CAKE receives Propeller Fund Grant!

November 12, 2012

We’re really excited to announce we have received a grant from the Propeller Fund! The $6,000 grant was presented to the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo at the MDW Fair on Friday, November 9. CAKE was one of fifteen self-organized groups to receive a grant during this cycle.

This grant is a great development, as it will allow us to organize a better festival. Not only can we pay for our basic needs of a space, tables and supplies, but we can also increase our funding to our special guests. We can also devote more of our budget to promotion and advertising, to draw a larger audience to this year’s expo.

We started the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo with $0, and through strong attention to our budget, and generous support from the alternative comics community, we were able to put on a successful show, and ended with a balance of $1,000 for 2013. The Propeller Fund grant allows us to become even more economically sustainable, so we can continue to grow while keeping our table costs low and admission free!

We would like to thank the Propeller Fund, its organizers, and this year’s jury. Big ups to Grace and Edie for spearheading the application!

Lale Westvind’s paintings

October 8, 2012

While mindlessly surfing the Internet, I am always pleased to come across familiar names and faces. My dreary Monday took a pleasant turn when I found myself looking at paintings by Lale Westvind, who debuted Hot Dog Beach #2 at CAKE this past June (and won Promising New Talent at SPX 2012 — congrats!).

There is a beautiful, murky earthiness to these paintings — a palpable sense of space and time. I especially liked this one:

I love Lale’s comics, and it was fascinating for me to see her paintings. Go here to see them for yourself, and then go check out Lale’s comics here.




‘Mazing Minis with Zettwoch!

October 2, 2012

2012 Cake Exhibitor Dan Zettwoch has been putting out some incredible work for a long time. I just picked up a couple of his new minis at SPX; Red bird #2, and Te-Tales #1. Each new Zettwoch comic is always packed to the gills in cool fold outs and labeled cross sections that will make your eyeballs pop. He’s also a silk screening maniac, and each cover is an example of his great eye for detail and his unique design sensibility.
Also be sure to buy his graphic novel, Birdseye Bristoe and keep up with Dan’s newest wonders and oddities at his blog.

Thanks for a Great Weekend!

June 25, 2012
Special Guest John Porcellino at CAKE, photo by Andrew Stamm (

Whew! Here we are, with CAKE a week behind us. We want to thank exhibitors, publishers and visitors for joining us at CAKE this year. We learned a lot this first time ‘round, and we also had a good time. It was great to meet new people and to see old friends, and exhilarating on all the incredible comic books.

If you want to re-live CAKE, check out The Comics Reporter’s collective memory of CAKE. We started a Flickr pool here, where you can post your photos, and you can also find a photo gallery of CAKE here. We also have audio and video footage from programming, which we plan to get online soon – stay tuned.

Real Life, a round table on Women and Graphic Autobiography, photo by Andrew Stamm (

We’ve been reading exhibitor, publisher, and visitor reviews of the weekend as they pop up on websites and blogs, and we want to thank them for their kind words and their honesty. As we begin working on CAKE 2013, we will take your comments and suggestions into consideration. We hope that you continue to give us feedback on this year’s event. Please feel free to email us with your thoughts at

Thank you to Jill Summers and Mairead Case at Columbia College for their immeasurable help. Thank you to our sponsors who helped us make CAKE possible. Thank you to the exhibitors and publishers who took a chance on a first time show. And thank you to everyone who came out last weekend to buy books and check out our programs.

photo by Bennett Goble

We will be updating the CAKE blog, Facebook page and Twitter, so be sure to follow us and help us promote CAKE for next year!

CAKE Debuts This Weekend!

June 16, 2012

The Chicago Alternative Comics Expo is taking place 11am – 6pm June 16 & 17, 2012!
CAKE (as it’s known around town) is on the 8th floor of 1104 S Wabash (Columbia College Chicago’s Ludington Building)!

CAKE is FREE and features over 200 talented comics creators and small-press publishers from all over North America, from hometown heroes to exotic Canadians (wooooooo)!

If you are looking for personalized story-telling, experimental art, humor comics, self-reflection and self-expression, and everything else in between -par excellence- CAKE is the place to be! Their contents’ depth and breadth are impressive, as is the count of over 25 comics which will be available for the first time (debuts).

And if 80 tables chocked full of the greatest comics being made today is not enough for you (jeesh, really?), our Slate of programming presents 14 events that range from conversation to presentation to demonstration to documentation. Yes! Let’s talk about vulgarity! Yes! Let’s talk about autobiography! Yes! Let’s talk about the history of comics in Chicago! Let’s investigate the relationship of the cousin media, Comics & Animation!

After 16 years, Chicago has an alternative comics festival again! Thanks to everyone who has made CAKE possible, we’re looking forward to a great weekend.

CAKE DEBUT: Miss Priss is Missing by Jay Fuller

June 16, 2012

Chicago native Jay Fuller is debuting the first ever, all original Boy in Pink Earmuffs mini comic at CAKE this weekend. When a neighborhood cat goes missing, 12 year old Danny calls in his boyfriend and fellow Super Sleuth J.J. to help solve the case. Whodunit? Find out in this 16 page, black and white tale of intrigue and goofy nonsense: “Miss Priss is Missing!”

Jay graduated from Boston University in 2008 where he drew the single panel comic “Depth Deception” for 3 years. His most recent work includes “Banapplenut,” an absurdist webcomic about three talking fruit marooned on a desert island, and “The Boy in Pink Earmuffs,” a loosely autobiographical webcomic about two boys who fall in love.

Visit Jay’s website, and pick up Miss Priss is Missing at Table 76 June 16 & 17th!

CAKE DEBUT: Galactic Zoo Dossier #9 by Plastic Crimewave

June 15, 2012

After three years the ‘hand-drawn psychedelic bible’ is back, leaving no stone unturned in the quest for mind-blowing illumination.

‘Galactic Zoo Dossier #9’ has over 100 pages on overlooked freak rock bands, heady comics and populist pop-psych.

Contributors include creator Plastic Crimewave, Byron Coley (The Wire), Eric Colin (Ugly Things / Shindig), Avi Spivak (Human Being Lawnmower) and Scott Wilkinson (Ugly Things, Endless Trip).

Contains Interviews with Arthur Brown, Black Widow, Poppy Family, Rodriguez and Mark Fry. Features on Egg & East Of Eden, Collectors & Folklords, Curtis Knight, John Berberian, Psyched Archie & Mad, Kirby, Texas psych scene, Kak, Moody Blues, White Witch.

Trading cards of damaged guitar gods and astral folk maidens, in full colour. The CD compilation contains unreleased and mind-frying sounds by Mainliner, Secter Syde, Ultima Thule, Mark Fry, Daze Of Night and The Light Company, amongst others.

Chicago-native Plastic Crimewave aka Steve Krakow is known for being a “psychedelic guru” of sorts, and is the creator of the Galactic Zoo Dossier, a hand-drawn magazine published by Drag City featured in Mojo, Spin, etc. He also runs the Galactic Zoo Disk reissue label imprint, draws/writes bi-weekly “info-strip” Secret History of Chicago Music for the Chicago Reader, has drawn numerous posters and album covers, books the MIllion Tongues festival, and conducts Celestial Guitarkestras (of up to 70 guitarists).
Since 2001, he’s headed up Plastic Crimewave Sound, a legendary space-punk ensemble Julian Cope described as “outtasite.” Crimewave also plays in the avant-prog trio Moonrises, ambient duo Solar Fox, and plays solo electric guitar ragas.

Pick up Galactic Zoo Dossier #9 at Table 6 June 16 & 17th!

CAKE DEBUT: Lurking/Nocturners by Conor Stechschulte

June 15, 2012

New 16pg. Book by Conor Stechschulte.
Words stolen from H.P. Lovecraft/Crepuscular wanderers passing twice through the xerox machine.

Conor Stechschulte lives and works in Baltimore Maryland. He is a member of Closed Caption Comics, the editor of the anthology Sock, and the author of the comic The Amateurs. Conor also co-founded the Open Space Gallery and plays guitar in the band Witch Hat

Visit Conor’s website, and pick up Lurking/Nocturners at Table 12 June 16 & 17th!

CAKE DEBUT: Apostrophe to the Ocean by Rebecca Grady Mir

June 15, 2012

Apostrophe to the Ocean is a much belated follow up to Rebecca’s earlier mini-comic I was born to be an explorer. It trails the explorer from her wanderings on the ice to the sea floor, as she encounters sea creatures of all kinds, and finds Amelia Earhart and her lost plane.

Offset color cover with b+w interior
40 pages
7 x 8.5 inch booklet

Rebecca Mir is a Chicagoan by way of Maine and Alaska. When she was too little to walk, she was pulled around on a sled by a german shepherd called Namer. These days she spends her days making ice floes and mountains, comic books about adventuring and earthly phenomenon, and mix tapes for the Ocean.

Visit Rebecca’s website, and pick up Apostrophe to the Ocean at Table 46 June 16 & 17th!

CAKE DEBUT: Futurdog by Roxanne Palmer

June 15, 2012

Futurdog is a science-fiction comic about a dog making his way from a weird, depressing wasteland into a weird, overwhelming metropolis. 24 pages, black and white.

Roxanne Palmer draws comics about leopard slug sex, murder, and other sorts of things under the not-really-pseudonym of Roxy Drew. By day, she’s a mild…ish-mannered science journalist, with works appearing in Slate, Nature Medicine, and the Science Creative Quarterly.

Visit Roxanne’s website, and pick up Futurdog at Table 15 June 16 & 17th!