New York may get the big shows, but Boston has a vibrant local comics scene and is building up a nice slate of events throughout the year. Boston Comic Con was like a teeny-tiny version of NYCC, with name creators (Darwyn Cooke, Stan Sakai, Frank Quitely) chatting with dozens of fans in small conference rooms. MICE, the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo, is like a mini-MoCCA, just one day long and featuring a number of talented creators. The lineup of exhibitors includes Box Brown, Kevin Church, Alexander Danner, Ming Doyle, Gareth Hinds, Dirk Tiede, and Tak Toyoshima, plus lots of people you never heard of who are quietly doing interesting, innovative work (that’s not a punt—I saw a lot of these people at BCC.)
The schedule includes lettering, coloring, and webcomics workshops and panel discussions on comics for children (featuring my Good Comics for Kids collaborator Robin Brenner), comics and social justice, comics and fashion, and more.
It all happens Saturday, from 10 a.m to 4 p.m., at Lesley University in Porter Square, Cambridge. Here’s an insider tip: It’s in the same building as a Japanese mall, which has lots of inexpensive noodle shops, one nicer fish restaurant, a bubble tea stand, and a lovely Japanese/French bakery, so plan to stay local for lunch. Admission to the show is free, and there’s plenty to see. I’m planning to make a day of it, and if you are in the Boston area, I’d highly recommend it.
Alexander Danner sent a note yesterday to say that he has finished Gingerbread Houses, his retelling of the Hansel and Gretel story, and it is now complete online. He has also been releasing the story in a series of mini-comics, and the last one should be ready in a couple of weeks.
Written by Danner and illustrated by Edward J. Grug III, Gingerbread Houses presents the Hansel and Gretel story as if it had really happened and explores the dyanamics of a family in which the stepmother tried to kill the children, their father didn’t stop her, one child was force-fed in anticipation of being eaten, and the other had to rescue them all. Some of the most powerful passages are the ones in which Danner juxtaposes the words of the traditional story with images that show a different aspect; in the opening scene, for instance, the words tell of Hansel and Gretel being left in the forest while the images show their father and stepmother at home after leaving them. Grug’s cartoony, expressive art keeps it at just the right emotional pitch, and at just 97 pages, this is an amazingly moving story.