The Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo (MICE) ran from October 4 and 5, 2014 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It’s been a free annual event since 2010 as a joint effort between the Boston Comics Roundtable and Lesley University College of Art and Design to create a showcase for artists and creators working in comics in the greater Boston-area.

I headed down on Saturday for a quick spin around the event. I had been looking forward to MICE for weeks but forgotten I had a meeting in the afternoon. Oops!

The exhibitors were spread out along corridors, hallways and three different meeting rooms. An amphitheater off the main hallway held all-ages comics programming throughout the weekend. Of note was the variety of wares; art ranged from black and white ink through traditional watercolor painted and everything in between. Non-standard comic book sizes like chap book and zines gave more options for story and art layout.. As someone who doesn’t read of ton of the “Big Two,” finding titles about farming, mental health, or seasonal vegetarian recipes really makes my day.

I was also pleased to see  diversity in the artists and creators themselves. I spoke with many female creators such as Raina Telgemeier, Kori Michele Handwerker, and Molly Ostertag.

Speaking of Molly Ostertag, I’d been looking forward to meeting her since the Strong Female Protagonist  Kickstarter. The project was so well-received, I wanted to congratulate her and she her reaction to its success. Earlier in the week, she’d been posting about her(?) trials and tribulations on Twitter after receiving her pounds and pounds of Strong Female Protagonist books which of course reminded me that I had yet to buy my copy.

The laid back atmosphere encouraged conversations between attendees and artists and I had the chance to have meaningful conversations with several artists. Creators often  take time to chat at most cons, but this setting felt a little more relaxed. Maybe it’s a residual effect of being held in a collegiate space.

From my perspective, it seemed well organized; my only gripe was the space between tables in the smaller rooms was tight, whichmade it  hard to have people looking at tables on either side and have space for attendees passing through .

Overall, MICE exceeded my expectations. There were lots of  independent artists and a good variety. I wish I had had more time to explore additional artists and new-to-me titles, but the MICE website keeps a handy reference of exhibitor information for me to explore from home. MICE will definitely be on my list for 2015.