I needed to marinate in the juices that was The Mix for a couple of days. Drink in the academia, the art, and receding hairlines. The major thing I take away from it is the question, why isn’t Columbus a bigger comics town? That seemed to be the question posed in interview by Robert Loss and on the Indie Comix panel that Caitlin (from the Cartoon Library) moderated. Hell, even today it was mentioned on the Comics Reporter. By all rights, we should be. The cost of living is significantly cheaper than Chicago or New York. Our local economy’s fairing better than most metropolitan cities, despite the crappy economy. Life doesn’t suck in Columbus. Believe me, it took me five or so years out of art school to realize that. You can set up your homebase here, and travel to cons in Chicago, Baltimore, Bethesda, and or New York. Granted, the major drawback for a creative is looking for work in graphic design, or advertising for say a firm or company: the market’s flooded. It doesn’t mean you can’t start your own company or freelance for clients outside Columbus.
I was able to see both panels with Chris Ware. There was a ‘keynote’ Friday night that was more like an informal talk with Ware. Jeff Smith and the entire Cartoon Books staff was in attendance. Saturday he was part of a panel on contemporary life in comics. When I got there, it seemed more like a continuation of Friday’s keynote. I wasn’t complaining, I wanted to hear more from Ware. I went and checked out the exhibit of Ware’s work that’s still up in the Canzani Center main gallery. Make a hard right as you pass the ridiculously big Red Riding Hood installation.
The crowd was a mix of college professors and students. It was a modest attendance for most of the panels, save the keynote address which was of course, free. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there’s a growing number of English college departments taking comics seriously. In that I mean there are college classes now where professors assign Watchmen or Fun Home along with Ulysses or The Invisible Man. CCAD’s Robert Loss teaches a course dedicated to graphic novels. Makes perfect sense for an art school. I’d love to see this grow and expand into sub-series of courses for cartoonists. Enriching the comics illustration class that I took back when I was a student.
CCAD is moving forward with plans for next year’s Mix. To be a part of it, it’s a bit more complicated than being in a convention panel. You have to submit a resume, and an abstract (synapsis) of what you want to talk about in one of the panels. Artists, creators, and or writers are all welcome.