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Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE)

June 11, 2016 @ 11:00 am - June 12, 2016 @ 6:00 pm



The Chicago Alternative Comics Expo [CAKE] is a weekend-long celebration of independent comics, inspired by Chicago’s rich legacy as home to many of underground and alternative comics’ most talented artists– past, present and future. Featuring comics for sale, workshops, exhibitions, panel discussions and more, CAKE is dedicated to fostering community and dialogue amongst independent artists, small presses, publishers and readers.

Hazel Newlevant and David Nuss will be managing the Alternative Comics table. Alternative Comics’ artists past and present at CAKE this year (including recent additions to our publishing group Spit and a Half and Sparkplug) are Leslie Stein (a special guest), Chris Cilla, Austin English, Mardou, Ted May, Marinaomi, Virginia Paine, John Porcellino, Reid Psaltis, Josh Shalek, and Andy Warner.

Sunday, June 12th’s Workshops and Panels are heavy on Alternative Comics artists past and present, including a panel on Sparkplug Books, an imprint that will join Alternative Comics immediately after CAKE for distribution.

1:00–2:00 Sound and Vision: Color with Leslie Stein

Come explore color with Brooklyn-based artist and musician Leslie Stein, author of Eye of the Majestic Creature and Bright-Eyed at Midnight. Following an introduction to her materials and process, Leslie will demonstrate how she hand colors her drawings, then lead participants through colored pencil and watercolor exercises that show how color can grab readers’ attention and establish control (or lack of control) around a design. Some exercises will incorporate music to investigate how it can affect one’s drawing. Supplies will be provided, but feel free to bring your favorite color media for this trip beyond black and white. This workshop is sponsored by Fantagraphics Books.

3:00–4:00 Making Funny Pictures: Humor from Ordinary Life with Amy Lockhart and Gina Wynbrandt

Want to make readers laugh and cringe when reading your stories? Then join animator Amy Lockhart and cartoonist Gina Wynbrandt for a workshop in making funny comics. After sharing their own approaches to writing narratives and finding the humor in any material, Amy and Gina will lead participants through a series of exercises meant to help you approach storytelling from different angles. Using word and picture prompts, participants will first work individually and then collaboratively, recycling and reconfiguring the material produced at each stage into hopefully funnier—and definitely stranger—forms. For mature audiences only. This workshop is sponsored by Chicago Comics.

3:00–4:00 A Celebration of Sparkplug Comic Books

CAKE 2016 will mark the last show for Sparkplug Comic Books, a company that, throughout its 14 years, has played host to an exciting and fresh roster of diverse artists. Founded by Dylan Williams, whose strong ethical sense and personal taste drove the direction of the company, Sparkplug was a resolutely small press, focused on handmade and independently produced comics in a world veering ever toward mass production. After Williams passed away in September of 2011, his wife, Emily Nilsson, took over, and, in February 2013, passed the helm to artist Virginia Paine, who has been running the company since. This discussion will bring together a combination of artists who’ve worked with Sparkplug throughout the years, many of whom are also, in the vein of Dylan Williams, multi-hyphenates: artists, publishers, distributors and critics. Chris Cilla (Rattlesnake Dick, The Heavy Hand), Zak Sally (Sammy the Mouse, La Mano Press), Suzette Smith (Ce/Ze), and moderator Austin English (Gulag Casual, Domino Books) join together to celebrate 14 years of an amazing small press and the important work of Virginia Paine, Emily Nilsson and and Dylan Williams. This panel is sponsored by Comix Revolution


June 11, 2016 @ 11:00 am
June 12, 2016 @ 6:00 pm


Center on Halsted
3656 N. Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60613 United States
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