John P. at CAKE with Alex Nall
(Photo by Jeff Zwirek)
Hey all, I'm way beyond behind on blog updates, but I thought I'd chime in with a very quick CAKE report.
As I mentioned last year, I'm very happy that AT LAST, my home sweet home of Chicago finally has an alternative comics con that seems to have staying power. Having moved to a new location for its second go-round (Year One was at Columbia College in the South Loop, where I and several other souls were trapped in the Classroom of Despair), everything about CAKE Mark II seemed better. Now, CAKE I was a fun show, and I was impressed with the number of swell comix folks who made the journey last year, but this one was special.
I can't begin to count the talented cartoonists and wonderful publishers at this year's show, but off the top of my head: Koyama, D+Q, Uncivilized, Tugboat, Retrofit, Secret Acres, Zak Sally, Michael DeForge, Noah Van Sciver, Joseph Remnant, Jason Shiga, Chris Cilla, Lilli Carré, Laura Park, Trubble Club, Revival House, Leslie Stein, USS Catastrophe, Oily, Phoebe Gloeckner, Collective Stench, Caroline Paquita, Kim Deitch, Fanta, Ed Luce, Gabby Gamboa, Josh Simmons, Paper Rocket, Picturebox, 2D Cloud, Josh Bayer, Pat Aulisio, Cara Bean, Onsmith, Julie Delporte, and I even saw Bald Eagles and Becca Marie wandering the aisles. Don't get mad but I'm gonna stop there. You get the idea.
Day One started off slow, but I ended up having a steady stream of visitors throughout the day. One nice thing about the location was the Whole Paycheck® located on the first floor of the Center on Halsted, which made for easy access to drink and grub. I usually starve at these things with my low-blood sugar causing me to get cranky and/or shaky-weird, but this show was more comfortable in that way.
Saturday evening my main concern was finding someplace to watch the Blackhawks game, which after some to do I managed to accomplish (sob).
Sunday morning I expected there to be a big lull, as hungover cartoonists stumbled in bleary-eyed and ragged. And that's what happened. Sunday was a little slower for me, but I also spent time away from my table to try to check things out. And if there's one thing I've learned about shows it's I don't sell anything when I'm away from my table. I managed to make it down the first one and a half aisles before having to jet back to Spit and a Half HQ. There were so many high-quality exhibitors there, there was no way to table and still see everything. I was really impressed by how GOOD everything I was looking at seemed.
Sunday after the show a bunch of us headed over to Joy's Noodles for dinner. It was fun to get to hang out with people outside the show, and watch my pal Ray go head-to-head with Jesse Reklaw in the mental agility sweepstakes. (Jesse's amazing series COUCH TAG will finally be collected in book form by Fantagraphics this fall!)
After that people wanted to go to a bar. I wanted to go to sleep. So it was a quiet night reading comics and chatting at my host Laura Park's house.
Monday, Laura, Noah, and I had breakfast and then I took Noah to visit Chicago Comics and the Picasso. Then back on the road home.
Excellent. I look forward to next year...
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(I didn't manage to take a single picture, but if you're on Facebook, here's cartoonist/CAKE organizer Jeff Zwirek's photo album.)