All panels take place at the Hoover-Leppen Theatre on the third floor of the Center on Halsted.
Don’t forget to check out our weekend’s schedule of workshops!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

11:30 – 12:30pm

The Golden Age(s) of Comics

In one of the final essays he wrote for his Critical Circle in 1989, just a few months before his death, cartoonist and Captain Marvel co-creator C. C. Beck fondly remembered his childhood: “‘A golden age,’ Isaac Asimov once said, ‘is whenever you were ten years old.’ As Asimov is ten years younger than I am, his golden age must have been in the ‘30s while mine must have been in the ‘20s.” Golden Age is a familiar term for American comic book fans: it refers not only to the era of the 1930s and 1940s in which Beck was a key figure, but also to the nostalgia at the heart of so many graphic narratives. To get CAKE 2015 off to a start that would have made an old curmudgeon like Beck proud, we welcome Jillian Tamaki, Dash Shaw, and Sam Sharpe to talk about how coming-of-age narratives figure in their work. Tamaki’s Caldecott Honor-winning This One Summer (created in collaboration with Mariko Tamaki), Shaw’s kaleidoscopic New School, and Sharpe’s harrowing “Mom” from Viewotron No. 2 all tell stories about characters who find the past both haunting and inescapable. They will also discuss the various forms sequential art can take in this new Golden Age, from self-published narratives to digital comics and beyond. Comics scholar, writer, and educator Gene Kannenberg, Jr. will lead a lively discussion about form, meaning, and memory in contemporary comics.
This panel and Jillian Tamaki’s appearance are sponsored by Print Ninja. Dash Shaw appears courtesy of the DePaul School of Cinematic Arts.

1:00 – 2:00pm

“What I Do Is Secret”:
A Conversation
with Zak Sally and Mickey Zacchilli

First a window, then a silver ghost, and finally these words: “I learned to love it. I walk through walls, undetected and unseen. I go where I want, and what I do is secret.” These images, and those lines, mark the end of Zak Sally’s Recidivist IV, a striking work of comic art published in late 2014. Like Recidivist IV, Mickey Zacchilli’s brilliant series Rav—in which Juice and Sally look for life and love in haunted places like the Meat Cave and the local IHop—is an idiosyncratic, often moving, sometimes playful deconstruction of familiar comic book storytelling techniques. If Wendy O. Williams, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jack Kirby teamed up, their universe might look like Rav or Recidivist IV. So what’ll happen when these two visionaries get together with Roctober and Chic-a-Go-Go mastermind Jake Austen to talk comics, music, and other secrets of the universe? Join us and find out.
This panel is sponsored by The Center for Cartoon Studies.

3:00 – 4:00pm

Comic Books and Speculative Fiction

In the BBC documentary Synth Britannia, Daniel Miller of The Normal describes his affection for the work of J. G. Ballard: “It wasn’t like science fiction in the sense that it was outer space and stuff like that. It felt like it was five minutes into the future.” Ballard was part of a generation of writers who came of age during science fiction’s New Wave of the 1960s and early 1970s. Other writers loosely affiliated with this movement include Anna Kavan, Harlan Ellison, Samuel R. Delany, Ursula K. LeGuin, and Octavia Butler. In the 1970s, as the rest of the world was obsessing over Death Stars and Jedi mind tricks, the New Wave continued to shape the underground, from the white noise of Hawkwind to the hallucinatory landscapes of Moebius. Eleanor Davis, Lale Westvind, and Tom Kaczynski will join writer and scholar Ytasha Womack, author of Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture, in a conversation about the spiritual resonance of speculative fiction as it continues to shape and illuminate comics narratives of the 21st century.
Lale Westvind appears courtesy of Busy Beaver Button Company.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

11:30 – 12:30pm

A Conversation with the Hernandez Brothers

Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez need no introduction, but here’s one anyway: CAKE is honored to have these two comic book legends joining the fabulous Caitlin McGurk, curator at the Ohio State University’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, for a conversation about their lives and their work. Want to learn more about how Los Bros. and their characters—Maggie and Hopey, Luba, and all the rest—have transformed the world of comics over the last thirty years? This is the panel for you.
This panel is sponsored by Comix Revolution. The Hernandez Brothers appear courtesy of Graham Crackers Comics and Fantagraphics Books.

1:00 – 2:00pm

The Honest Truth

In the 1960s, writers including Truman Capote, Joan Didion, Hunter S. Thompson, and Tom Wolfe began developing what became known as New Journalism—what we now might call a form of creative nonfiction in which the writer dispenses with any illusion of third-person objectivity. This panel will explore the nonfiction work of artists Derf Backderf, Sarah Becan, and Keiler Roberts. How does a cartoonist transform the quotidian details of everyday life into words and pictures? What are the ethics and challenges of writing about living public figures? About friends and relatives? About yourself? With its longstanding traditions of autobiography and reportage, comics is particularly invested in these questions, which writer and artist Amy Peltz will explore with this stellar group of cartoonists.
Keiler Roberts appears courtesy of First Aid Comics.

2:30 – 4:00pm

Eyeworks Festival

The Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation returns to CAKE again this year with a new screening of contemporary animated shorts! The work in the program explores unusual narrative and a wide variety of formal approaches to animation and drawing. Come see absurdist walk cycles, Amiga animation, hand-drawn memory manipulation, animated D&D convention recordings, and characters trying to make sense of living on a post-apocalyptic toxic lake, to name just a few examples of what is in store. Cartoonists Dash Shaw, Lale Westvind, Scott Roberts, and Jenna Caravello will be in person for a Q&A after the screening to discuss their work in the program. Eyeworks Program curated by Lilli Carré and Alexander Stewart.
This panel is sponsored by the DePaul School of Cinematic Arts.