MICE (Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo) is an annual event held in Somerville, MA showcasing the best in local comics creation. Free for all attendees and proudly all-ages, this event normally would have been a small blip on my yearly conventions/expo calendar. However, it’s local, had guests whom I’ve met before and am quite fond of, and promised to be a lovely and potentially useful way to spend a weekend. In the end, I definitely misjudged how jam-packed and wonderful a smaller event can be — I had a blast.
Though only featuring a little over 100 exhibitors and barely a dozen panels over the the weekend, MICE pulled in some serious names in the industry while remaining true to the goal of being supportive to local creators without trouble. I volunteered at the event, passing out programs, greeting attendees at the entrance, distributing snacks to the exhibitors, watching tables while guests took breaks or snuck away for lunch, and filled in for a live figure-drawing workshop while I wasn’t simply taking in the show; and I have to say: it was one of the smoothest-run and friendliest events I’ve ever been a part of or attended. Coffee and snacks were freely provided for all attendees, yellow balloons were given to exhibitors whose work focused on all-ages/kid-friendly content so parents could find them easily, and there was more than enough staff to go around for the necessary tasks. Granted, these are the kind of priorities that are much easier on a small scale — but it’s not an impossible for goal for larger events. Nevertheless, I was impressed at the job the organizers did and proud to be part of such a helpful team. So much so, that I’m planning on assisting with the organization and running of the event in 2014.
But it wasn’t all just delirium and blind excitement — I was there to get down to brass tacks. Business cards in hand and questions on the tip of my tongue, I had my honest and likable handshake poised to chat up all kinds of influential folks…but in the end, everything was far more organic than I was prepared for. Everyone I talked to was just a fun, interested, and kind person who loves comics and loves making them — the position I aspire to be in — and more than happy to freely talk about all sorts of subjects; it was bliss. Some of the notable guests I had wonderful conversations with were Maris Wicks (Primates, Batman ’66), Joe Quinones (Batman ’66, Captain Marvel), Ming Doyle (Mara), Nate Bellegarde (Nowhere Men), Shelli Paroline (Adventure Time), Braden Lamb (Adventure Time), Nick Bertozzi (Jerusalem), Mike Cavallaro (Foiled!, Foiled Again!), Bob Flynn (Bravest Warriors), Jess Fink (We Can Fix It, Chester 3000), and Colleen AF Venable (First Second Books, Guinea Pig, Pet Shop Private Eye). I was smitten.
By breakdown on Sunday afternoon, I was madly head-over-heels for the show and was itching for more. The sheer amount of kindness, experience, and love that was pouring between the attendees and exhibitors was staggering. The work available was unlike what I’ve seen before, perhaps due to the fact that most of my convention experiences I have are dominated by much larger things that I find myself unable to focus my gaze, Though MICE is small – my eyes were as big as they could get and I’m tingling with excitement for the next one.
On that note, my next few posts will all be about New York Comic-Con as I have been fortunate enough to schedule a handful of interviews, each of which deserve their own post.
My pulls for 10/2 are:
- Catalyst Comix #4 by Joe Casey, Dan McDaid, Ulises Farinas, Paul Maybury, Brad Simpson & Rafael Grampá
- Batman Black & White #2 by Rafael Grampá, Dan DiDio, Rafael Albuquerque, Jeff Lemire, Michael Uslan, J.G. Jones, Alex Nino, Dave Bullock & Jim Steranko
- Fairest #20 by Sean Williams, Stephen Sadowski, Andrew Pepoy & Adam Hughes
- Hinterkind #1 by Ian Edginton, Francesco Trifogli, Greg Tocchini & Jae Lee
- Trillium #3 by Jeff Lemire
- The Witching Hour #1 by Kelly Sue Deconnick, Lauren Beukes, Cliff Chiang, Matthew Sturges, Toby Litt, Annie Mok, Mark Buckingham, Shawn McManus, Emily Carroll, Steve Beach, Jenny Frison & Julian Totino Tedesco
- Mara #6 by Brian Wood, Ming Doyle & Jordie Bellaire
- God Is Dead #2 by Jonathan Hickman, Mike Costa & Di Amorim