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CAKE 2012

CAKE is a brand new alt comics expo that took place over this last weekend. Yeah, I know. Some of you are saying “Alt comics? Eeewww!” Okay they’re not for everyone, but neither is your guilty pleasure Strikeforce Morituri! Secret Wars II? What I admire about alt comics, whether they get my attention or not, is the simple fact that people devote themselves to making comics. Aside from taking a break, my reason for going was to see the dozen-ish (by my count) LGBT folks who exhibited.

First up is Carrie McNinch and Rob Kirby. Carrie has a story in Three #3, Rob’s alt comics anthology, but I had to be honest with her that I hadn’t read the story yet and was unfamiliar with her work. She had a collection of her stuff so that will take care of that problem. We had an interesting discussion about artist’s block and how she got past hers. Basically before she reached a breaking point she just made herself draw. I’m going to have to follow her lead and unplug myself from the Internet, phones, and TV. Rob has his hands in comics for 21 years I think he said, with Curbside and Boy Trouble before Three. Meeting him in person after a few years of intermittent online messages was really nice. Rob can be found here  but I don’t find a website or blog for Carrie.

To their table’s right were Tyler Cohen and Kris Dresen. Tyler’s work is also unfamiliar to me. She did mini comics in the 90s and the farthest I strayed from superhero stuff at the time would’ve been Love & Rockets. Nine or ten years ago she turned her attention to making art installations, followed a few years later with the birth of her daughter. Her two comics are titled Primahood and came about as her way to reconcile or integrate the artist and mother aspects of her life. Tyler shared some interesting observations about some same sex parents asserting (my word) hetero-normative gender roles in their children. Tyler’s blog is here.

Kris Dresen’s Every Part Of You Is Familiar To Me really impressed me with its many beautiful images. Kris has a new book out titled She Said and Grace is another that I hadn’t had an opportunity to read before. Grace is a wonderful, sexy, awkward story about two women on the verge of beginning a relationship while She Said is a depiction using sound bytes of a relationship not meant to be. I apologize for the blurry photo, which is less blurry after retouching it. Tyler has a blog and Kris has not just one but two websites.

Sasha Steinberg is a graduate student at the Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, VT. He also has a great smile. Sasha’s interest in developing queer literary comics excites me! Stonewall will be a ten part series that will dramatize events of the Stonewall Riots in June, 1969.I’m looking forward to reading this as soon as I catch up with some other stuff. You can find Sasha here and here.

Chad Sell does a webcomic called Manta Man that’s an irreverent sendup of superheroes and has a couple of mini comics of drag queen portraits. The guy to his left is his boyfriend whose name I think is Dan. Sorry, guys! Bad memory. So the premise of Manta Man? A guy discovers he can turn into a manta. When not a manta, he works at his father’s gay bar. He has a girlfriend who uses mystical shark teeth to turn into his “arch nemesis” Shark Girl. There’s the superhero Fool Girl who’s always blindfolded and her monkey. A gay friend who hooks up with Mantis Man and they’re always caught in uncompromising situations. Plus, a crochety granny who heads up a ninja ring. Oh, and a gay ninja guy. Manta Man was a really fun book to read! You can find Manta Man here.

Tony Breed is the cartoonist behind Finn & Charlie webcomic about a couple of guys and their everyday travails of work and life as a married couple. Finn & Charlie was nominated last year for an Ignatz Best Webcomic. Tony debuted his third book volume “How Would I Know If You’re Dreaming?” at CAKE. Check out Finn & Charlie here.

That’s Jon Macy leaning toward David Kelly. In case you don’t know Jon’s work, he’s the guy who adapted the erotic novel Teleny And Camille that’s been attributed to Oscar Wilde and is working on the four part Fearful Hunter. David Kelly published a series of comics telling coming of ages stories young boy named Steven who discovers he likes boys but doesn’t have the words for it. Kelly’s stories were sweet, fun, poignant, sad, and hopeful and are really hard to find. Thankfully they’ve been collected in Rainy Day Recess from Northwest Press.

Proverbially last and not least are Justin Hall and Zan Christensen. Hall’s big new book is No Straight Lines that I’ve already posted about. Aside from being one of Prism’s founders and president, zan is the guy in charge of Northwest Press. Sadly, the printer messed up shipping copies of The Legend of Bold Riley to make it in time for the show.

All the books from CAKE! Some of these are set aside as giveaways, generously donated by zan. Stay tuned!

March 7, 2015
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