CAKE 2019

January 6, 2019

The Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE) is a weekend-long celebration of independent comics, inspired by Chicago’s rich legacy as home to many of underground and alternative comics’ most talented artists– past, present and future. Featuring comics for sale, workshops, exhibitions, panel discussions and more, CAKE is dedicated to fostering community and dialogue amongst independent artists, small presses, publishers and readers.

R. Sikoryak In Conversation with Charles C. Valauskas July 11th, Quimby’s

July 9, 2017

Tuesday, July 11th at 7 PM – 8 PM

Quimby’s Bookstore

1854 W North Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60622


In the new graphic novel Terms & Conditions (Drawn & Quarterly), R. Sikoryak tackles the monstrously and infamously dense legal document, iTunes Terms and Conditions, the contract everyone agrees to but no one reads. In a word for word 94-page adaptation, Sikoryak hilariously turns the agreement on its head – each page features an avatar of Apple cofounder and legendary visionary Steve Jobs juxtaposed with a different classic strip such as Mort Walker’s Beatle Bailey, or a contemporary graphic novel such as Craig Thompson’s Blankets or Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis.

“Mischievous, pastiche-heavy artist Robert Sikoryak…upped the difficulty level for his long-term conceptual project: Instead of abridging a book, he lifted the complete text of Apple’s mind-numbing corporate boilerplate, which users must agree to before accessing iTunes, and mashed it up with art invoking more than a century of comics.”—New York Times

R. Sikoryak is the author of Masterpiece Comics (Drawn & Quarterly). His comics and illustrations have appeared in the New Yorker, The Onion, GQ, MAD, SpongeBob Comics, and Nickelodeon Magazine, as well as on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Sikoryak is in the speakers program of the New York Council of the Humanities, and he teaches in the illustration department at Parsons The New School for Design and at The Center for Cartoon Studies. He lives in New York City with his wife, Kriota Willberg.

Charles C. Valauskas is legal counsel to domestic and foreign companies, new ventures, and universities and research foundations. Mr. Valauskas speaks on a regular basis throughout the world on technological and intellectual property topics. He has appeared in articles published in publications including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the ABA Journal, and Food & Wine.

More info:

CAKE 2017 Debuts!

June 9, 2017

Every year, we are honored to see comics artists use CAKE as a venue to debut new comics.  Be the first person on the planet to get a copy of these new and innovative titles! You can view our debuts on our 2017 Debut page.
Here are a few titles that will be debuting at the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo on June 10 & 11:

Destroyed Cell

by Andy Glass
Table 109b
A new series from Chicago cartoonist Andy Glass. DESTROYED CELL – A hyper-realistic, paranoid and poetic adventure set in a (possible?) future of oppression, resistances, mutation and cataclysmic change! 32 pp, b/w

Half Asleep Volume 7

by Beth Hetland and Kyle O’Connell
Table 502a
The PENULTIMATE volume of Beth and Kyle’s series, Half Asleep! After being submerged for an entire volume in her dreams, some time later and back in reality Ivy begins her journey to the end.
Series summary– at age 11 Ivy Lassette is the youngest student enrolled at the elite college, Ebony-Alerca. Ivy’s studies focus on Hypnology, an experimental discipline that teaches students how to access and inhabit their dream worlds with the same conscious control they experience in waking reality. Ivy’s world-renown and highly demanding professor also happens to be her mother, Dr. Michelle Lassette. Follow Ivy and Dr. Lassette as they navigate the layers of existence attempting to understand the world, each other, and themselves.

Chicago in the Fall

by Cathy Hannah
Table 410b
Diary comic with daily four-panel strips from September – November 2016. About cats, naps, and boys

Is This OK? #7

by Hannah Kaplan
Table 517b
The seventh issue in annually published diary comics series by Hannah Kaplan, “Is This OK?” is a 28-page full-color mini-comic. It contains recent comics drawn entirely in colored pencil. The comics touch on issues such as the recent election, relationships, and the ups and downs in the daily life of a woman in her early thirties who is finally realizing the finitude of life. It’s very funny. You need not have read any other comics in the series to enjoy this publication.


by Heberto BICIO
Table 222b
A book about playing with shadows and revealing secrets.


by Nou
Table 515
Can you see the answers are all here?

Shadow Hills 10

by Sean Ford
Table 22a
This is the 10th issue of Shadow Hills. It’s the last part in a story about a plague that hits a fracking town and two sisters who are trying to find a way to stop it.
Shadow Hills 10 is a 24pp black and white comic book with full color cover. It is 6.5″ x 8.5″ and printed on nice paper. This issue features a special back cover drawn by Alex Kim. Check out his comics and drawings on Instagram @atronkim


by Xia Gordon
Table 515
lines, lights, and emotions.

CAKE 2017 Debuts!

June 7, 2017

Every year, we are honored to see comics artists use CAKE as a venue to debut new comics.  Be the first person on the planet to get a copy of these new and innovative titles! You can view our debuts on our 2017 Debut page.
2dcloud has brought their unique comics voice every year to CAKE. Here are the titles they will be debuting at the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo on June 10 & 11. Be sure to visit them at table 515:

Architecture of An Atom

by Juliacks
With Architecture of an Atom, internationally recognized multi-disciplinary artist Juliacks brings her trans-media project to the print realm. Characterized by critics as a member of the immersive school of cartooning, she has sought to trouble the boundaries between fine art and comics throughout her career. A socially conscious, layered work in every sense of the word.

Mirror Mirror II

by Julia Gfrörer & Sean T. Collins
For volume two of 2dcloud’s annual anthology, editors Julia Gfrörer & Sean T. Collins have amassed some of the darkest talents within as well as outside of comics to create a wholly singular reading and visual experience. From masters of horror like Clive Barker to leading figures in altcomics such as Simon Hanselmann, this collection transcends the expectations of what a comics anthology can do. Lala Albert Clive Barker Heather Benjamin Apolo Cacho Sean Christensen Nicole Claveloux Sean T. Collins Al Columbia Dame Darcy Noel Freibert Renee French Meaghan Garvey Julia Gfrörer Simon Hanselmann Claude Paradin Aidan Koch Laura Lannes Céline Loup Uno Moralez Mou Jonny Negron Chloe Piene Josh Simmons Carol Swain Trungles

Sound of Snow Falling

by Maggie Umber
A paint and paper documentary, observing great horned owls in their natural habitat.
Sound of Snow Falling is a graphic novel done in a poetic documentary mode. In this unique work, the reader becomes a voyeur of the natural world, following a great horned owl family through the dead of winter. Extensively researched and expressively painted, Sound of Snow Falling is a triumph of the comics form.


by Sarah Ferrick
With Yours, the notions of art, poetry, and form collapse into one of the most singular approaches to comics in recent memory. Ferrick’s intimate love letters read as both a confession and a seduction.

Extended Play

by Jake Terrell
Extended Play, the debut collection by Jake Terrell, seizes upon the millennial zeitgeist from an array of angles. From the haze of summer to the conflicting feelings of ennui and hope that guide the figures in Terrell’s magical realist landscapes, there’s an effortlessness to his work that obscures the heightened sense of understanding he brings to the form. Jake Terrell is a cartoonist and illustrator based in Brooklyn, NY. His comics have a loose, confident line, often focusing on a youth-centric cast of characters written into magical realist or measured fantastical narratives.
“Extended Play” is an apt title. The pleasure of Terrell’s line, and his storytelling, is infectious. It’s a battle cry for cartooning as mark making, as line design, for thinking of drawing as handwriting and a form of searching and discovery. It may be his first book, but already he seems to understand what IT is, better than most. I could read his work all day long. — Sammy Harkham


June 2, 2017

Every year, we are honored to see comics artists use CAKE as a venue to debut new comics.  Be the first person on the planet to get a copy of these new and innovative titles! You can view our debuts on our 2017 Debut page.
Here are a few titles that will be debuting at the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo on June 10 & 11:

Soft Power: an anthology

Edited by Erin K Drew and Alicia Obermeyer
Table 207b
The first ever Pubes and ‘Tudes anthology will amplify disgusting attitudes towards the hegemonic status quo. It is a 28-page riso-printed collection of drawings by 13 multi-disciplinary artists living in Chicago, Indianapolis, or roving around the states.

The bar date

by Alan D Caesar
Table 226a
A fluorescent series of odd moments from bar dates, featuring a badger, shark, hundreds of groundhogs in a trenchcoat and at lest one cat on fire.


by Penina Gal
Table 502b
“Orbiting” is a poetic comic exploring themes of anxiety, insecurity, community, and belonging. 60 pages, 2-color riso printed.

In the Middle of the Night

by Nicole Del Rio
Table 314b
A book of drawings and comics about anxieties of personal friendships, daily life commitments, and self worth

Open Letter to Sleep

by Alyssa Berg
Table 415a
Open Letter to Sleep is a 32-page, Risograph printed love letter to insomnia. The epic poem was made in November 2016 for 30 Days of Comics (a comic a day for the month of November) and printed at the SVA RisoLab in 2017.

CAKE 2017 Debuts!

May 31, 2017

Every year, we are honored to see comics artists use CAKE as a venue to debut new comics.  Be the first person on the planet to get a copy of these new and innovative titles! You can view our debuts on our 2017 Debut page.
Here are a few titles that will be debuting at the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo on June 10 & 11:

having given up,

by Emily Hutchings
Table 310b
“having given up,” is a collection of new poems and drawings by Emily Hutchings. Speaking from within the ebbs and flows of depression, and as a method of understanding the more granular details of leaving that void, this book dips in and out of dream logic, body horror and an occasional bout of stillness- like the stiffness of a shaking hand when you try to show someone else that you are trembling. This book contains portions of the text from Hutchings’ performances at the Cards Against Humanity’s comics reading series and Zine Not Dead in 2016.


by Yewon Kwon
Table 209a
CEASE TO EXIST is a 28 page perfect bound offset and risograph book about desperately wanting to disappear but being terrified of death.

Pallor Pink Vol. III: To Those In Glass Houses

by Nicole Del Rio, Griffin Miller, Rohan McDonald, Margaret Hitch, Robert Rusch, Annie Klein, Jess Cadwell, Kane Shirley, Jordan Jackson, Yewon Kwon, Justin LaGuff, Winnie Black
Table 209a
Pallor Pink Vol. III is here!! TO THOSE IN GLASS HOUSES is a 36 page saddle stitched 2-color offset book with a screen printed vellum cover. Featuring work from 12 different artists, these will be available at CAKE alongside a series of risograph prints from all those involved!


by Rohan McDonald
Table 209a
A risograph printed, 11 x 17 mini comic that experiments with poetic formulas and excessive drawings of trees!


by higu rose
Table 516b
Have you ever gotten your tits chopped off? I sure have. It’s a wild ride. TITTYCHOP BOOBSLASH explores the absurdity of “the body” — my specifically, “my body” — and how to cope with it. Twenty years of dysphoria, seven months anticipation, five weeks bedrest, one month on drugs. All to get rid of those breasts and feel at ease in this body I’ve been damned with. I spent 2016 in terror and excitement preparing for my top surgery, thinking gender thoughts and reinventing my relationship to my body. TITTYCHOP BOOBSLASH reviews it all. A month to month retelling of a trans person who finally decided to do something for themself instead of deferring to stoicism. That’s me, and this is my body. Black & white self-published memoir comic.

Long Black Veil

by Isabella Rotman
Table 212b
All text/lyrics from the folk song Long Black Veil, originally written by Danny Dill and Marijohn Wilkin and recorded by Lefty Frizzell in 1959. Since then Long Black Veil has been covered by many artists, including Johnny Cash, Joni Mitchell, and my Nonnie. My favorite part of any family holiday was when three generations of women would gather together to sing murder ballads. These are the times I would feel most connected to my Nonnie, and all it took was a morbid plot, the celebration of death, and four simple chords. So here it is, my take of a beloved family tradition, adoringly interpreted into an old-timey lesbian witch ballad. The love of music lives on.

Introducing The First Slice Emerging Talent Showcase

May 24, 2017

We are pleased to introduce the First Slice Emerging Talent Showcase table. This new table at CAKE 2017 features artists who have never exhibited at a comics festival! Curated by CAKE Organizers, each artist will table for one day of CAKE, free of charge, to expose them to exhibiting at a festival, and expose attendees to these new comics voices.
Visit table 233 each day to meet all of these exciting new comics creators!

The inaugural First Slice artists are…

Diego Cadena Bejarano (Saturday)

Diego Cadena Bejarano

Illustrator coming from Colombia, the land of magical realism, plans to exaggerate his way to stardom. Currently living and working in Brooklyn trying to change the world from his basement, while making zines with his better half.

Rayne Klar (Saturday)

Rayne Klar

Queer artist making comix and zines about punk rock, witchcraft, and feelings.

Karina Shor (Saturday)

Karina Shor

Karina was born under a different name in the Soviet Union. Grew up in Israel to become a kids book illustrator. After years of writing a journal telling all her fuck ups in life, she decided to move to New York to pursue the illusive career of underground comix and tell all her secrets to the world. Karina believes that nothing is sacred and hopes that her stories will help other confused girls like her.

Nathan & Ryan Veach (Sunday)

Nathan Veach / Ryan Veach

Siblings born and raised in the Mississippi River Valley. Currently residing in Chicago and East Moline, Illinois. Collaborating on art, music, and mischief since the late ’80s.

Ann Xu (Sunday)

Ann Xu

Ann Xu is a cartoonist and illustrator from San Jose, CA, recently graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art. Her comics have been published as self-published minis and in anthologies, most recently in Power & Magic: The Queer Witch Comics Anthology. She likes to think about and draw nostalgic things; her comics are filled with themes of childhood, heritage, home, and relationships.

We strongly encourage you to visit all of these great new comics artists when exploring CAKE!

CAKE 2017 Debuts!

May 24, 2017

Every year, we are honored to see comics artists use CAKE as a venue to debut new comics.  Be the first person on the planet to get a copy of these new and innovative titles! You can view our debuts on our 2017 Debut page.
Here are a few titles that will be debuting at the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo on June 10 & 11:


From Ian McDuffie, Table 310a:

Bodies Of Work

Bodies of Work is a collection of Ian McDuffie’s short comics work from the last ten years. It includes cartoons that have been included in anthologies, as well as some works that never saw the light of day. Steel yourself for death, pasta, Kate Bush, sorrow, transformation, and a talking phallus.


Lazarus shows a slice of life of Thomas Jerome Newton, an ancient alien, prisoner of Earth, drunk, stumbling and sleeping through his life, unable to die. Loosely adapted from both Walter Tevis’ “The Man Who Fell To Earth,” Nicolas Roeg’s film of the same name, and David Bowie & Enda Walsh’s musical “Lazarus.” 24 pages, b/w.

2 Stories

Ian McDuffie’s 2 Stories contains two brand new tales of isolation, loss, appropriation, ignorance, disgust, alienation, and evil. These stories depict two different characters will a complete lack of understanding of their place in the world, and how they overreact to that lack. Comeuppance comes to them in different ways. 24 pages, b/w.

From Corinne Halbert, Table 410a:

Hate Baby 666

For Horror Movie fans, BDSM fetish freaks and lovers of Satan! Hate Baby 666 is more sinful than ever before. Enjoy a series of debaucherous vignettes including Seven Deadly Sins and Six Names of Satan. 32p, b+w 5.5”x8.5” for adults only!

Lady Like

Reimagined vintage ads marketed towards women with an added Horror twist. This sassy little mini-comic is poking fun at the blatant sexism of advertising campaigns from the 1930’s, 1940’s and 1950’s. 20p, b+w, 5’5”x8.5” step into the past and have a laugh.

From Scott R Miller (also at Table 410a):

Printsploitation No. 3

The third installment of PRINTSPLOITATION a horror and cult movie Illustration fanzine. Featuring art from Putrid, Corinne Halbert, Reuben Splatterbeast and many more! New larger format, 8.5”x11” b+w.

Local Exhibitor Spotlight: Special Guests

May 19, 2017

We want to highlight the talented local comics artists who are exhibiting with us at CAKE on June 10 & 11th. Every year, CAKE Organizers invite a few artists to be Special Guests. Special Guests are featured during CAKE programming, and are a draw for attendees. This year three of our nine Special Guests are local. Come out to CAKE to see them in programming throughout the weekend!

Emil Ferris

Emil Ferris has been making waves since her debut graphic novel, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters – Part1 came out from Fantagraphics earlier this year. Emil’s book has drawn praise from The New York Times, The New Yorker, Art Spiegelman, The Guardian, The Chicago Reader, and the list goes on and on and on!

C. Spike Trotman

Spike Trotman has single-handedly created Iron Circus Comics, a successful alternative comics press that champions new voices, daring subject matter, and fair compensation for artists. Spike is an accomplished comics maker in her own right, having originally gained notoriety for her webcomic series, Templar Arizona!

Jessi Zabarsky

Jessi Zabarsky is an inventive comics maker who plays with form and story structure to delightful results! Jessi’s graphic novel, Witchlight from Czap Books is already being considered one of the best all-ages comics to be released in 2017.

CAKE 2017 Debuts!

May 17, 2017

Every year, we are honored to see comics artists use CAKE as a venue to debut new comics.  Be the first person on the planet to get a copy of these new and innovative titles! You can view our debuts on our 2017 Debut page.
Here are a few titles that will be debuting at the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo on June 10 & 11:


Fog Over Tolbiac Bridge: A Nestor Burma Mystery

by Jacques Tardi
Paris, 1950s. Nestor Burma’s past comes knocking when a young gypsy woman leads him to a hospital where he discovers a recently deceased old buddy from his anarchist days. While Burma has chosen to move onto the (more or less) straight and narrow as a private eye, his friend had stayed on the other side of the law as a counterfeiter and worse. So now it’s up to Burma to avenge his friend, keep the girl safe, and hopefully unravel a mystery whose roots run far and deep back into the past… Fog Over Tolbiac Bridge is the first of four major graphic novels adapted by Tardi from the legendary French crime writer Léo Malet’s original Nestor Burma novels, each set in Paris. Tardi’s stylish use of mechanical gray tones provides the book with a lovely period feel which, combined with Tardi’s usual obsessive visual research, gives it a uniquely personal, authentic quality. Tardi’s adaptation is a cracking good detective yarn and a milestone in comics history.
Table 417 & 418

Let Some Word That Is Heard Be Yours

by Alex Nall
The next installment of Nall’s ‘Teaching Comics’ series, ‘Let Some Word That Is Heard Be Yours’ explores the life and influence of tv’s Fred Rogers, better known as Mister Rogers.
Table 301b

Midwestrn Cuban Comics 10

by Odin D. Cabal
Baseball, romance, and near death experience. Maria and company are back in black in the streets of Milwaukee.
Table 110b

A New Low

by Johnny Ryan
For more than a decade, Johnny Ryan (Angry Youth Comix, Prison Pit) has been filling the back page of Vice magazine with some of the most transgressively hilarious and politically incorrect comics to ever grace a glossy, national magazine. A New Low collects this impressive body of work, as well as several other surprises. The victims of Ryan’s skewering satire in this collection include: G.G. Allin, Caddyshack, Bill Cosby, E.T., Everybody Loves Raymond, Ireland, Italy, Kenny G, Kid Rock, D.H. Lawrence, Ted Nugent, Russians, Small Wonder, The Shield, Spain, Two and a Half Men, Vice magazine, Wall Street, and so much more that can’t be so easily categorized (such as “Erotic Art Collecting Squirrel” or “Whorenado,” to name but a few). Johnny Ryan’s utterly unpretentious taboo-tackling is an infectious and hilarious bombardment of political incorrectness, taking full advantage of the medium’s absurdist potential for maximum laughs. In an age when the medium is growing up and aspiring to more mature and hoity-toity literary heights, Ryan builds on the visceral tradition that cartooning has had on our collective funny bone for over a century, and A New Low collects almost 100 full-color examples of Vice’s signature cartoonist.
Tables 417 & 418

The Complete Strange Growths, 1991-1997

by Jenny Zervakis
Jenny Zervakis was part of a wave of underground, do-it-yourself cartoonists who came of age during the Zine Revolution of the 1990’s. At a time when most “alternative comics” were loud, abrasive, and sarcastic, Jenny’s zine, Strange Growths, was warm, understated, and emotionally bare. Now, for the first time, these inspirational and groundbreaking comics have been collected in book form. The Complete Strange Growths: 1991-1997 gathers the first thirteen issues in their entirety, plus a selection of rare comics from anthologies, and a new interview with Jenny, conducted by Robert Clough.
Table 105

Upgrade Soul Vol 3

by Ezra Claytan Daniels
After almost 15 years in the making, Ezra Claytan Daniels’ award-winning science fiction epic finally concludes. Upgrade Soul Volume 3. 96 pages, full color, squarebound. “Upgrade Soul is a dazzling, disturbing piece of science fiction that examines aging, family and science gone wrong. It’ll grip you from the first page on.” —Heidi MacDonald, The Beat
Table 211a


by Andrea Pazienza
Fantagraphics is proud to introduce American (and English-speaking) readers to this blazingly honest cartoonist of international stature. Andrea Pazienza was part of a group of Italian cartoonists and illustrators who pioneered a breakthrough approach to comics in Italy, comparable to what Moebius did at Les Humanoïdes Associés with Métal Hurlant in France and Robert Crumb with Zap in the U.S. Pazienza was a true visionary, with a fluid line and an uncanny sense of color and composition, and his innovative graphic style served up stories that were iconoclastic, outrageous, humorous, and deeply personal, often based on himself and his microcosm of friends and collaborators. Zanardi portrays a lost generation of late-1970s/early-1980s teenagers, coping with family problems, school, sex, and drugs — a universal tale in many Western countries. Pazienza was a revolutionary cartoonist who ushered an underground sensibility to Italian and European comics, breaking from the more staid tradition of genteel adult (and children’s) graphic albums.
Tables 417 & 418