LIbrary & Museum]

* Peter Bagge, author of 2017’s Fire: The Zora Neale Hurston Story and the alt-comics legend behind the titles Neat Stuff and Hate.

* Kyle Baker, the brilliant writer, illustrator and comics-maker whose career has straddled independent graphic novels (Why I Hate Saturn; Special Forces) and iconic runs on mainstream titles (Plastic Man, The Shadow).

Darrin Bell, longtime strip cartoonist (Candorville) turned award-winning editorial cartoonist. [courtesy of The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum]

* Howard Cruse, underground comix master and author of the titanic, crucial 1990s graphic novel Stuck Rubber Baby.

* Lilli Carré and Alexander Stewart, experimental animators/cartoonists/authors and Eyeworks animation festival organizers.  Carré is a past Columbus Museum of Art & Thurber House Graphic Novelist-in-Residence. [Courtesy Of The Wexner Center For The Arts]

* Kelly Sue DeConnick, superstar comics writer (Pretty Deadly, Bitch Planet) and formidable industry advocate.

* Emil Ferris, author of 2017’s graphic novel sensation My Favorite Thing Is Monsters; her personal story of artistic success may be as compelling.

* Kat Fajardo, exciting, emerging young artist and illustrator based in New York City. [courtesy of The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum and SOL-CON: The Black & Brown Comic Expo].

* Ann Marie Fleming, award-winning Canadian animator (Window Horses, The Magical Life of Long Tack Sam) and Eisner-nominated graphic novelist. [courtesy of the Wexner Center for The Arts]

* Matt Fraction, A-list mainstream comics scripter (Iron Man, Hawkeye) turned award-winning writer of independent series such as Casanova and the hit Sex Criminals.

* Jennifer Holm, co-creator of Babymouse and other series of all-ages graphic novels. [courtesy of Scholastic Books’ Graphix imprint]

* Kevin Huizenga, award-winner creator of the Supermonster and Ganges series, and a comics educator at MCAD [courtesy of OSU Pop Culture Studies].

* Nilah Magruder, animation artist, webcomics author (M.F.K.) and past winner of the Dwayne McDuffie Diversity Award [courtesy of Columbus Collge of Art & Design].

* Ann Nocenti, mainstream comics writing legend on Daredevil and other titles. [courtesy of Columbus College Of Art & Design]

* Laura Park, this year’s winner of the Columbus Comics Residency co-sponsored by Columbus Museum of Art and Columbus College Of Art & Design; author of Do Not Disturb My Waking Dream.

* Dav Pilkey, internationally famous author and comics-maker behind the Captain Underpants phenomenon and the hit Dog Man series. [courtesy of Scholastic Books’ Graphix imprint]

* Mimi Pond, one of the great writers to ever work in comics and cartoons, now a poignant comics memoirist (Over Easy) with second book on deck: The Customer Is Alwasy Wrong.

* Dana Simpson, author of the hit syndicated newspaper strip Phoebe and Her Unicorn [courtesy of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum with the sponsorship of]

* Chris Sprouse, prestige-gig mainstream artist perhaps best known for his Tom Strong collaboration with Alan Moore and current work on Black Panther. [courtesy of Laughing Ogre]

* Leslie Stein, an alternative comics mainstay best known for her mix of memoir and fantasy in the series The Eye Of The Majestic Creature. Her latest book is 2017’s Present, with Drawn and Quarterly.

* Tillie Walden, comics superstar-in-the-making here in support of her major book debut (Spinning, with First Second) and having recently complated a major webcomics effort, On A Sunbeam.

* Connor Willumsen, enormous drawing and comics talent best known for the beautifully rendered experimental comics on his own web site. [courtesy of Comics Workbook]

* Judd Winick, all-ages cartoonist (currently with Hi-Lo) that has enjoyed successful runs in several comics disciplines from superhero comics to memoir to alt-comics humor.

The guest list, as well as the 2017 CXC logo, from graphic designer Sonia Harris and illustrator Katie Skelly seen above, were rolled out at a launch Party held last week.

“The core of our special guest list this year is an amazing, diverse, highly skilled crew of great comics makers,” said CXC Executive Director Tom Spurgeon. “I’m really proud of the efforts of our programming committee in putting this group together and I can’t wait for late September.”

Festival Director Smith: “With this spectacular group in place, we’re confident our third CXC can be our best one yet!”



  1. I attended last year and had a good time. The only big gripe was that Seth and Burns did not have a table at the con and so you were not able to get signatures. Also no map so you had no idea where any of the creators were sitting. That was embarrassing. The talks were organized but the the actual con at the library was a mess. I’m still flying in to attend this year. I’m hoping every year will get better.

  2. This is one of the best shows I’ve been to-filled with people who love comics and creators excited to talk to fans. To address DavidS’ complaint-Seth and Ben Katchor were doing a talk during the con Sat and still showed up around 4, had a table set up and started signing books. Burns autographed books at his lecture.

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