7 Questions: CAKE edition with Tony Breed

Tony Breed (photo courtesy of Breed)

We have officially left Pride and CAKE month (aka June) behind! Welcome to Pitchfork Music Festival month (aka July), a month dear to this music maven’s heart. Let us continue our look at some fabulously talented LGBT comic creators who were represented at the recent Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE), which took place at Center on Halsted on June 11 and 12.

Speaking of music mavens, today in our weekly New Comics Wednesday series, following Jon Drawdoer, is creator Tony Breed. Besides being an accomplished comics creator, Breed is involved with a community radio station called CHIRP Radio. This volunteer-driven online station has provided an outlet for Breed to DJ from 6 to 9 a.m. every Friday morning, contribute to their blog, and successfully lobby to expand Low Power FM to Chicago and other cities. As a comics creator, both writing and drawing his web-originated comics, Breed has collected his comic strip format into paperbacks, including four volumes of Finn and Charlie are Hitched, and the most recent collection of his Muddler's Beat webcomic, the Kickstarter-backed Literally Everything Is Outside My Comfort Zone. Adding to Breed’s already diverse skill set, he also works as a web developer and UX designer.

I presented Breed and other CAKE tablers with seven questions relevant to the expo and to comics culture at large. Why seven questions? Originally, I had planned to include the small groups' answers into one piece, and the weakest two questions would have been eliminated for a nice, even five questions to see the ceaseless flow of the internet. Instead, the responses I got were so thoughtful they stood on their own. That is how this series began, and after this gathering of CAKE-represented creators have taken a round of questions, I will find another group of LGBT creators and put forth a new set of seven questions. These creators include a number I met through my coverage of Token 3 and Chicago Zine Fest back in April.

1: How does your gender and sexual identity inform your work?

My gayness and my queerness permeates my work. My first comic was based on my own gay marriage, with the goal of portraying gay marriage as ordinary, even boring. As the comic evolved, though, I didn't want to portray monogamous marriage as the only way to be gay, so I began to add other characters to show different ways to be. Though my comics touch on a lot more than sexuality, relationships, and gay life, it is still always present, just as it is always present in my life.

Comic strip from Literally Everything Is Outside My Comfort Zone (image courtesy of Breed)

2: What else inspires your work?

I'm interested in questions of identity in general: the hairstyles, music, jobs, and activities people choose because it reinforces their identity. I've written a lot about the indie rock and hipster scenes, and about corporate life, because those are things I know about.

3: What was some exciting work you found at CAKE 2016?

Unfortunately, I didn't get away from my table enough to discover anything new. I did pick up one new minicomic, however—from Matt Trower, aka Inkmaggot, who was sitting around the corner from me.

4: Once word of the tragedy at Pulse nightclub in Orlando became known did you observe a change in CAKE on the Sunday?

I was not able to come into the show on Sunday, so I don't know, but I know my queer friends were all very traumatized by the event. I myself was dealing with a lot of personal issues that weekend—for one thing, the reason I was leaving town on Sunday was to scatter my husband's ashes in some of his favorite cities—and I didn't have the emotional energy to absorb this great collective trauma.

Breed at his CAKE table (photo courtesy of Carolyn Krassnoff)

5: What development coming out of your experience at CAKE are you looking forward to?

I don't really have any developments coming out of CAKE. For me it was a weekend to sell some books, connect with fans, and spend time with friends.

6: Do you consider yourself an out geek, and what makes you enjoy being a geek?

I'm probably more of a "bourgeois bohemian" than a geek. These days, I associate geekdom with more mainstream pop culture, and I am more interested in the indie scene. I like seeing people being creative, whether that's with comics, art, food, or whatever.

7: What's next in your body of work?

I don't know… I don't have any specific plans at the moment, so I will just see what develops.

Comic strip from Literally Everything Is Outside My Comfort Zone (image courtesy of Breed)

Next Week: Isabella Rotman

Gavin Rehfeldt's picture
on July 6, 2016

Native Chicagoan. Former comics slinger. Current comics reader. Bespectacled.