Tuesday, June 26, 2012

OFFICIAL 2012 CAKE Report ™©


here the haul:
the HAUL: "Q" and "After Nothing Comes" by Aidan Koch, "Man in the Trees" by Max Morris, "CAKE Book 2012" "Werewolf Horror Mask" and "The Masque Stolen Identity" by Andy Burkholder, "Hyperspeed to Nowhere" "Hot Dog Beach 2" and "Titus and the Cyber Sun" by Lale Westvind, "PCC Showcase 6" by Walker Mettling, "Agony" by Zane Morris, "Rav 6" and "Sagari" by Mickey Zacchilli, "Wonder Butts" by Andrew Neyer, "Distance Mover 2" by Patrick Kyle, "Top 5 Boardroom Techniques" by Chris Kuzma, "Extra Protection for Double Trouble" "Total Screen" "Trouble Dish" and "Never Girl" by Henry Glover, "John Blaze" by Leslie Weibeler, "Ghost Heat Up 4" and "Misper" by Anthony Meloro, "Colour Code" by Jesjit Gill, "Motherlover" anthology by 2D Cloud, "Milk de Voyage" "James" by James McShane, a stack of "TEOTFW" issues and "Snake Oil 6" by Chuck Forsman.

Not Pictured above is the erotic anthology "Thickness 3" (I gave my copy to a special person). It was exciting to see the last issue of this acclaimed erotic anthology and Edie Fake's piece was exactly what I was looking for. It reminded me of Cronenberg's "Shivers," which Edie actually hasn't seen, but it's got that sexual parasite connection!  and if you've yet to see Edie's piece in "Sock 2", it is equally as bestial, but geared more toward the rural reader. The "Qviet" zine by Andy Burkholder makes for a nice singular experience outside of the anthology and Julia Gfrörer's culty ritualistic sex magik piece was choice. The William Cardini and Sean T. Collins collab was funny, my immediate reaction was that I wished it was a one page gag, the punch line gets a little lost in the panels, but it's a funny comparison of juices. I'm interested to see the public's reaction to the Gengoroh Tagame comic. It's basically a straight forward rape/snuff story. It's an interesting choice for this anthology to end on, and that decision was probably made to maintain the Japanese format of this particular comic, but it still feels a little weird. I think Thickness and Sock alike have put many different perspectives of sexuality to print, and I'm not one to be shy of extreme Japanese comics, but it feels off that the last issue of Thickness leaves us with a super extreme realistically drawn rape story, even though it borders on the absurd (spoiler alert: a failed wrestler gets sold into sexual slavery by his trainer). That's my biggest criticism of the book, but that will probably doubly entice you to buy it!
Mickey Zacchilli is super prolific, and I was really impressed by her two new books at the show: Rav 6 and Sagari. Rav is Mickey's most substantial series and this issue goes deep into the eros that is eluded to in previous issues. Mickey's vision of sex is as you would expect it, blunt, direct, and berserk in style. It's nice to read a good comic that's not necessarily about sex, but has sex in it... if you know what I mean. Rav also thrives on awkward character interactions, it's pretty hilarious. Sagari is a great experiment of a comic. It's a self prescribed "Psychedelic Horror Fairy Tale True Story." My favorite parts are when Mickey slows down and lets the panels linger... this one is more about the process of reading and less about a coherent story, but the one thing that I learned from this comic is... DON'T TRUST A DISEMBODIED HORSE HEAD!
Max Morris's new book "Man in the Trees" is a power house of Chicago "deep dish" drawing style. Max is a comics guru, I first encountered him when I bought some Sugiura Shigeru comics off him thru ebay.  It's not surprising to me that I can see an interesting and eclectic mix of influences in his work. His style reminds me of a mix of Chicago's own Hairy Who with the chunky graphic blacks of Kirby. There's also a similar mix to the content of the story, somewhere between out-there-weirdness and thick-articulated-action. "Man in the Trees" riffs on a story trope of a wild man, lost in nature, who comes upon a civilized woman exploring the vegetation. I feel like it rings out in a similar way as Mickey's work, where much of the joy of the book is from the visuals, when you submit to it, it takes you somewhere, but it's not oppressively trying to explain something to you,  it's not about CONCRETE story, but more concerned with the remnants of a feeling.

THE BROTHERS MORRIS, Max's brother Zane, has been making some cool "MagaZanes." Some really nice drawings here, loose and tonal. My favorite is the one called "Agony" at the top left. These books are the kind of small oddities that demand examination. There's a lot of space within these books, and Zane uses that to his advantage. Each drawing is countered by a blank page. Unlike comics, "Magazanes" don't rely on the power of panels, but of the static image.  I get that feeling of trying to decide if there is really something there or not... maybe it's all an apparition...

Anthony Meloro's comics are right up my alley. Quickly drawn horror/mystery stories. His mark making is reminiscent of James Ensor etchings, but more graphic and awkward in a good way. These comics are all screen printed on rives (really nice paper!) and each page is printed with a flat color. It's interesting to me because the color doesn't attempt to fill in the image or add something to the composition, but it creates this weird shaped tone around all the panels. It makes me think about the process a lot. The printing is really rough and it goes right in hand with the content of these quickly drawn pulpy rags!

Aidan Koch's new book "Q" is a wordless 8 page experiment in comics, restraint, and Color Field. I was surprised to find out that the pages were all drawn at half the size that they were printed. The blown up affect has a huge impact, every decision is amplified and made more affective. Comic art turns into painting. This is the first time I've seen Aidan's work really read as painting... more than comics... it suits her well! It's a different experience for the viewer, I tend to not "read" this work in the same way that I read "the Whale."
Jason Levian, Ben Marra, and I had a moment together flipping through "Q." We stopped and Ben pointed to the blank space above^ "this is my favorite panel," he said. We all agreed. Space is important.

Now I'll relay the tale... as I saw it...
We arrive in Chicago on Friday night. Pants off. Trunks on! We were all really excited about CAKE. It's the first time that we've been deemed "special guests" in an event like this, and Conor and I were both asked to be in a panel discussion about violence in comics. Thanks CAKE, for legitimizing CCC in this small world of comics!

I never think of the beach when i think of Chicago, but don't be fooled, there is a beautiful beach.

On Saturday at 2:00 I moderated a panel discussion with 7 of my favorite artists called "The Violent Line." Leading up to the panel, I nervously plotted my approach and condensed my thoughts.

my intro...

My body's perspective from the stage.

During the panel, I actually projected my soul out into the audience in order to take these disembodied pictures. That's my excuse for "acting weird." From left to Right: Noel Freibert's body, Conor Stechschulte, Anya Davidson, Grant Reynolds, Lale Westvind, Chuck Forsman, Patrick Kyle, and Mickey Zacchilli.

After 2 hours of talking about violence, childhood, music, drawing, misogyny, influences, practice, morality, mental space, and the internet; my co-panelists are begging me to stop. You can see the nervous laughter, You can see the yellow in their eyes, the hesitant shaking and giggling, cus they gotta use the BATHROOM! Somewhere... sometime... this panel discussion may appear on the internet in video or audio form. BEWARE.

Anya Davidson and Chris Day nerding over screen prints.

Ben Marra and Michael Deforge hash it out. Ben's table was squished right in the middle of the web comics and gay comics room, a truly amazing context.

after a smooth Cake walk, our band Witch Hat played a show with the likes of Ono, Buck Gooter, and Mayor Daley. I have no pics (except the above of Ono) but the true fans know the pain of huddling in a dank basement, watching insects eat each other, and then getting whipped by wet dreadlocks. Thank you for sticking it out! Thanks for sweating! Thanks for loving "swamp rock."

Cake Day 2: mandatory CCC group photo, that's Andrew Neyer, Molly O'Connell, Mollie Goldstrom, Erin Womack, Chris Day, Conor Stechschulte, and me (Noel Freibert)

Sales were down, so we tried out some new marketing techniques.

and who would've thought, but Annie Koyama ran to the table with wallet open. A SMALL PRESS MARKETING SUCCESS!

CCC planted firmly next to the Domino table

the room, as I saw it...

Angelic Andy Burkholder

Max Morris POV, heckling Burkholder about roommate smells and concerns.

Aidan Koch, excited about receiving the last Xeric award!
Teacher - Student reunion, Brian Ralph and Mollie Goldstrom
I went to the "Start a Micropress" panel. There's Austin English yappin about Domino Books!

Zak Sally, Annie Koyama, and Jesjit Gill reveal all the details on how to run an efficient "Small Press Racket"

The show ended and my mind went funny... BEWARE THE CLAW: Liz Durette!

BEWARE THE CLAW: Closed Caption Comics!

BEWARE THE CLAW: Blaise, Leslie, Andy!

BEWARE THE CLAW: Grant and Anya!

Dane Martin gives me "the look"

After the show Edie and Anya had a barbecue in their back yard! On our way there we discovered something frightening... A pregnant Salvation Army deposit box... We walked past and it made a burgle-gurgle noise. Then, to our shock and surprise, a man emerged from the hole... You can never guess the sights you'll see in this city.

When we arrived at the party, Edie Fake was kind enough to show us his attic apartment.  I took advantage of the situation with a full photo invasion. Oh look that's one of my prints on the wall  :P

Fake's urination station

Mickey and Lale might be a match made in heaven. I kept imagining what our panel would've been like if it was just the ladies: Anya, Lale, and Mickey. I'd really like to see that, because they are actually tough and gruff and they make me look like a bush baby.

Lale demonstrates and turns a watermelon into splatter with her fist.
cool party, Hanging out with Floating World man Jason :)

cool barbeque party, we burned copies of Habibi and every other "thick" comic in sight.... we were hungry

"Gonzo O'Connell" searching for missing keys
Edie Fake clean up crew!

this is how people from chicago say "good night"

On Monday we visited the preserved house of the artist Roger Brown. It was an amazing experience, his house has all of his collection intact including works by Henry Darger, Karl Wirsum, Jim Nutt, Joseph Yoakum and H.C. Westermann. We had the pleasure of looking at some amazing Hairy Who artifacts while we waited for the rest of our party to arrive.


amazing Jim Nutt painting on a window shade. SLICK!

Cool arm casting

can't remember if this is Wirsum or Nutt...? but an amazing table piece.
Famous Brown house icon, the world famous poop watcher, this troll watched the Chicago Imagists in the act of "creation."
He is the only living documentation that these artists ever "made" anything.
Roger Brown's entertainment system
large double sided Darger

cool hammer and rat head

then we met Roger Brown's dead body! JK

My favorite Roger Brown piece, a skyscraper crawling on all fours with whip marks and a crown of thorns (like Jesus).

we took a spin in the Brown car

on our way out of the RB house, we noticed something organic across the street...


a live deer in the city..... walking around in a parking lot in the middle of civilization...


interesting meat font

our trip ended with a marathon signing session of the CAKE anthology. Beware casual viewer, weird doodles had, not for the timid. Thanks Edie and Max and the entire CAKE staff. It was an amazing show!

Leah made a cool recap of the show too.