And as the various festivals on the coasts have grown in size and stature in recent years, one question continually asked has remained, "What about the middle of the country?" That question received its most recent attempt at a permanent answer this weekend at CAKE - AKA the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo -which was held on the eighth floor of Columbia College's Ludington Building Saturday and Sunday.
Though comics-making collectives in Brooklyn or Portland often earn attention online, Chicago boasts an expansive alternative scene alongside its mainstream comics component, and that sense of community permeated the show from conception to floor chatter. "The alternative comics community in Chicago has been talking for a long time about having a show like this," co-organizer Neil Brideau told CBR News at the event. "What [made us do it] was that I started organizing the Chicago Zine Fest with a group of people, which takes place in March. Doing that and seeing it being a successful event motivated me into feeling like we could do something like this. Then it became a much smaller endeavor to tackle."
Overall, the show went off with seeming ease and few complaints from exhibitors. It appeared as though after years of talk of a Chicago alt comics event, CAKE delivered strongly to hopes and expectations. The event will continue next year.