November 4, 2014

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MICE 2014: Highlights


I was able to attend MICE 2014 at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Sunday, October 5 and it was a terrific event (our preview here, interview with the show organizers here). There was a nice, diverse crowd in attendance, and as in past years it was a great, family-friendly atmosphere.

While I was only in attendance a relatively short time, I had the chance to talk with Box Brown, Raina Telgemaier and Dave Roman, each of whom were "Special Guests" at MICE this year. I was also happy to get the chance to meet fellow Panel Patterer Whit Taylor in person, along with seeing old friends Jennie Wood and Ansis Purins. My wife and daughters report having had a great time at the "Make your own flip book" session led by artist Bob Flynn.

One of the highlights of my time at MICE was the panel I attended on Science fiction in Indie Comics.  The panelists were Jon Chad, Jerel Dye, Sophie Goldstein, Braden Lamb and Wyeth Yates, and the panel was moderated by Alison Wilgus. The panelists were first asked about their influences in science fiction. Lamb cited Star Wars, Star Trek and the books of Douglas Adams, Yates also mentioned Douglas Adams, along with Ray Bradbury and Akira.  Goldstein cited Dune, Ender's Game, The Left Hand of Darkness, The Handmaid's Tale, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Chad mentioned loving stories involving giant monsters, robots, Godzilla, and also cited the work of Patrick Kyle and Michael Deforge.

L-R: Jon Chad, Sophie Goldstein, Wyeth Yates, Braden Lamb 
and Jerel Dye
Asked why the panelists feel comics lends itself to science fiction, Lamb mentioned that comics are like a bridge between the spectacle of science fiction on TV and movies, and science fiction as literature, and Dye noted that there's no limit, no budget, you can get as crazy as you want. Goldstein noted the diversity within the science fiction genre, it can be personal and unique, as big or small as you want. Chad mentioned that there are sensations in science fiction that comics are well suited to show/tell. Yates also noted that you can take the time to immerse the reader in a world.

In response to the question of whether there were any stories they'd only be able to tell in the context of a comic, Goldstein mentioned  her "disgusting organic spaceship" in Mother Ship Blues and Dye mentioned his story The Disappearance which is told in a completely nonlinear format and according to Dye, it can only be told in comics, no other medium comes close. 

The panel also discussed the uptick in recent interest in science fiction comics. When asked what they were excited about, Goldstein cited "How to be Happy" by Eleanor Davis, and Lamb mentioned the work of Jesse Jacobs and Michael Deforge. The panel also discussed the important role science fiction has played in providing an outlet for social commentary.  Lamb noted that ideally, the best of science fiction is commenting on our world through a different lens. Both Chad and Yates discussed characters they'd created that explored the issue of gender in different ways.

I'd recommend attending MICE next year. It's a great (and growing) event.