CAKE Art Auction Special Thanks

May 13, 2017By Jon MastantuonoBenefit, CAKE, Comics Around Town No Comments

On April 21, 2017, CAKE hosted our fifth annual Art Auction fundraiser at 826chi. The event was a great success, and we would like to thank many people and institutions who helped make this year’s event so memorable.

826chi was a wonderful venue who was super accommodating and nice to us. Special thanks to our contact Tyler!

Ian McDuffie and their assistant Brad Rohloff were the perfect auctioneers, generously donating their time and talents.

Blick Art MaterialsRevolution Brewing and Cream Wine Distributors sponsored our event.  They were all easy to work with and we are so thankful for their generosity.

We were so lucky to have Mike Centeno, Beth Hetland & Kyle O’Connell give incredible readings. Thank you!

Thank you so much to the amazing artists who donated: Chester Brown, Josh Cotter, Nick Drnaso, Mike Freiheit, Henry Guerra, Corinne Halbert, Sammy Harkham, Kevin Huizenga, Jesse Jacobs, Ed Luce, Leigh Luna, Alex Nall, Gary Panter, Laura Park and John Porcellino, John Pham, Keiler Roberts, Isabella Rotman,  Johnny Sampson, Leslie Stein, Joe Tallarico, Hiromi Ueyoshi, Carrie Vinarsky, Lale Westvind!!!

Thank you to Davey Krofta, who tended bar. Special thanks for everyone who volunteered for CAKE at the event:  Matt Brady, Neil Brideau, Mike Freiheit, Corinne Halbert, Chris Lopez, Sara Murphy, Amy Peltz, Anne Marie Sticksel, and Jeff Zwirek,

And, finally, extra thanks to Mike Freiheit who drew our poster, programmed the readers, promoted the event, donated art, worked the door, found us a BASSETT-certified bartender, hung the silent auction, and,to top it all off, won the most expensive auction item. Thank you, Mike!!


CAKE Kick-off with Bell, Ferris, Knisley and Trotman!

May 12, 2017By Mike FreiheitCAKE, Comics Around Town No Comments

Chicago Alternative Comics (CAKE) Kick-off with Gabrielle Bell, Emil Ferris, Lucy Knisley and C. Spike Trotman

Friday, June 9 at 7 PM – 10 PM
Quimby’s Bookstore
1854 W North Ave, Chicago, Illinois 60622

Gabrielle Bell, Emil Ferris, Lucy Knisley and C. Spike Trotman read from their recent work as a kick-off for the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE), happening on June 10th & 11th at the Center on Halsted.

Gabrielle Bell was born in London, England and raised in California.  She is the author of six books, including The Voyeurs, Truth is Fragmentary and most recently, Everything is Flammable (Uncivilized). She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Emil Ferris is the author of My Favorite Thing Is Monsters – Part 1 (Fantagraphics) Emil is also a painter, writer, illustrator and sculptor for the toy industry.

Lucy Knisley is an award-winning comic artist and author who specializes in personal, confessional comics that deal with memory, travel, family and traditions. Her latest graphic novel, Something New; Tales from a Makeshift Bride (First Second), deals with her struggle to modernize and equalize her 2004 wedding, and the meaning behind many matrimonial traditions.

Spike Trotman was born in DC, grew up in MD, and lives in IL, with a dog and a man. She’s the founder of Iron Circus Comics, Chicago’s biggest alt-press publisher, responsible for strange and amazing books such Poorcraft, the Smut Peddler series and more.

Learn more at our Facebook event –

CAKE Street Team Pizza Party

May 12, 2017By Jon MastantuonoCAKE, Comics Around Town, Uncategorized No Comments

Tuesday, May 23 at 7 PM – 9 PM
Dimo’s Pizza Wicker Park
1615 N Damen Ave


Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE) needs help getting out the word that our expo is back at Center on Halsted this June 10 and 11. Please join CAKE’s organizers for FREE PIZZA! We’ll have posters, and you can participate in two ways:

1. Pick up a bundle of CAKE posters and agree to hang them in your neighborhood, and post a photo with the hashtag #CAKE2017, OR

2. If you picked up posters from us at Chicago Zine Fest or some other time and place, post a photo of the poster in the world on social media with the hashtag #CAKE2017

In past years this has been a great chance to volunteers to catch up with food and a short low-key weeknight hang. It’s fun, and we really appreciate any help you can give us postering the city.

Learn more at our facebook event

CAKE 2017 – Maximalism Panel!

May 11, 2017By Mike FreiheitCAKE, Exhibitors, Programming, Special Guests No Comments

Maximalism Panel

Jesse Jacobs, Ron Regé, Jr, Lale Westvind, and Marnie Galloway address different subject matter in their books, but their work expresses a similar horror vacui: all fill the entirety of their pages with intricate detail. And although nature may abhor a vacuum, comics is often described as a combination of poetry and graphic design, a definition that would appear to set it in direct opposition to a maximalist aesthetic. This panel discussion, moderated by Galloway, will address what drives these four artists to work in their distinctive styles and how their approaches affect the kinds of stories that they tell.

This panel is sponsored by Busy Beaver.

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. – Saturday, June 10th at CAKE 2017!

CAKE 2017 Workshop – Professional FUNdamentals!

May 11, 2017By Mike FreiheitCAKE, Exhibitors, Programming, Special Guests No Comments

Professional FUNdamentals Workshop

Do you have a project you’ve been waiting to get off the ground? Do you have friends, colleagues, coworkers, and family members who are your superfans? What does it take to turn that passion for your work into profit? Hear from creators Kevin Budnik and C. Spike Trotman about their experiences in successfully supporting their projects and themselves. This professional-development workshop will give you the resources, knowledge, and inspiration, so you’ll just need to add the elbow grease!

This workshop is sponsored by 826 Chi and Half Wit Coffee.

3:00-4:00 p.m. – SATURDAY, JUNE 10TH at CAKE 2017!

Thanks to CAKE’s Sponsors!

May 8, 2017By Matt BradyCAKE No Comments

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 spotlight some of these sponsors, and we encourage you to support them!

Busy Beaver Button Company

Since its beginnings in 1995, Busy Beaver Button Co. has gone from a one-woman operation in Christen Carter’s college apartment to a company with fifteen employees. Over the last 20 years, the Busy Beaver crew has overseen over 60,000 designs and produced millions upon millions of custom buttons for clients like Brooklyn Brewery, NBC Entertainment, The Art Institute of Chicago, Threadless, and WordPress, as well as thousands of bands, non-profits, small businesses and other great folks.

Quimby’s Books

Quimby’s is an independently owned bookstore that sells independently-published and small press books, comics, zines and ephemera. We favor the unusual, the aberrant, the saucy and the lowbrow.

Spudnik Press

Founded on the premise that art should be a democratic and empowering medium, Spudnik Press Cooperative is committed to being an approachable and affordable print shop; a space where professional printmakers merge with aspiring students; a space that encourages collaboration and the sharing of ideas.

At Spudnik Press, artists create and use printed materials to further culture and engage with their community. Through sharing materials, equipment, and studio space, artists are also sharing technical skills, practical knowledge, and creative processes. By pooling resources and creative problem solving, artists at Spudnik Press are able to create a space that is beyond the means of solo emerging artists.

By extending our programming to include exhibitions, classes, free workshops, and drawing groups, we are able to reach beyond the print community and engage with the community as a whole.

Museum of Science and Industry

The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago—one of the largest science museums in the world—is home to more than 400,000 square feet of hands-on exhibits designed to spark scientific inquiry and creativity.


826CHI (“eight-two-six Chicago”) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting students ages six to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write. Our services are structured around the understanding that great leaps in learning can happen with individualized attention, and that strong writing skills are fundamental to future success. 


CHIRP is a volunteer-driven, online community radio station that focuses on music, arts, and culture. We are live and local every day of the year from 6am-midnight from our studios in Chicago’s North Center neighborhood, and the city we live in is a key part of everything we do. CHIRP Radio plays a wide mix of local, independent, lesser-heard, and just generally good music from a variety of genres and eras. CHIRP DJs are true music fans who love to share their discoveries, new and old, with listeners. The station also features conversations with artists, activists, and other people doing interesting work, and our features department produces pieces highlighting Chicago’s diverse voices and stories. The station has been awarded a broadcast license Listen now at:

Halfwit Coffee

Founded in 2012, Halfwit Coffee was created as a way to provide baristas and consumers alike with a panoramic understanding of coffee, from the first leaf to the final sip. Halfwit started as the brainchild of the team at The Wormhole Coffee, a café in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago. From inception until now, we have sought to discover ways to combine the world of coffee science with the arts of service and hospitality.  Our goal is to learn about and celebrate the beauty and complexity we find in one of the world’s most unique beverages, and we do that by providing expertly roasted, seasonal coffees, industry leading training, and a competitive equipment program. Building on a foundation of knowledge from diverse perspectives, our quality stays consistent but current, with a local focus in an industry that is globally connected. We take it slow, never letting growth be our defining goal and listening to the needs of our existing customers first. And we keep it fun, because no one should take themselves – or their coffee – too seriously.

Challengers Comics

Challengers Comics + Conversation was opened on March 31, 2008 by Patrick Brower and W. Dal Bush. Since then, they’ve been honored not just to be the recipients of awards like Best Comics Shop (Chicago Reader, 2010) and the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award (2013), but to be the local comics shop of some enthusiastic comics fans.

Perfectly Acceptable Press

A very small Risograph printing studio and publishing house in Chicago, IL. Perfectly Acceptable is run by Matt Davis. Printing is done with a Risograph RZ 990. The Risograph is a duplicator manufactured by Riso Kagaku Corporation in Japan. It works like a mimeograph, using a stencil wrapped around a drum coated in ink. The drum rolls over paper fed through the machine, creating an impression.

Risograph printing is extremely efficient, fast, and cost-effective. The Risograph was designed for medium volume printing (50 to 5000 copies), and proves one of the most economical choices against duplicators at such quantities. One only needs to take a peek at what’s being done with Risographs now-a-days to understand the possibilities.

Revolution Brewing

Revolution Brewing is Illinois’ largest craft brewery. Our brewpub in Chicago’s Logan Square is a bustling, neighborhood institution where friends and families meet to enjoy the freshest beer in town. Opening our brewery has been a labor of love. We think you can see that in everything we do ranging from the details of our carved fists holding up our mahogany bar to the pungent hop aroma of our Anti-Hero IPA to our creative dishes like our bacon-fat popcorn.

The growth of craft breweries in the U.S. has been nothing short of a revolution and we’re proud to be standing tall in this new crowd. The changing tastes of beer drinkers demand bigger flavors and more variety. That’s exactly what we give you at Revolution Brewing. Our brewpub produces about 50 different beer styles each year. We’ve got session beers like Workingman Mild, hop-bombs like Double Fist and more bourbon barrel aged beers than you can shake a stave at. We have fun doing what we do and invite you to come in and join us.


Located in Logan Square, our brewpub is a bustling meeting place for our diverse community and for beer enthusiasts from across Chicago and beyond. Just a few years ago, we turned a dark, dusty warehouse into a welcoming destination for great craft beer. Barrel wood walls and benches made from 100-year old beams salvaged during construction make our space warm and cozy as do our two hardwood bars. Our friendly staff are happy to share what’s new on tap or our latest brunch specials!


Open 7 days a week
Mon-Fri: 11am-1am
Sat: 10am-1am
Sun: 10am-1am
Sorry, we do not accept dining reservations.


2323 N. Milwaukee Ave. Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 227-2739

Dimo’s Pizza

Dimo’s exists as a for-profit hospitality organization that champions unity, development and justice for our guests, our team and our communities in order to lead the charge in creating a positive, long-lasting impact.  We see pizza as our crispy, chewy, edible passion – a platform on which we can imagine all our culinary ambitions. And we believe that our pizza can only be as relevant, radical and creative as the people who make it, support it and love it. As a people-centric company, every decision we make comes from our employees and stakeholders.

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

Upcoming Events: CAKE’s Annual Art Auction and a Drink And Draw Fundraiser!

April 14, 2017By Matt BradyCAKE No Comments

If you’re in the Chicago area, we’ve got a couple fundraising events coming up that you won’t want to miss:

CAKE’s Annual Art Auction

Friday, April 21
7:00 PM
Taking place at 826CHI, located at 1276 N. Milwaukee, Chicago

A live and silent auction to benefit the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE). Bid on art from the luminaries of Chicago’s comics scene! Admission is $10, or $15 with one drink and one raffle ticket.

Featuring original auction pieces by:

Chester Brown
John Pham
Laura Park and John Porcellino
Nick Drnaso
Ed Luce
Sammy Harkham
Leslie Stein
Kevin Huizinga
Leigh Luna
Kevin Czap
Joe Tallerico
Josh Cotter
Alec Longstreth
Carrie Vinarsky
Lale Westvind
Ted May

and more!

Join the event on Facebook.

CAKE Drink And Draw Brunch

Sunday, April 30
1:00-4:00 PM
Taking place at the Empty Bottle, located at 1035 N. Western Ave, Chicago

Chicago Alternative Comics Expo cordially invites you to our annual Drink and Draw! This years soiree will take place at the Empty Bottle, one of our favorite venues. CAKE will be supplying sketch books and drawing materials, but please feel free to bring your own art supplies as well. Admission is $5.00. There will be drinking and drawing, live performances by local cartoonists, and a prize raffle! All of the proceeds will benefit CAKE. We really hope to see you there!

Join the event on Facebook or purchase advance tickets.

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