Eleanor Davis is a Special Guest for CAKE 2015!

October 23, 2014By NeilCAKE, Special Guests

We’re excited to announce our first special guest for CAKE 2015: Eleanor Davis!

Eleanor Davis

Eleanor is a cartoonist and illustrator who lives in Athens, Georgia with her husband, Drew Weing. Her collection of short comics for adults, How To Be Happy, was published in 2014 by Fantagraphics Books. She has also created two comics for kids called The Secret Science Alliance and Stinky. You can learn more about her at her website, on Twitter, and on Tumblr.

How To Be Happy by Eleanor Davis

CAKE organizers are not alone when we declare that we’re big fans of Eleanor’s work, and we are excited to have her as a special guest. Her online comics, printed minicomics and illustration work are full of humor, humanity, and grace, and How to be Happy shines as one of our favorite collections of the past few years. We also consider ourselves enthusiastic fans of Stinky and The Secret Science Alliance, and we’re glad that CAKE will be a chance for the young comics readers of Chicago to get to meet her.

Sara Drake Wins The Inaugural Cupcake Award & Exhibitor Application Opens

October 21, 2014By NeilCAKE, Debuts, Exhibitors

The Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE), a weekend-long festival celebrating independent comics, is proud to announce that Sara Drake is the recipient of the inaugural Cupcake Award. Launched at the June 2014 CAKE, the Cupcake Award emerges from CAKE’s commitment to support independent comics, self-publishing and community. As the winner of the first Cupcake Award, Drake will receive $250 to support the printing of a new comic, a free half table at the 2015 CAKE show, and mentorship support from special guest juror Annie Koyama of Koyama Press. Alexander Rothman, Sab Meynert and Rebekka Dunlap received honorable mentions.


“When I agreed to judge the first Cupcake award,” Koyama says, “I anticipated some good work but wasn’t prepared for the quality of the final twenty submissions. It was very difficult to narrow those entries down to four winners. I look forward to seeing new work from all of the finalists and congratulations to this year’s winner.”

Cupcake Award winner Sara Drake is a Chicago artist who has been making comics since 2010 and experimenting with storytelling in a variety of mediums, including illustration, shadow puppetry, criticism and performance. She will use the Cupcake Award to produce two sections of a serialized comic, “Operation Menu,” that investigates the illegal and secretive U.S. carpet bombing of Cambodia in 1969-1970.

“I am thrilled to be the initial recipient of the Cupcake Award,” says Drake. “What a risky honor to be the first of anything. CAKE has been pivotal in giving shape and support to Chicago’s abundance of independent creators – a cohort to which I am forever indebted.”

“Operation Menu” will debut at CAKE, which will return to Chicago on Saturday, June 6 through Sunday, June 7, 2015 from 11am – 6pm with over 200 local, national and international exhibitors at Center on Halsted located at 3656 N. Halsted Ave. Free and open to the public, CAKE is returning for a fourth year to celebrate the diverse community of underground and alternative comic artists, publishers and fans in Chicago.

Applications for CAKE 2015 exhibitors are now open: http://www.cakechicago.com/2015-cake-exhibitor-application


All applications will be reviewed by the CAKE advisory committee, which is an open body consisting of members of the Chicago alternative comics community. All applications submitted on or before December 15, 2014 will be reviewed within the month of January and applicants will be informed by January 26, 2015 as to whether they are offered a space at the expo, or if they are on the waiting list.

About Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE)
CAKE is 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.

Tuesday, October 21!

October 19, 2014By NeilCAKE, Exhibitors

The Chicago Alternative Comics Expo will announce the winner of the inaugural Cupcake Award on Tuesday, October 21st!!!

That is also the day we’ll be opening applications for the 2015 expo! Applications will be open until December 15th.

CAKE 2015 will take place June 5 & 6!

See you on Tuesday!

CAKE 2015

September 19, 2014By NeilCAKE

The Fourth Annual Chicago Alternative Comics Expo will take place on Saturday, June 6 and Sunday, June 7 2015 at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N Halsted Ave. CAKE is free to attend, and will be open to the public 11:00am – 6:00pm each day. Lots of other events will take place around the weekend. Stay tuned for lots of exciting announcements!


September 1, 2014By NeilCAKE


The 2014 Chicago Alternative Comics Expo has closed, and we want to thank everyone for a wonderful weekend!

Please take a moment to fill out our attendee survey.

The organizers of the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo would like to thank the following individuals and groups for their assistance in making CAKE 2014 a successful event:
David Alvarado, Jake Austen, Gregory Baldino, Nate Beaty, Sarah Becan , Monte Beauchamp, Matt Brady, Tony Breed, Jeffrey Brown, Ivan Brunetti, Kevin Budnik, Andy Burkholder, Ryan Burns, Jessica Campbell, Tyrell Cannon, Jenna Caravello, Lilli Carré, RJ Casey, Danielle Chennette, Chicago Zine Fest, Caleb Condit, Sarah Marie Coogan, CoProsperity Sphere, Zain Curtis, MK Czerwiec, Alex Dahm, Ezra Claytan Daniels, Anya Davidson, Matt Davis, Jo Dery, Krystal DiFronzo, Sara Drake, Jon Drawdoer, Nick Drnaso, El Is A Sound Of Joy, Edie Fake, Rachel Foss, Glitter Gutz, Terry Grant, Beth Hetland, Keith Herzik, Lyra Hill, Nicole Hollander, Paul Hornschemeier, Hungry Brain, Hunter Husar, Robin Hustle, Joey Jacks, Josh Johannpeter, Mason Johnson, Joanne Kim, Eric Kirsammer, Lucy Knisley, Bret Koontz, Chad Kouri, Steve Krakow, Angee Lennard, Carter Lodwick, Loyola Business Law Clinic, Brett Manning, Edmar, Ben Marcus, Liz Mason, Marieke McClendon, Nancy McClelland, Ian McDuffie, Bernie McGovern, Caitlin McGurk, Ben McLeod, Duncan McKenzie, Meeting Tomorrow, Lane Milburn, Jaclyn Miller, Rebecca Mir, Johnny Misfit, Annie Mok, Corinne Mucha, Rachel Niffenegger-Tinder, Paul Nudd, Onsmith, Peanut Gallery, Leslie Perrine, Caroline Picard, JP Pollard, John Porcellino, George Porteus, Propeller Fund, Pup House, Aaron Renier, Grant Reynolds, Jen Rickert, Eric Rivera, Brad Rohloff, Keiler Roberts, Scott Roberts, Joshua Roma, Isabella Rotman, Marian Runk, Chad Sell, Sam Sharpe, Situations, Harrison Smith-Mooney, Scott Speh, Otto Splotch, Spudnik Press Co-Op, Matt Streets, Jill Summers, Laura Szumowski, Joe Tallarico, Jeremy Tinder, Trubble Club, Jim Trainor, Spike Trotman, Michael Vega, Chris Ware, Sarah Wawrzaszek, Lillie West, Leslie Weibeler, Sua Yoo, and of course to all of our volunteers, exhibitors, special guests and attendees thanks for being a part of CAKE!

We hope to see all of you at the 2015 Chicago Alternative Comics Expo!

Call for Organizers

August 15, 2014By NeilCAKE

We’ve already started talking about the 2015 Chicago Alternative Comics Expo. With the departure of two of our original organizers this past year, we are looking for a few new organizers to join our ranks. If you are interested, please read the following post in its entirety.

The Chicago Alternative Comics Expo is Seeking New Organizers

Application Deadline: Friday, August 22, 2014

Job Description:

CAKE organizers have a hand in creating every aspect of the show: who we invite as special guests, where we hold the show, jurying the final exhibitor list, jurying the Cupcake award, helping promote and raise money for the festival, and all manner of brainstorming more and better ways to serve the community. This is a particularly interesting time to be a part of the group, since we’re focusing as much on planning next year’s show as institutionalizing the organization itself. We are wrapping up paperwork to become a nonprofit organization, so new organizers would become members of our board and would help us formalize and shape our mission and organizational structure so that CAKE will live on in a manner we can all be proud of, beyond our individual terms as organizers.

Organizing for CAKE is a rewarding job. Coordinating a festival that serves both the Chicago alternative comics community and the larger, national community means that you will shape and develop conversations happening in the comics art world, and create opportunities for emerging and established artists to share work and ideas. It is hard to describe the feeling of accomplishment when the weekend finally arrives: it is overwhelming. In addition to the sense of creating something larger than yourself, the camaraderie and friendship built between the organizers while planning is invaluable; there are a lot of tense conversations during meetings but there are also a lot of laughs.

In an organizer, we look for someone with a strong work ethic, solid critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and a sense of connection to a larger community. New organizers tend to take on support roles in committees as they’re learning how the expo runs, but within discussions, we need people who will voice their opinions, think about issues from different angles, and bring in different perspectives.

Organizer Duties:

We meet (roughly) every other week throughout the year, sometimes more or less as needed, but once it gets to about 3 months out from the weekend of CAKE the organizers meet weekly. There are also 3 or 4 epic meetings in addition to the weekly meetings that happen throughout the year to address specific time-consuming tasks (final jurying, table layout, etc). There is work that can’t be done in meetings (email coordination, writing projects, various administrative duties) and the work of staffing and coordinating fundraising events through the year.

This is a year-round, unpaid part-time job. We are all flexible with one another and understand that everyone can’t make it to every meeting, but the commitment is there. Also, because the weekend of CAKE is an all-hands-on-deck work period (and because table spaces are always fewer than applicants), core organizers often don’t table at the event.

There is also an unspoken assumption that this is a more-than-one-year engagement. There isn’t a mandatory term expectation per se, but there are a lot of moving parts, so learning happens on the job–it’s easier to contribute after seeing the whole process through once.

How To Apply:

Send us an email explaining why you think you’d be a great organizer! Email cakexpo [at] gmail [dot] com with subject line “New Organizer” with a paragraph or two telling us why you want to join the core organizing team, and what you think you would bring to CAKE. Not all applicants will be invited as organizers; we only plan to expand our organizing group by one or two members for 2015, but we welcome and appreciate other levels of involvement in the planning and execution of CAKE.

Comics Around Town: Corinne Mucha at Quimby’s Bookstore 7/25

July 23, 2014By NeilComics Around Town

Corinne Mucha will be celebrating her new graphic novel, Get Over It! (Secret Acres), which details the true-life story of a messy breakup at Quimby’s Bookstore this Friday! Through a series of comic vignettes, the story follows the author as she deals with a serious relationship’s end, and eventually learns the tough lessons of letting go. “Get Over It!” is a hilarious tale about a subject every decent person can relate to: getting BURNED BY LOVE.

Corinne Mucha is a Chicago based cartoonist, illustrator, and teaching artist. Her comics work includes the Xeric funded My Alaskan Summer, the Ignatz award winning The Monkey in the Basement and Other Delusions (Retrofit Comics) and the YA graphic novel Freshman: Tales of 9th Grade Obsessions, Revelations, and Other Nonsense. Her work has appeared in publications such as Chicago Magazine, Cicada, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and Truthout.

Quimby’s Bookstore
1854 W North Ave
Chicagoo, IL 60622

Comics Around Town: 2 Dueling Comics Events! This Thursday!

June 9, 2014By NeilComics Around Town


Thursday, June 12 7pm
Which comics event will you attend?!

Box Brown signs Andre The Giant at Challengers 6/12/14
Box Brown signs Andre The Giant Biography!
Challengers Comics & Conversation
1845 N Western Ave
Afterparty at Squared Circle (2418 N Ashland) to follow at 8pm

Meags Fitzgerald Photobooth Biography at Quimby's Bookstore 6/12/14
Meags Fitzgerald launches Photobooth, a Biography!
Quimby’s Bookstore
1854 W North Ave

Which event will you go to? The one at 1845 N. Western Ave, or the one at 1854 W. North Ave? The biography about a wrestler or the biography about the photobooth? HOW CAN YOU CHOOSE?!