AS QUEERS, we pick our people more often than we are born into a people. We say it all the time, but it bears repeating: if you want people, find comics people, especially if you want people to do stupid shit with. For example, as a comics person, and possibly as a queer person, you might find yourself pulling an all-nighter ahead of a twelve hour drive into Chicago, because you want everything to be just right for CAKE, aka the Chicago Alternative (K)omics Expo. Be warned, this behavior might also get you divorced. Anyway, books and bags packed, we arrived at the Broadway Armory, parked in the lot and hopped out to be read by at least a dozen topless, flawless men wearing tiny shorts and thong jocks. We expected as much from the Center on Halsted, but in the new CAKE digs? We had to check, and Pride time or not, it turns out Chicago turned completely queer since the last CAKE, presenting excellent evidence that queers are indeed shoving it in your face. Sorry. You’re welcome.



Spend enough time around cartoonists and you learn quickly that these are the clusters of people standing on the corner discussing where they want to get dinner for an hour because there are no alphas. After a solid three-plus hours of cross-messaging over a half-dozen apps, we managed to get nearly our entire gang together in time for a quick drink at a deafening bar replete with gravity-defying pole dancers, and a midnight run to White Castle. We showed up right as the doors opened at the Armory, but nobody else did. We sat in the farthest corner from the door and wondered if everyone thought we were dead, or if that was just Bayer. Our little table barely held up under the stacks of 2AM Eternal, Washington White and Forget Me Not, all three of which ought to be proof of life enough. We cop to being completely paranoid, since sometime after lunch, we got bum-rushed, and stayed that way through closing time on Sunday, to the point that yours truly had no time to walk the room, and we had to get creative filling in the blank spots after random sellouts.



No floor time does not mean no haul. Tom K. gifted us the Sickness, which sounds like a terrible thing to do, but really, if Wrightson is your jam, you will love Cha. Also at the Uncivilized table: Museum of Mistakes by Julia Wertz, which we never, ever expected to put on a shelf. As payback, we stole Az Sperry and also she gave us her mini mini. Talk about a time warp, we found the latest from Ariel Bordeaux and Leela Corman (both still going at it and def not dead), courtesy of the Fieldmouse folks. Adding to the surrealism of things we never expected to see, a new mini from old pal Penina Gal, and the fucking third issue of Sammy the Mouse, from our very own (or possibly also stolen from Uncivilized) Zak Sally. Sooner or later, Tom K. is gonna call a cop. We should probably include our very only Gabe Howell‘s new thingy from Cold Cube, My Body Count is Higher Than Your IQ, but we got that at the Secret Acres table. After stealing Gabe from Caroline Cash. What is wrong with us?



We still think putting a ton of comics kids on a roof, post-show, is a bad idea, but damn was the light of the strawberry moon worth it. Two thirds of the CAKE OGs met us up there in the forms of Max Morris and Grace Tran, minus the third fest founder, our man, Edie Fake, who really should have been there to see CAKE thawed out after four years on ice. So CAKE: not dead at all. We stuck around for Sunday dinner at Big Chicks with a table for ten, sharing taters with our previously online-only D&D gang before retiring to trade shit stories, hot takes on vagina-held camera work and exchanges of the L word. If you want to ask, or if you wonder, why we do this, it’s the people. And we need to thank all the people coming to say to hello to us and take away all our books. We love you, too. On that note, we are coming home to the Big Apple, tonight, with Eric Kostiuk Williams making another stop on the 2AM Eternal tour at BGSQD, and then again, tomorrow night, at Topos. The party never stops. Until it does, because it’s summer break for us. See you in September…

Your Pal,


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