Chicago has its CAKE, eats it too: Alternative comics expo returns after 16-year hiatus

June 14, 2012

It’s a good time to be a writer or reader of comics in Chicago.

Last month the University of Chicago’s Comics: Philosophy & Practice conference brought together comics producers and critics.

New City’s Lit 50, released just last week, included a number of comics writers and critics, including Chris Ware, Jeffrey Brown, Hillary Chute and Anne Elizabeth Moore, my former blogging mate here at WBEZ.

Alison Bechdel has been holding a Mellon Residential Fellowship in Arts Practice and Scholarship at the UofC, co-teaching a course with Hillary Chute and wowing Chicago with public appearances surrounding the release of her new memoir, Are You My Mother? 

And now — if you thought it couldn’t be a greater comics lover’s paradise — Chicago is getting its very own alternative comics expo, the first in 16 years.

Organized by Neil Brideau, Edie Fake, Max Morris, Grace Tran and Jeff Zwirek, the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (or just CAKE) debuts this weekend at Columbia College’s Ludington Building (1104 S. Wabash, 8th floor). Free and open to the public, CAKE features over 200 exhibitors and presenters from Chicago and beyond.

The family-friendly event (no small detail in our household, where we’re doing our best to foster an early passion for comics) includes a panel for teachers on how to teach using comics.

Other grown up panels include Ivan Brunetti, Lisa Hanawalt, Hellen Jo and Onsmith talking about vulgarity, panels on starting your own micropress, and a host of off-site comics-related events.

For a full list of exhibitors and vendors, as well as a full schedule of events, visit CAKE’s website.