So I'm not entirely sure why I'm starting this post with the image to your left, I'm hoping it'll spark some sort of guiding theme. We'll see. This is from a set of boards my uncle painted that my sibling and I used to shoot at in our younger years. They're all men in straight jackets; apparently my uncle was a proponent of a little frontier justice when it comes to men deemed unfit to co-mingle with the rest of society. 

Thinking back on this first year of CAKE (Chicago Alternative Comics Expo), I remember a recurring feeling that being in comics requires a certain mindset, one that would probably qualify a lot of us to be painted on one of my uncle's boards. Apparently I wasn't alone in my possibly cynical sentiments that weekend, but ultimately I came away from the show feeling like this is what I should be doing. Just being around that many people who are willing to devote so much of their time and energy to a practice that, relatively speaking, so few give a shit about, is really encouraging to me. Ok, enough of my earnest rumination, here's comes the upbeat recap, sprinkled with snark!

Our journey begins on the old, semi-reliable Megabus. Meghan is conserving her energy for the impending sweaty trek through downtown Chicag, where she will drop Startled Maggie no. 1 on a semi-suspecting public. At this point we are short one member. Mr. Schuster watched 'in horror' as the bus pulled away without him! Don't worry, he caught up with us (proof later).

Your humble narrator, taking a break from my comics binging to stare at another surface, important work I'm sure.

Nic decided to take the trip down with us. Here you see him sharing in some screen reading with me. This was the first show I've done with Nic outside the borders of MN, he was a welcome addition to the 2dc entourage. 
Our ever affable point man, Mr. R. Hoganne. Always there to play mediator between short-tempered associates and Raighne me in when needed. Don't worry, we engage in a little role-reversal when the conditions strike, so I do my fair share of babysitting.
By now we have arrived, bags have been dropped, Nic has been checked into his hostel which he only spends one night in, and now we're on the hunt for sustenance. We revisit a place Raighne and I hit up on our time here in March for Chicago Zine Fest. I won't restrict your interpretation of Nic's expression by sharing mine, so we'll leave it at this.
Ever the multi-tasker, Meghan prepares to take another bite...the second she drops that straw...
It looks like  I already 'dug in', so not sure what this gesture is all about. Must be making plans...
The rest of the first night lacked passion, so we're going to move forward in time to CAKE: Day One. This show saw the debut of our amazing new banner by...
...this guy. Takes a lot of energy running a media empire and making comics that only true aesthetes understand.
Apparently this is what Raighne and I lose when we don't let  Vincent run our table like he did at Stumptown. As you can see, 2dc can't lay sole claim to Vincent's new output. We now live in a world where we have to contend with Tom K.'s Uncivilized Books, as CAKE saw the debut of Vincent's contrib to the Structures series. Tom makes some of the slickest mini's (and now big grownup books) in our neck of the woods, or probably your neck for that matter, so he's welcome company.

But oh man, look how big this photo is, we must be really important! In neon scrib for extra emphasis are blurry shots of 2dc's debut comics at CAKE. On the left is Meghan's great penciled tale of babes in autobio, Startled Maggie 1. I don't know anyone doing quite what she is right now, you really ought to take a look. A mini Raighne edited to support a new edition of a video game history book, High Score: The Illustrated History of Electronic Games also reared its head. This lil' feller did quite well for us at the show, probably something to do with the fact that video games are one of if not the most financially dominant mediums in pop cult at this point in history. Funny to see one medium that can barely keep it's head above water $$$ially pay homage to one whose success dwarfs it many times over. Whoops, ranting again.
I'm going to rip off Meghan's CAKE report and note the dogg that guarded  CAKE.
I'm not going to bore you with more pictures of us eating and drinking, but trust me, that did happen a few more times. What you see here is the little piece of paper that helped guide us to a building where these people that adopt collective names perform under, similar to what you would see at some CAKE tables, but also completely different. Lots of sweat, 1$ cans of shit beer, and a roiling basement of comics taste-makers, hangers-on, and general 'looking for a good time'ers. Feel free to guess which category we fall into. The night was capped off by a rainy wait for a bus that we got on, realized it was the wrong one, got off, Raighne found a shrink-wrapped 4-pack of Robocop comics from the early 90's in a shell gas station, then we rode the right bus home and tried to read them. I could (and did) say that was the best find of the weekend, but really that's just boring, ironic posturing, and there's already enough of that for you to find elsewhere.
(In case you can't tell, I'm picking up steam here). Full disclose caption comics: I stole this from their blog. The proper gentle men you see in the bottom-right hand side of this photograph are none other than the same ones responsible for the debauch of the night prior. They also make some of my favorite comics. Mr. Front and Center, a C. Stechschulte, is responsible for a great antho, Sock, now in its second volume. He also helps our new 2dc artist who's slowly advancing on the horizon, Chris Adams, make things happen from time to time. I was also pleased to get the chance to harass the other longhair on one knee: Noel Freibert. He needs no more ego stroking, so you won't see any here. He did take me, an assemblage of have-pretty-much-arriveds, and a devoted audience on an arduous journey called The Violent Line on day one of show. One of the best intro/outros I've seen for a panel.
Aaaannnddd now back to us. Here you see Vincent and I on day two, avoiding contact with all the potential buyers/new friends/cartoonists who pretend not to see us/general passersby. This is why we're in the big leagues.
I'm pretty sure Nic donned this ensemble on day 2, so that's why I'm putting it here. Nic put in a good chunk of time behind the table that weekend, enabling me to get away more than I usually can at these 'things' (coughcoughTCAFcough). Jealous that he actually went and saw at least one sight: the Art Institute of Chicago.
See, I told you Eric made it! This guy avoids the camera like the bubonic, so feast your eyes, the man who helps bring you Prizon Food and other bit-art boners of all shapes and persuasions. In all seriousness though, Eric does awesome work and it was fun having him around to shoot shit with that weekend. As you can imagine, Meghan did her time behind the table as well. I just chose this picture because I look fucking stupid in it, so sorry guys.
I guess Jesus came back on the Second day. He didn't pick up any 2dc books though, so fuck him!
This is when we knew, it was time to go. But now what? E. Fake graciously invited us to rub elbs with some others at his place, but given that we were in Chicago, we just had to take up our friends Neil and Fereshteh on their offer of dinner and mini-comics gorging. A fitting end to a great first show. As others have expressed better than I (looking at Secret Acres now), looks like we have a show to look forward to in middle america next year, and not a moment too soon, as MIX is, for all intents and purposes, done.
I'm going to share some intimate feelings with you: I kind of hate the standard "here's what I picked up/was given to me" shots that have become standard practice for show reports. Something about them just doesn't sit right. I have a few theories as to why, but I don't need to make enemies out of casual acquaintances. But who am I kidding, writing a show report blog post is standard practice, so here's 95% of what I gave money for. I'm only compromising my beliefs a little, as represented by the size of the photo. Minor concessions.

Ok, that's it. Seriously, thanks Neil, E. Fake, and the rest of the CAKE organizers. It was a weekend to remember. I know we look forward to doing it again.

Quick summary of what's to come:
Little Hearts on their way out the door and into your homes, backers!
I'm actually making a mini! 3 different covers, but you can only buy one!
Nic B./Noah V.S. split getting closer!
Holy shit, Will D. has a new comic coming out at SPX, and we're publishing it!
Chris Adams has gotten his period, you can start getting yours soon.
What else am I forgetting, not sure, ask Raighne!

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