ON A WING and a prayer, we are flying to the inaugural Chicago Alternative Comics Expo, aka CAKE. This marks the first occasion that Secret Acres has gone airborne since Stumptown of 2010, which seems both difficult to believe and fitting, considering the very nature of our CAKE debut, Weather. It’s a swift, beautiful, existentialist poop joke of a comic from Gabby Schulz, the artist formerly known as Ken Dahl, mostly taking place at 40,000 feet above the earth. It’s the return (and possibly end) of Gabby’s premier avatar, Gordon Smalls, and it’s the first print comic from Mr. Schulz since Monsters (which has won or been nominated for more awards than we care to count since its release way back in 2009).
Ironically, Gabby himself will be making the CAKE trip by car, while Sean Ford will flying in along with his Only Skin. Only Skin has been feeling the love lately, from Bleeding Cool, the Mindhut, Graphic Eye, Paste Magazine and kinda sorta (but mostly sorta) Dave Ex Machina. Not a bad haul at all. Believe it or not, Mike Dawson and his Troop 142 have gotten some shoutouts lately, from our favorite Optical Sloth and the monolith of comics criticism, the Comics Journal.
Speaking of the TCJ review, we had a little fun on Twitter telling everyone that the book was demolished by Rob Clough. For the record, Mike started it. People clicked on those links hard enough to break them. What is it about a fight that gets everyone running? A little while back on this here Scuttlebutt blog, we went after MoCCA a bit and got like a million hits from all over the world. We sang the praises of TCAF and got crickets. Perhaps it’s the Big Two fanning the troll flames with enormous, deformed tits, or maybe it’s big budget prequels messing with the fanboy canon, but boy are folks touchy these days! While there’s been lots of fun and valuable talk about creator rights sneaking into these flame wars, it’s making publisher into a dirty word. We’re on your side, we swear. Maybe we’ll we tear CAKE a new one in the wrap-up just to get your attention.
For full disclosure, our man, Mr. Gaylord Phoenix himself, Edie Fake is one of the folks running CAKE (Yes, there’s no k in comics. No, they did not call it the Chicago ACE. Yes, there might be cake there.). He’s got some new books, too, in a manner of speaking. Edie’s showing up in Fantagraphics’ No Straight Lines, which sounds fantastic and includes some stuff straight out of Gaylord Phoenix, and Seven Stories Press will have more Edie in The Graphic Canon. Though he will probably be too busy being the host with the most to hang out at the Acres CAKE table (number 36 on the map), Edie will be moderating the Comics in Chicago panel on Sunday.
We really have no idea what to expect of CAKE, but looking at the programming and guest list, it’s shaping up to be a monster. If you can’t make CAKE, we have some surprises in the Emporium for you. Now on the digital shelves is the latest from Jon Allen, Vactionland, new-ish pal Sean K.‘s Rust Belt, Jumbly Junkery issues 9 and 10 from superstar L. Nichols, the second issue of the awesome Genus from Anuj Shrestha, The Complete Talamaroo by Alabaster (published by that upstart Hic & Hoc gang) and, if you just have to have more Edie, Gay Genius, from our friends at Sparkplug and Annie Murphy. See, that’s practically a con in itself.
We’ll be right back with a CAKE report, gunz blazin’ and knives out!
Barry and Leon