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CAKE Recap

Author: Alex
Date: 06/16/23
Tags: #events

A black line drawing of a bunny's face

Alex here, sharing my final fest recap of the summer: Chicago Alternative Comic Expo (better known as CAKE)

This fest came fast on the heels of CZF, and so I got to see even more pals for a second or third time between Halftone, CZF, and CAKE - which was so exciting! But Saturday I attended workshops and skipped the vendor floor.

DAY 1 I kicked things off at the workshop: Make Your Own 6 Page Comic with Joy San. Joy was a great instructor and shared a lot of really cool aspects of her process making mini comics - you should immediately check out her work (she posts a lot of horror comics for free on her site!)

After that I stuck around for another amazing Beth Hetland workshop, but this time she teamed up with Jeff Zwirek for Self-Publishing and Print Comics. I got to try a new bookform I hadn’t used before thanks to Beth, and learned a lot about self-publishing and printing options from Jeff who leads Print Ninja here in IL. I left crazy inspired by what I could do beyond my typical mini-zines, saddle-stitched zines, and bespoke artists’ books. There are so many options for self-publishers like me!

I then went down to my old haunt, Thorndale Beach, and capitalized this creative energy to do some work on my concepts for Hallowzine. That wrapped up day one for me, but day two had more in store!

DAY 2 I returned to the Broadway Armory just in time for Pathways to Success in Modern Publishing, a panel with Bulgilhan Press, Pyrite Press, and Lucky Pocket Press. It was so inspiring to hear the panelists talk about their love of comics and small-press-publishing and really made it all feel less intimidating. Along with great practical business advice, I left feeling more empowered to reach out to small presses and generally join the alternative comics community.

And then it was onto the vendor floor. Once again it was almost overwhelming how many very cool folks were selling very cool things - and this time it was my ultimate kryptonite: comics. After the blow my wallet took at CZF, my CAKE haul isn’t as grand - but it is mighty and full of fond memories since much of it was traded with kind folks. Everyone was so nice, but just like last time I’ve taken on the difficult task of highlighting only five - so make sure you validate my emotional turmoil and check them out!

photograph of Alex's CAKE haul on a hardwood floor including mini zines, stickers, and prints

This was such a magical experience and everyone I talked to said the same. It is now officially a goal for Dana and I to table at this event - so watch out CAKE 2024, we’re coming for you!

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