Chicago Alternative Comics Expo, or CAKE!, is taking place at the Center on Halsted on June 6-7th. We’ve got a run down of new books to check out, favorite cartoonists to meet, and happenings around the show.
Fante Bukowski by Noah Van Sciver
Noah Van Sciver’s latest graphic novella drops in on the life of the self- styled, aspiring young writer, Fante Bukowski, as he delusively makes his way to literary fame and fortune, one drink at a time. Living in a cheap hotel, consorting with the debased and downtrodden, searching for that golden idea that will rocket him to the success he yearns for as the great American novelist, and to get respect from his father once and for all. But, there’s just one problem: Fante Bukowski has no talent for writing.
Dorfler by Jeremy Baum
Set in a dystopian future, alternating between current time and flashbacks, between an urban environment and a natural landscape, Dörfler is as much about space and time as it is about the characters who inhabit the two landscapes. Strange inter-dimensional creatures live in the ancient lands of the Northern Mountains, where electronic and engine powered machinery is rendered inoperable. The city is a police state where the military subjects its citizens to experiments that turn memory and identity into malleable, political tools. While one woman wreaks havoc against the totalitarian state in revenge for what they’d done to her, two lovers wander through the Northern Mountains trying to distinguish between real and false memories.
Blubber #1 by Gilbert Hernandez
What’s this? An all-new, stand-alone, one-shot comic book from one of our greatest living cartoonists? Christmas has come early! Featuring six mostly wordless, thoroughly surreal adventures featuring a cast of misfits, monsters, and anthropomorphs that could only spring from the id of the great Hernandez, last year’s Eisner Award winner for “Best Short Story”!
Bright-Eyed at Midnight by Leslie Stein
Beginning at the stroke of midnight on January 1, 2014, and ending on January 1, 2015, Leslie Stein began drawing a comics page a night. Fueled by an urge toward visual and narrative experimentation and made possible by serendipitous bouts of insomnia, Stein has combined words and images in a series of comic strips, paintings, and collages that reflect her life.
CAKE has a seriously stellar line up of special guests that feature
CAKE exhibitors also include these Fantagraphics cartoonists
All panels take place at the Hoover-Leppen Theatre on the third floor of the Center on Halsted.
11:30-12:30 PM – The Golden Age(s) of Comics
In one of the final essays he wrote for his Critical Circle in 1989, just a few months before his death, cartoonist and Captain Marvel co-creator C. C. Beck fondly remembered his childhood: “‘A golden age,’ Isaac Asimov once said, ‘is whenever you were ten years old.’ As Asimov is ten years younger than I am, his golden age must have been in the ‘30s while mine must have been in the ‘20s.” Golden Age is a familiar term for American comic book fans: it refers not only to the era of the 1930s and 1940s in which Beck was a key figure, but also to the nostalgia at the heart of so many graphic narratives. To get CAKE 2015 off to a start that would have made an old curmudgeon like Beck proud, we welcome Jillian Tamaki, Dash Shaw, and Sam Sharpe to talk about how coming-of-age narratives figure in their work. Tamaki’s Caldecott Honor-winning This One Summer (created in collaboration with Mariko Tamaki), Shaw’s kaleidoscopic New School, and Sharpe’s harrowing “Mom” fromViewotron No. 2 all tell stories about characters who find the past both haunting and inescapable. They will also discuss the various forms sequential art can take in this new Golden Age, from self-published narratives to digital comics and beyond. Comics scholar, writer, and educator Gene Kannenberg, Jr. will lead a lively discussion about form, meaning, and memory in contemporary comics.
1:00-2:00 PM – “What I Do is Secret” A Conversation with Zak Sally and Mickey Zacchilli
First a window, then a silver ghost, and finally these words: “I learned to love it. I walk through walls, undetected and unseen. I go where I want, and what I do is secret.” These images, and those lines, mark the end of Zak Sally’s Recidivist IV, a striking work of comic art published in late 2014. Like Recidivist IV, Mickey Zacchilli’s brilliant series Rav—in which Juice and Sally look for life and love in haunted places like the Meat Cave and the local IHop—is an idiosyncratic, often moving, sometimes playful deconstruction of familiar comic book storytelling techniques. If Wendy O. Williams, Robert Rauschenberg, and Jack Kirby teamed up, their universe might look like Rav or Recidivist IV. So what’ll happen when these two visionaries get together with Roctober and Chic-a-Go-Go mastermind Jake Austen to talk comics, music, and other secrets of the universe? Join us and find out.
3:00-4:00 PM – Comic Books and Speculative Fiction
In the BBC documentary Synth Britannia, Daniel Miller of The Normal describes his affection for the work of J. G. Ballard: “It wasn’t like science fiction in the sense that it was outer space and stuff like that. It felt like it was five minutes into the future.” Ballard was part of a generation of writers who came of age during science fiction’s New Wave of the 1960s and early 1970s. Other writers loosely affiliated with this movement include Anna Kavan, Harlan Ellison, Samuel R. Delany, Ursula K. LeGuin, and Octavia Butler. In the 1970s, as the rest of the world was obsessing over Death Stars and Jedi mind tricks, the New Wave continued to shape the underground, from the white noise of Hawkwind to the hallucinatory landscapes of Moebius. Eleanor Davis, Lale Westvind, and Tom Kaczynski will join writer and scholar Ytasha Womack, author of Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture, in a conversation about the spiritual resonance of speculative fiction as it continues to shape and illuminate comics narratives of the 21st century.
2:00-3:00 PM Jaime Hernandez Inks Live! With Tom Spurgeon
Come watch the master of all things Loca ink a true work of art! At this event, Jaime Hernandez will demonstrate the mysteries of his inking techniques while in conversation with Tom Spurgeon, former writer and editor at The Comics Journal and mastermind behind The Comics Reporter.
11:30-12:30 PM – A Conversation with the Hernandez Brothers
Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez need no introduction, but here’s one anyway: CAKE is honored to have these two comic book legends joining the fabulous Caitlin McGurk, curator at the Ohio State University’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, for a conversation about their lives and their work. Want to learn more about how Los Bros. and their characters—Maggie and Hopey, Luba, and all the rest—have transformed the world of comics over the last thirty years? This is the panel for you.
2:30-4:00 PM – Eyeworks Festival
The Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation returns to CAKE again this year with a new screening of contemporary animated shorts! The work in the program explores unusual narrative and a wide variety of formal approaches to animation and drawing. Come see absurdist walk cycles, Amiga animation, hand-drawn memory manipulation, animated D&D convention recordings, and characters trying to make sense of living on a post-apocalyptic toxic lake, to name just a few examples of what is in store. Cartoonists Dash Shaw, Lale Westvind, Scott Roberts, and Jenna Caravello will be in person for a Q&A after the screening to discuss their work in the program. Eyeworks Program curated by Lilli Carré and Alexander Stewart.
You can find us at tables 7 & 8 alllll weekend long