Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I'm not dead, so I can still enjoy me some CAKE

I don't know if anybody is actually reading this, since it has been much, much too long since I've posted anything around these parts, but I wanted to pop in to note that the third annual Chicago Alternative Comics Expo, or CAKE, is going to take place this weekend, May 31 and June 1, 2014, and I'll be there, both volunteering and wandering around checking stuff out and hopefully getting a few Groo sketches, and maybe even attending some panels or off-site events. So look for me, and get some visual or even auditory/tactile confirmation that I still exist and have not fallen from the face of the earth. Here are the details on hours, how to get there, and whatnot:
Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE)
Saturday and Sunday, May 31 and June 1
11 am – 6pm
Center on Halsted
3656 N Halsted
FREE and open to the public!

While I'm here, I'll go ahead and note a few artists that I would recommend checking out:

  • Sam Alden - his webcomic Haunter on the Study Group site is gorgeous.
  • Nate Beaty - he's debuting his strip collection Don't Cry, Wolfman Chicago at the show.
  • Kevin Budnik - I haven't read enough of his comics, but he's a Chicago local, and a cool guy in any interactions I've had with him. His art style is kind of simple, but he gets at some deep emotional stuff in his work that's definitely worth checking out, especially since he's a young guy and is just going to get better.
  • Tyrell Cannon - Another Chicago native; he's got a really cool style. His most prominent work so far has probably been the series Gary, about the Green River Killer, but he's got other stuff going on too, so check him out.
  • Victor Cayro - I don't know if I really get what this guy is doing (maybe kind of a Benjamin Marra-style serious approach to dumb action tropes?), but I like the crazy detail and energy he puts into his comics.
  • Joshua Cotter - Hey, I didn't realize Cotter was going to be at CAKE! I love his work, especially Driven By Lemons.
  • Kevin Czapiewski - I love Kevin's art on comics like the Project: Ballad webcomic, but he's also a publisher of good independent stuff by people like Liz Suburbia, so it's always worth a stop by his table.
  • Ezra Claytan Daniels - Another Chicago native! He's usually got a lot of stuff going on, but his interactive comic/app Upgrade Soul is always worth checking out.
  • Mike Dawson - Kind of an indie comics superstar, with books like Freddie and Me, Ace-Face, and Troop 142. He's pretty awesome.
  • Michael DeForge - Everybody knows about this guy, but he cranks out work like it's going out of style, and it's all pretty great, so make sure to see what he's got that you haven't yet discovered.
  • Sean Dove - This guy is a friend of mine, and he's awesome. He seems to mostly do graphic design and posters and whatnot, but I'm always hopeful that he'll have a new comic out for me to read (like this one).
  • Lyra Hill - Another awesome Chicago person! She's best known for her comics performance series Brain Frame, and she's always got plenty of cool comics and art going on. Check her out if you haven't seen her stuff before (or even if you have!).
  • Lucy Knisley - Hey, I didn't realize Lucy was going to be at CAKE either! She's an ex-Chicago person, having moved to New York a couple years ago, but we miss her. I've loved most everything I've ready by her, especially Relish, and her next book, An Age of License, is due out this fall from Fantagraphics.
  • Koyama Press - Annie Koyama always has some great books coming out, including stuff by Michael DeForge, Jesse Jacobs, Dustin Harbin, Hellen Jo, Joseph Lambert, Nate Bulmer, Victor Kerlow, and many more. I especially want to check out Cole Closser's Little Tommy Lost and whatever issues of Ryan Cecil Smith's S.F. I can get my hands on.
  • Alec Longstreth - I dig Alec's style, and I'm excited to finally read his decade-in-the-making book Basewood, which he recently self-published with the help of Kickstarter. He was super-nice when I met him last year, and he even gave me a copy of the issue of his pinball zine Drop Target that featured a Groo table designed by Ryan Claytor. I also recommend checking out his current series of minicomics about being a fan of Weezer. He's awesome.
  • Annie Mok - I met Annie a few years ago, and I've followed her comics ever since. She's pretty great, doing some interesting, well-designed stories about queer issues, and I guess she has a strip in Vertigo's CMYK anthology. Cool.
  • Jesse Moynihan - He's probably best known as a storyboard artist for Adventure Time, but his comic Forming is also quite awesome, and its second volume will be debuting at the show.
  • Pranas T. Naujokaitis - I love Pranas' cartoony style, and my daughter really likes the kids' comics of his that I've brought home. It's always neat to see what kind of stuff he makes, like the short comic he had last year that was printed on a strip of cloth that was about six feet long.
  • Oily Comics - Charles Forsman and company regularly publish some really good minicomics, printed simply on plain white paper at small size. In addition to his own series The End of the Fucking World, he puts out work by people like Michael DeForge, Dan Zettwoch, Josh Simmons, Melissa Mendes, and many others. There's always something new to check out on his table.
  • Luke Pearson - Another Adventure Time guy, but also a great cartoonist and designer. I liked his book Everything We Miss, and he's got some other good stuff out too.
  • Liz Prince - I've always liked Liz's stuff, whether it's about dating difficulties or rock and roll, so I'll be glad to see her while she's in town.
  • Secret Acres - This small publisher puts out some great comics, including books by Chicago's own Edie Fake (who is one of CAKE's organizers) and plenty of other awesome people. I'm always excited to see what new stuff they've got.
  • Chad Sell - I like Chad's webcomic Manta Man a lot, but he's probably better known for doing portraits of the contestants on Ru Paul's Drag Race. Whatever he does, he's pretty awesome.
  • Trubble Club - These guys are a Chicago institution, a jam comics group consisting of talents like Jeremy Tinder, Aaron Renier, Nate Beaty, Kevin Budnik, Laura Park, Lilli Carre, and many others. I don't know if they have a new issue of their minicomics series out (they might have stopped doing those, since they're unlikely to top the amazing newspaper format issue they put out a few years ago), but their table should at least be a gathering place for great Chicago cartoonists.
  • 2D Cloud - This small Minneapolis-based publisher always puts out interesting books, so I'm always curious to see what they've got. They're debuting Blaise Larmee's new book, Ice Cream Kisses, at the show.
  • Uncivilized Books - Another small publisher, run by Tom Kaczynski. I don't know what they have this year, but last year they debuted a book by David B., so I bet they'll have something interesting.
  • Noah Van Sciver - I don't know if Noah has put out anything major since his book The Hypo, which came out last year, but he'll probably at least have some minicomics or something.
  • Lale Westvind - I discovered Lale last year, and I'm fascinated by her crazy sci-fi comics. She's another Chicago native, and I want to read more of her weird, weird comics.
  • Yeti Press - A small Chicago-based publisher that puts out interesting stuff. I especially recommend Kat Leyh's series Bird Witch, but they've got plenty of other cool books as well.

Is that everybody? Almost certainly not, but they're all people I can get behind, and since this is just a fraction of what's going on (I didn't even mention special guests like Hellen Jo and Tony Millionaire!), there's sure to be something for everybody. If you're anywhere near Chicago this weekend, you owe it to yourself to come by. It's free! See you there, I hope.