LAKEVIEW — The Chicago Alternative Comics Expo has released a list of 170 special guests and exhibitors for its June event.
CAKE 2015 will feature a mix of Chicago and national independently published artists, which were announced Thursday. The event runs June 6 and 7 at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St.
Topping the list are eight special guests, including cartoonist brothers Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez, whose "Love and Rockets" helped launch the alternative comics movement of the 1980s. The brothers' short stories largely focus on a fictional Mexican village with a magical element and a Los Angeles group of friends.
In addition to 28 graphic novels and collections and a dozen re-releases, the series relaunched in 2008 with annual volumes. The seventh volume was released Feb. 22.
"Everybody who organizes CAKE knows [the brothers], so we're really excited to have them," said co-organizer Neil Brideau.
One of the highlights of CAKE is having the artists themselves attend, Brideau said.
"Behind every table are the folks that made the comics in front of them," Brideau said. "The major difference between what we do and what bigger shows like [Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo] is people can really interact with the artists that create the comics."
New this year to the expo is the Cupcake Award, which is given to a newer, self-published comic book artist. Recipient Sara Drake won funding to publish a new comic through Koyama Press that will debut at CAKE.
"CAKE is really focused on alternative comics — stories that focus more on self-expression and storytelling rather than a genre," Brideau said. "What we really focus on are the artists themselves."
Several former panelists or special guests are returning to the expo this year, including Michael DeForge ("Ant Colony," "First Year Healthy") and Chicago native John Porcellino, whose "King-Cat" series launched in 1989.
Fellow 2015 special guest and Chicagoan Keiler Roberts is returning after a CAKE 2011 appearance. Roberts' autobiographical comic "Powdered Milk" was listed in "The Best American Comics" 2014 Notables List. Roberts teaches at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and DePaul University.
Other special guests include Eleanor Davis ("How to Be Happy"), Zak Sally ("Sammy The Mouse" and Eisner-nominated "Recidivist"), Dash Shaw ("BodyWorld," "Doctors"), Jillian Tamaki ("Skim," "This One Summer") and Lale Westvind ("Hot Dog Beach," "Hyperspeed to Nowhere").
The long list of exhibitors also features well-known alternative comic artists like Cara Bean ("Gorilla Year") and Liz Prince ("Will You Still Love Me If I Wet the Bed?"). To see the full list of exhibitors, visit CakeChicago.com.
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