We have officially closed our application for 2013. Thanks so much to the nearly 350 individual comics makers, small press publishers, collectives and distros who applied this year! Now comes the difficult part, the jurying process.

Our jury will be composed of members of the Chicago alternative comics community who are volunteering their time to review applications. Each juror will review 20 – 30 applications, assigning each application a numeric value from 3-0 (3 being the highest score, 0 being the lowest). Each applicant will be reviewed by four or five jurors. Those scores will be averaged into a final score, and then the applicants will be ranked. For the most part, those with the highest rank will be offered table space at CAKE.

We recognize a possible flaw in this process, that better known comics creators’ averaged scores may skew higher than the scores of those who are less well known. CAKE organizers will review the list and meet to discuss if there are applicants who they feel may have gotten a low score, but deserve exposure at the expo. As applications have been coming in, CAKE organizers have contacted applicants who they feel could benefit from sending more examples of their work to better illustrate the type of comics they create for our jurors.

A brief note about jurying. A lot of the language above in the jury process description uses terms such as “value” “score” and “rank.” We’re using them for a lack of better terms. Jurors will be asked to assess each applicants work as to how well they feel it would fit into CAKE’s exhibition, not the value of the art or story telling. We ask our jurors to consider the importance of variety and diversity of style, as well as the importance of supporting first-time exhibitors and those with less experience than more established creators. In no way should an exhibitor’s ranking be considered a judgement on the quality of their work or their worth as a comics creator. It is CAKE’s policy to not release any applicant’s total or individual scores or to reveal who their jurors were. This information is only shared between the organizers.

We strive to make CAKE the best show we can organize. We believe a curated show can best deliver a well balanced and exciting cross section of alternative comics. Through models such as a crowd-sourced jury process, and an extensive push to get first-time exhibitors to apply, we strive to make the curation system as fair and welcoming as possible. We also try to make the process as transparent as possible. If you have any questions regarding the process, or if you have suggestions for improvement, we would love to hear it. We encourage you to follow this link to email us.


All applicants will hear back from us as close to February 1st as possible!