The Chicago Alternative Comics Expo takes place this weekend, and the show really seems to have ramped it up to take its place among the big CAFs around the world. You can see all the debuts and info and events above but they sent along the programming, which I present as a sample of what to expect.
Chicago has an important heritage as an indie comics town, and CAKE is a great way to bring it forward.
Saturday, May 31st
Evolution of The Artist with Anya Davidson, Lizz Hickey, and Inés Estrada, Moderated by Max Morris
In a time of online social media and new methods of self-publishing, the role of the cartoonist has changed shapes and intentions from previous forms. In this panel, CAKE organizer Max Morris asks three Special Guests from the new generation of cartoonists what started them on the path of comics, and where that road is leading them. Inés Estrada is the editor of the comics section of Vice Mexico, manages the Gatosaurio webstore, but she has also worked with publications such as Kuš (Latvia), The Believer (US) and Ediciones Valientes (Spain.) Anya Davidson has published innumerable self-published books, and in 2013 her first graphic novel, School Spirits was published by Picturebox Inc. Lizz Hickey exists as a cartooning force to be reckoned with, with her book Jammers (Hic and Hoc) existing alongside a bevy of side-splitting-mind-melting self-published work. To join the Facebook event and share, click here!
This panel and Anya Davidson’s appearance at CAKE are sponsored by Print Ninja
Saturday, May 31st
Magikomix, Queer Comics, and Visionary Cartooning
Edie Fake, Eric Kostiuk Williams, Elisha Lim
Moderated by Brian Cremins
In this panel, artists Elisha Lim, Eric Kostiuk Williams, and Speical Guest Edie Fake will read short selections from their work and then discuss their innovations with narrative form. How have magic and the Magical shaped their sensibilities? Elisha Lim—cartoonist, filmmaker, Queer People of Color activist—describes their new Koyama Press collection 100 Crushes as “an excerpt of the most magical undertaking of my life,” one that began when a fortune teller advised them to “go back to doing what you loved as a child.” Edie Fake’s Ignatz Award-winning 2010 graphic novel Gaylord Phoenix is the adventure of a bird man who searches for his true self in an 8-bit universe of flaming creatures who often resemble Pamela Colman Smith’s Tarot card lovelies. And in his ongoing autobiographical series Hungry Bottom Comics, Eric Kostiuk Williams conjures with stories of Goldilocks charming the Three Bears, Jean Genet crooning Rihanna’s “Birthday Cake,” and a young apprentice making a pilgrimage to Beyoncé’s House of Deréon. These visionary cartoonists explore the line between the real and the imagined as they celebrate Queer history and community from Chicago and Singapore to Toronto and Berlin. Writer and comics scholar Brian Cremins will moderate the discussion. To join the Facebook and share, click here!
This panel is sponsored by Quimby’s Bookstore
Sunday, June 1st
Seduction of the Innocent with Tony Millionaire, Liz Prince, and Tucker Stone, Moderated by Marnie Galloway
Comics are still for kids?! While the comics medium has grown up in the eyes of the public, of course there are still creators making work for younger audiences. What is the inspiration for creating work for a younger age group, and how will authors stay connected to new generations who will be born in a world of digital entertainment? CAKE organizer and author of In the Sounds and Seas, Marnie Galloway will lead a panel discussion with the multi-faceted Special Guest Tony Millionaire (Sock Monkey), Liz Prince, author of the upcoming memoir for teens, Tomboy, and Tucker Stone representing Special Guest Nobrow Press.
This panel is sponsored by First Aid Comics. Tony Millionaire’s appearance is sponsored by Graham Crackers and Fantagraphics.
Sunday, June 1st
24 panels a second with Hellen Jo, Jesse Moynihan, and Jo Dery, Moderated by Jeremy Tinder.
Since the days of Winsor McCay and Osamu Tezuka, cartoonists have found time between the gutters to trade page layouts for storyboards and motion lines. Jeremy Tinder, a founding member of Chicago’s Trubble Club and character designer for “Paranormal Roommates” leads a panel discussion on the parellel paths between cartoonist and animator. Joining him on stage is Special Guest Hellen Jo, author of Jin & Jam and storyboard artist for “Steven Universe,” Jesse Moynihan, author of Forming and storyboard artist for “Adventure Time,” and Jo Dery, Chicago artist and assistant professor of graphics and animation at Depaul University. To join the Facebook event and share, click here!
This panel is sponsored by DePaul Animation Program
Sunday, June 1st
Sequential Story Yelling with Sean Christensen, Otto Splotch, and Sara Drake, Moderated by Lyra Hill
Comics are often compared to film, but rarely to performance. What does it mean for comics to step out of the page and onto the stage? How does one read a drawing out loud? Come explore the budding art of performative comics in a panel discussion led by Lyra Hill, creator and host of the of Chicago’s comics performance event “Brain Frame.” With panelists Sean Christensen, of Portland’s own comics reading series “Gridlords,” Sara Drake, cartoonist and founder of Chicago’s “Pup House” puppet group, and Otto Splotch, author of Quarter Vomit and the graphic novel Stink Helmet, the enigma of performative comics will be center stage. To join the Facebook event and share, click here!
CAKE takes place this weekend May 31st-June 1st, from 11am-6pm, at the Center on Halsted at 3656 N Halsted Ave.The festival will feature over 200 exhibitors ranging from local artists to international publishers, creating the best that alternative comics has to offer! Visit cakechicago.com for more information. We look forward to seeing you this weekend!
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.