CAKE Sponsor Spotlight: Chicago Architecture Foundation

June 5, 2017

CAKE is a non-profit, volunteer-run organization, and if it wasn’t for the support of our generous sponsors, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do. We wanted to take the time to spotlight our amazing sponsors, and we encourage you to support them!

Chicago Architecture Foundation

Our friends at The Chicago Architecture Foundation recently completed a successful Kickstarter for their comics project No Small Plans. No Small Plans is a graphic novel that follows the neighborhood adventures of teens in Chicago’s past, present and future as they wrestle with designing the city they want, need and deserve.

Chapter 1: The Past, 1928. Bernard, a young Chicagoan with a passion for engineering, makes his way from the Austin neighborhood to the intersection of State and Madison streets to meet up with his friends, Reggie and Elsa.

The book was inspired by the 1911 Wacker’s Manual, which was once used in classrooms to explain Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago. It is filled with beautiful illustrations and divided into three chapters set in the years 1928, 2017 and 2211. Each chapter ends with a map and a short interlude about Burnham, to give readers insight into the creation of the 1909 Plan and other urban planning challenges.

No Small Plans was launched in conjunction with CAF’s 50th anniversary and our new “Meet Your City” initiative, which aims to foster civic engagement. In partnership with Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Public Library, CAF aspires to distribute 30,000 copies of No Small Plans for free to Chicago teens over the next three years.

CAF launched a Kickstarter campaign at the end of March to raise funds for “No Small Plans” and hit our $20,000 goal in just 10 days. By the end of April we surpassed $65,000, which will result in the distribution of at least 5,000 free copies of the novel to students by the end of 2017.

You can pre-order or request copies of the book today at

About CAKE

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 among independent artists, small presses, publishers, and readers. The sixth annual CAKE will take place Saturday, June 10, and Sunday, June 11, 2017, at the Center on Halsted, 3656 North Halsted Avenue in Chicago. For any questions about CAKE, please email

What’s a punch card?

June 3, 2017

You can get free stuff at CAKE 2017 just for buying comics! What?!

It’s true! When you get your program from the info booth upon entering, there will be a detachable punch card. When you buy something from an artist, have them write down their name and the price of what you bought. The more stuff you buy, the more free things you get.

$15-25: A show poster and a set of CAKE buttons!

$26-65: A show poster, a set of buttons, and a set of stickers!

$66+: Receive everything, plus a limited edition risograph print by BEN PASSMORE, printed by Perfectly Acceptable Press!

Thank you!

June 3, 2017

The organizers of the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo would like to thank the following individuals and groups for their assistance in making CAKE 2017 a successful event: Leila Abdelrazaq, Izzy Adams, Meghan Ansbach, Oscar Arriola, Rachel Bard, Monte Beauchamp, Sarah Becan, Andrea Bell, Ben Bertin, Katie Bourgeois, Tony Breed, Patrick Brower, Jeffrey Brown, Scott Bufis, Kevin Budnik, Andy Burkholder, Lauren Burke, Ryan Burns, Dal Bush, Tyrell Cannon, Scott Cederlund, Mike Centeno, Kelsey Choo, Sage Coffey, Jacq Cohen, Heather Colby, Paul Courtright, Gabi Cracraft, Kitty Curran, MK Czerwiec, Matt Davis, Vanessa DellaMorte, Nick Drnaso, Raphael Espinoza, Joshua Farnum, Susan Farnum, Sarah Ferrick, Adam Fotos, Elliott Franklin, Tim Gagne, Marnie Galloway, Michael Gebel, Megan Rose Gedris, Terry Gant, Henry Guerra, Tim Gurnig, Christine Gutierrez, Corinne Halbert, Cathy Hannah, Paul Helfen, Erik Huntoon, KT Hawbaker-Krohn, Beth Hetland, Clay Hickson, Amber Huff, Emily Hutchings, Nick Jackson, Forrest Jove, Gene Kannenberg, Tom Kaczynski, Megan Kirby, Eric Kirsammer, Sean Kleefeld, Alex Kostiw, Chad Kouri, Anne Koyama, Beck Kramer, Davey Krofta, Yewon Kwon, Matthew Landvogt, Angee Lennard, Sheika Lugtu, Sacha Lusk, Darick Maasen and Grotesque Burlesque, Ben Marcus, Ed Marsziewski, Liz Mason, Ian McDuffie, Todd McGill-Rusynyk, Bernie McGovern, Caitlin McGurk, Tom McHenry, Duncan McKenzie, Sophie McMahan, Megan Metzger, Rebecca Mir Grady, Johnny Misfit, Max Morris, Corinne Mucha, Sara Murphy, Alex Nall, Pranas T. Naujokaitis, Samuel Nigrosh, Alicia Obermeyer, Molly Colleen O’Connell, Kyle O’Connell, Sarah O’Neill, Turtel Onli, Onsmith, Laura Park, Andy Pates, Anna Pederson, Travis Pedroza, Chloë Perkis, Caroline Picard, George Porteus, Ashly Powley, Jason Price, Josh Reinwald, Andy Rench, Keiler Roberts, Scott Roberts, Eric Roesner, Brad Rohloff, Isabella Rotman, Marian Runk, Johnny Sampson, Erik Schneider, Emily Schulert, Chad Sell, Bobby Sims, Alyson Sinclair, Harrison Smith-Mooney, Dena Springer, Conor Stechschulte, Tyler Stoltenberg, Wesley Sun, Sam Szabo, Joe Tallarico, Lizzy Tiritilli, Hiromi Ueyoshi, Manuel Velasco, Sarah Wenzel, Emme Williams, Gina Wynbrandt, Jessi Zabarsky, Larissa Zageris, the Zwirek family (Emily, Van, Asa, and Sydney), and of course all the special guests, panel participants and workshop leaders, exhibitors, volunteers, sponsors, and attendees.


Farewell to Friends

June 3, 2017

CAKE would like to thank our emeritus organizers who stepped down in 2016:

A jack-of-all-trades, Ben Bertin served as an organizer from 2014 to 2016, focusing on show logistics and support. He tackled all his tasks, even the most thankless, with excellence and enthusiasm to make the show the best it could be. Ben’s good nature and connections to the community were crucial to the success of CAKE; he always knew just the right person to recruit for much-needed help. Since he stepped down to plan a cross-country move, we have missed his intelligence, wit, and sensitivity. We thank Ben for everything he’s done for the festival and wish him well in his future ventures.

CAKE co-founder Max Morris stepped down in 2016 from his important role as show organizer, and this truly marked the end of an era. Since the show’s beginnings, Max worked tirelessly to design, plan, and promote events; craft panels and workshops; and connect CAKE with the rest of Chicago’s arts communities. The public face of the festival for so many in Chicago, and a large part of its soul for those of us who have helped make CAKE, Max’s energy and profound dedication to artistic excellence are hard to match. We thank Max for his outstanding work on the show over the years, as well as his dedication to comics and art more generally in Chicago.

An organizer since before CAKE even had a name, Jeff Zwirek has been an indispensable resource for the festival. From postering, print logistics, and art direction to creating our sponsorship platform and shaping our methods and practices, Jeff has worked tirelessly to make CAKE the equal of any comics festival in the world. Although he will still be an instrumental part of the show, in 2016 he stepped back from being a core organizer, so we want to take this moment to thank him for his commitment, his talent, and his genuine, authentic passion for comics. Always patient, always friendly, and always conscious of the big picture, CAKE owes so much to Jeff, and we thank him for all he has done.


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.

Comics That Kiss Better: CAKE and European Comics Chicago Party!

June 2, 2017

Thursday, June 22 at 7 PM – 9 PM
Sector 2337 + The Green Lantern Press – 2337 N Milwaukee Ave

Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE) and the French Comics Association, with Europe Comics and Sector 2337 + The Green Lantern Press, host a FREE cross-cultural celebration with drinks, drawings, and Bande Dessinée.

Welcome European Cartoonists to the Windy City: Guy Delisle, Marguerite Abouet, Jérémie Royer, David Etien, Teresa Radice & Stefano Turconi with Chicago-land favorites Ivan Brunetti and Keiler Roberts

Live readings of projected comics, emcee’d by Aaron Renier, plus book-signings, (cash) bar, and the chance to chat with incredible international artists. Bring your sketchbook. Mingle with French and European publishing professionals and the CAKE community.

Learn more

Two Cookie Minimum Starts its 7th Season!

June 2, 2017

Tuesday, June 6 at 8 PM – 11 PM
CHI PRC – 858 N Ashland Ave

Have a Ball as Chicago reading series stalwart Two Cookie Minimum is celebrates its seventh season with cookies and all things self-published. The first of its four zine- and comic-friendly summer readings will take place on Tuesday June 6, at Chicago Publishers Resource Center (CHI PRC 858 N. Ashland Ave).

Special guest and CHIPRC/ Transit Residency (TRANSIT) Artist in Residence Célia Marquis (illustrator and zinester) will be visiting from Montreal, Canada. Joining her will be Chicagoans, Yewon Kwon (comics artist), Alenka Figa (journalist), Rebecca Mir Grady (comics artist), and Amy Giacalone (writer).

All readings are open to the public. The $5 cover benefits CHIPRC. Doors open at 8pm. Get there early to grab a seat. And as always, cookies will be provided. The full summer reading schedule will be posted on the series blog.

Two Cookie Minimum is a reading series that aims to bring together writers and self-publishers. It gives emerging writers a forum and showcases the Chicago zine community. For more information visit the TCM blog at

Panel: Fantagraphics 40th Anniversary

June 1, 2017

June 10th, 3:00–4:00 p.m. Fantagraphics 40th Anniversary Spotlight

Since its founding in 1976 by Gary Groth and Mike Catron (who were joined a year later by Kim Thompson), Fantagraphics has been changing the landscape of comics. In addition to championing work by many of the greatest alternative cartoonists of all time, such as Dan Clowes, the Hernandez Brothers, Carol Tyler, and many more, Fantagraphics has issued comics reprints that archive the history of the medium that might otherwise have been lost and has provided, in The Comics Journal, a venue for critical inquiry into the form long before comics studies was an academic discipline. We Told You So: Comics As Art collects the oral history of this influential company, assembled by comics historian and critic Tom Spurgeon (with co-author Michael Dean). Spurgeon, the editor and founder of the award-winning Comics Reporter website and festival director of Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, will present a slideshow outlining the history of Fantagraphics and its position in the alternative comics movement. He will be joined by cartoonists Ivan Brunetti (Schizo, Misery Loves Comedy), Anya Davidson (Band For Life) and Noah Van Sciver (Disquiet, Saint Cole).

This panel is sponsored by Fantagraphics.

Panel: Place as Character

June 1, 2017

June 11th, 3:00–4:00 p.m. Place as Character

According to an old maxim, all cartoonists lavish attention on either their characters or their settings, but not both. The work of Emil Ferris, Sophie Goldstein, Laura Knetzger, and Mita Mahato give the lie to this assertion because, in their comics, place is itself a character. Through the use of highly rendered drawings that overtake the page (Ferris), dense cut-paper landscapes (Mahato), a forest that represents the joy and mystery of discovery and growth (Knetzger) or deadly and deceptively destitute dystopias (Goldstein), these artists make their stories’ settings come alive. They are joined in conversation by moderator Rob Clough, a comics critic who writes primarily for The Comics Journal and High-Low.  This panel is sponsored by Blick.

Workshop: My So-Called Cartoon Life

June 1, 2017

June 10th, 12:00–1:00 p.m.  My So-Called Cartoon Life: Alter Egos with Celia Marquis

Comics is a great medium for telling personal stories, be they funny, contemplative, or traumatic. In comics narratives, authors’ alter egos may resemble them physically and/or psychologically, but they may also possess traits that their makers don’t have or that are exaggerated for various reasons. Join TRANSIT recipient Celia Marquis, a Montreal-based cartoonist, as she guides you through the process she uses to  develop her own alter egos and then leads you through exercises to conceptualize your own.  This workshop is sponsored by Cream Wine.