Special Guest Announcement: Deb Sokolow

April 25, 2013

We are so excited to announce Deb Sokolow will be a special guest at the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo, June 15 & 16 2013!

Deb Sokolow’s art combines a penchant for drawing diagrams with an outsider’s cautiously curious view of the world around her. Overheard conversations, observed facts, suspicions and guesswork accumulate in a fractured story, told with flow charts, maps, and Xeroxed images rather than smooth narrative transitions. Like a conspiracy theory, Sokolow’s drawings assemble enough arguments and facts to impart a sense of a deep logical connection, but determining the presence of truth is left to the viewer-who is pulled into the work by Sokolow’s use of the second-person pronoun “you” to refer to her protagonist. To a skeptic, the character’s subjective train of thought appears to unravel and become paranoid, falling prey to delusional fantasies about Hollywood-caricature pirates and drug kingpins. There is a chilling sense of witnessing a mind losing its hold on reality.
-Brian Droitcour, curator’s essay for “Big Reality”, 2012

Deb Sokolow’s 2013 solo show, “Deb Sokolow/MATRIX 166: Some Concerns About the Candidate” at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, CT was reviewed in The New York Times. Other solo museum shows include The Kemper Museum in Kansas City; The Spertus Museum of Art, Chicago; a 12 x 12 show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago; the Abrons Art Center in New York City; INOVA in Milwaukee; and The Moore College of Art in Philadelphia. She’s been included in group shows at the Van Abbemuseum in The Netherlands; Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Arizona; Smart Museum in Chicago; Voorkamer in Belgium; and Invisible-Exports in New York City. Upcoming group shows include The Drawing Center in New York City and the Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen, Germany. Sokolow’s work is in the permanent collections of the Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art in Arizona, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Spertus Museum in Chicago and The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction in Bloomington, Indiana. Her work has been written about in Artforum.com, Art in America.com, The New York Times, Artnet, Art Papers, Art on Paper, Artslant, Beautiful Decay, Dagens Nyheter, The Kansas City Star, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, The Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Magazine, New City, Timeout Chicago, and Jettison Quarterly and she will be included in Phaidon’s upcoming VITAMIN D2 hardcover survey of contemporary drawing practices. She is a 2010 resident of the Art Omi International Artists Residency and a 2012 recipient of an Artadia Chicago grant. She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2004 and lives and works in Chicago. Deb Sokolow is represented by Western Exhibitions, Chicago.

Deb was featured in this article from Art In Print: http://tinyurl.com/artaftergraphicnovels

We are really excited about the way Deb’s work bends and reshapes the way we think about comics. Her installations are an exhilarating and unique approach to sequential narrative format and eloquently bridge the worlds of comics and fine art. We are so thrilled to have her be part of this year’s festival – one that is shaping up to be all about rethinking boundaries and redefining what comics can become.

Check out all of our guests & exhibitors who will be participating at CAKE, June 15 & 16!

Special Guest Announcement: Collective Stench!

April 22, 2013

We are wicked excited to announce Collective Stench will be a special guest at the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo, June 15 & 16 2013!

The Collective Stench is a group of friends who met at school in Providence, RI, and shared the love for bone-crushing comics. They now frequently table together at comics festivals, show together at art shows, and engage in other collaborative activities. Most of them are based in the greater New York area, with a few additional members in Providence, DC, Philadelphia, Austin, and The Bay area.

We’re really excited about the density and diversity of Collective Stench’s output – from their onslaught of vibrant anthologies to their constant stream of amazing zines and minicomics- the way the Stench fluidly moves between individual and group efforts is shaping and inspiring the graphic language and working format of comics today.

They even have TWO websites!


In attendance at CAKE, will be:
Tom Toye
Leah Wishnia
KJ Martinet
Tim Beckhardt
Sophia Foster-Dimino
Alison Dubois
Laura Perez-Harris
Possibly More!

There are more special guests announcements to come! Check out all of our guests & exhibitors who will be participating at CAKE, June 15 & 16!

Special Guest Announcement: Kim Deitch!

March 4, 2013

We couldn’t be more excited to announce Kim Deitch will be a special guest at the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo, June 15 & 16 2013!

Kim Deitch has a reserved place at the first table of underground cartoonists. The son of UPA and Terrytoons animator Gene Deitch, Kim was born in 1944 and grew up around the animation business. He began doing comic strips for the East Village Other in 1967, introducing two of his more famous characters, Waldo the Cat and Uncle Ed, the India Rubber Man. In 1969 he succeeded Vaughn Bodé as editor of Gothic Blimp Works, the Other’s underground comics tabloid. During this period he married fellow cartoonist Trina Robbins and had a daughter, Casey. “The Mishkin Saga” was named one of the Top 30 best English-language comics of the 20th Century by The Comics Journal, and the first issue of The Stuff of Dreams received the Eisner Award for Best Single Issue in 2003. Deitch remains a true cartoonists’ cartoonist, adored by his peers as much as anyone in the history of the medium.

For decades, Kim has illuminated readers with his incisive, beautiful, and galvanizing work. Not only is he a respected presence in the world of underground comics, he is one of its progenitors. Kim’s work paved the way for hundreds of young cartoonists to follow, and as he continues to put out work, he remains an inspiration to many of us.

There are a few more special guests to be announced soon! Stay tuned!

Special Guest Announcement: Phoebe Gloeckner!

February 22, 2013

We are very excited to announce Phoebe Gloeckner will be a special guest at the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo, June 15 & 16 2013!

Phoebe Gloeckner is a graphic novelist. Her book, The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2002), was praised as “one of the most brutally honest, shocking, tender, beautiful portrayals of growing up female in America.” Cartoonist R. Crumb called her story, Minnie’s Third Love (published in A Child’s Life and Other Stories) one of the “comicbook masterpieces of all time.”

Her books have been published in multiple languages and her artwork has been exhibited in galleries and museums across the United States and Europe.

In 2008, Gloeckner was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship to continue work on an on-going project centering on the life of the family of a murdered teenager living in Ciudad Juárez, several hundred feet from the US-Mexico border. Throughout and preceeding the escalation and gradual recession of the current period of intense violence in the city (3,200+ homicides in 2010), Gloeckner has been observing the evolution of the family, the case of their daughter’s murder, and the neighborhood they live in. The end product of this process will be several novels.

Gloeckner has long experimented with the form of the novel- Diary is a hybrid of prose and graphic novel, and her current projects will incorporate various media (audio, motion, and static) with text. The challenge is to create an electronic “multi-touch” book offering a “seamless” reading experience, a work that feels to be of one piece (the whole, greater than the sum of its parts) rather than an “enhanced” novel with multi-media annotations and side matter. She is working concurrently on printed versions of these books.

For decades, Phoebe has illuminated readers with her incisive, beautiful, and challenging work, giving voice to struggles and narratives that are often silenced. Through the years, she has become a respected presence in the world of underground comics, and we are honored to have her as a featured exhibitor in this year’s line-up.

There are more special guests to be announced soon! Stay tuned!

The CAKE 2013 Application is CLOSED!

January 8, 2013

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!

Application Deadline Extended to January 7th

January 3, 2013

CAKE Applications Extended Through January 7th!

We’ve received nearly 300 applications from all over the US, as well as Canada, and the United Kingdom!

If you missed the January 1st deadline to apply for CAKE, don’t fret! We want to give you the opportunity to get your application in for the 2013 Chicago Alternative Comics Expo, June 15 & 16th.

We have big plans for a great weekend celebrating alternative comics in one of the medium’s hot beds of creativity. We’ll have a whole weekend of programming, ranging from panels to film screenings, as well as 14 hours of tabling. If you want to be a part of the action, we strongly recommend you apply! Whether you’ve been publishing comics for decades or are finishing up your first mini, we think you should apply.

The individual and group applications will come down around 9pm CST on January 7th. When they’re down, they’re down. Tell yer friends!

Special Guest Announcement: Oily Comics!

December 27, 2012

We are super psyched to announce Oily Comics will be a special guest at the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo, June 15 & 16 2013!

OILY COMICS is a micro publisher of mini comics and zines.

Charles Forsman (B:Mechanicsburg, PA, 1982) graduated from The Center for Cartoon Studies in 2008. That same year he won 2 Ignatz awards for his series Snake Oil. He lives in Massachusetts where he runs a micro press called Oily Comics. Fantagraphics Books will release The End of the Fucking World and Celebrated Summer in the second half of 2013.

Melissa Mendes is the author of Freddy Stories, a Xeric-Award winning all-ages graphic novel. She also received her MFA from The Center for Cartoon Studies in 2010, does comic-making workshops for kids, has been an art teacher, and is currently illustrating a chapter book for Roaring Brook Press. She also draws a monthly comic book called Lou published by Oily Comics. Melissa lives in Hancock, MA.

Oily Comics is gearing up to become an influential small-publisher of the Decade, with a stable of hardworking cartoonists coming up with strong work in an exciting format. Oily displays a strong dedication to craft and independent publication in the independent American underground, especially in a place where there are so many nay-sayers and track-jackers.

There are more special guests announcements to come! CAKE’s application is open through January 1st. If you make alternative comics, we strongly encourage you to apply!
Individual Application
Small Press Publisher/Distro/Collective Application

Special Guest Announcement: Jason Shiga!

December 20, 2012

We are thrilled to announce Jason Shiga will be a special guest at the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo, June 15 & 16 2013!

Jason Shiga graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a degree in pure mathematics and his comics often incorporate puzzles, mazes and unconventional narrative techniques. He is the creator of the world’s second largest interactive comic, spanning 25 square feet and the author of over 20 comic books including Fleep, Bookhunter, Meanwhile and Empire State. He lives in Oakland, California.

Jason has garnered many fans from his mad-scientist book-making abilities seen in books like the choose-your-own-adventure comic, Meanwhile, and countless minicomic inventions. His story telling skills also touch readers, as they mix problem solving with a great deal of emotion.

There are more special guests to be announced soon! CAKE’s application is open through January 1st. If you make alternative comics, we strongly encourage you to apply!
Individual Application
Small Press Publisher/Distro/Collective Application

Special Guest Announcement: Michael DeForge!

December 13, 2012

We’re excited to announce Michael DeForge will be a special guest at the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo, June 15 & 16 2013!

Michael DeForge lives in Toronto and works as a cartoonist and illustrator. His series Lose is published annually by Koyama Press. His web strip Ant Comic is serialized weekly and will be collected into a graphic novel by Drawn and Quarterly upon its completion.

In the past few years, Michael’s work has become a massive presence in the world of underground comics, coupled with an inhuman yield of production in the worlds of illustration and animation. Michael’s work has a large following in Chicago, with his comics flying off the shelves at independent bookstores, and his presence was a highlight at CAKE last year. We’re very excited to have him involved.

We’ll be announcing more special guests in the next few weeks. CAKE’s application is open through January 1st. If you make alternative comics, we strongly encourage you to apply!
Individual Application
Small Press Publisher/Distro/Collective Application


November 12, 2012

CAKE 2013 Individual Exhibitor Application
CAKE 2013 Small Press/Collective/Distro Application

All Interested Independent and Alternative Comic Artists and Publishers Encouraged to Apply

As of November 12, 2012, the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE) exhibitor application is available at www.cakechicago.com. All interested independent and alternative comic artists and publishers are encouraged to apply. The deadline for registration is January 1, 2013.

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.

In June 2012, Chicago hosted its first alternative comics expo in over 16 years. Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE) gathered 200 local, national, and international artists and publishers and more than 800 attendees for a weekend of book debuts, conversation, and art exhibition. Following its debut show, CAKE organizers began working on CAKE 2013, taking into consideration feedback provided by attendees and exhibitors alike.

CAKE will continue as a two-day curated event that is free to the public, at a new location at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted, in the Lake View neighborhood of Chicago, scheduled for the weekend of June 15-16, 2013. Mark your calendars now!

CAKE is a curated show, alternative comics creators of all experience level are strongly encouraged to apply within the eight-week window between November 12, 2012 and January 1, 2013. Applications will be reviewed by a jury consisting of CAKE organizers and auxiliary committee members. Terms, conditions, and submission instructions provided in the application form should clarify any questions. Any further inquiries should be directed to cakexpo@gmail.com.

CAKE 2013 Individual Exhibitor Application
CAKE 2013 Small Press/Collective/Distro Application