Comics events rush in heroically to free weekend

Saturday’s all-day Mice, or Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo in Porter Square, caps a series of Cambridge events related to comics. First up is an anthology release party tonight in Harvard Square. (Image: Pete Simon)

They can’t afford to live here, but comic artists seem to have made Cambridge their home nonetheless.

Tonight at 7 is the release party for “Minimum Paige,” the anthology of local comics put out by Harvard Book Store. The next day is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s “Release your inner Superhero” comic book fair. Two days later comes the all-day Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo at Lesley University’s University Hall in Porter Square. Along with Lesley’s Art Institute of Boston, the co-presenter for the event — called Mice — is The Boston Comics Roundtable, which meets weekly at The Democracy Center in Harvard Square.

More than 100 exhibitors have signed on for Mice, from DigBoston’s Tak Toyoshima and the Dig itself to writer Kevin Church, artists Joe Quinones and Maris Wicks and even Topatoco, the custom merchandiser and online retailer that allows artists such as Questionable Content’s Jeph Jaques to quit his day job and draw full time.

Despite the lengthy list just of official participants, organizers promise a cozy event uniquely focused on independent and alternative comics, small publishers, webcomics and zines.

“While most comics conventions around the country are turning into major media events, MICE will offer an intimate and relaxed environment,” said Dan Mazur, a member of the Roundtable that does live in Cambridge. “Comics fans and newcomers alike — of all ages — can be introduced to new and unusual works, as well as meet the creators and learn firsthand about independent comics and the individuals and communities that produce them.”

In addition to exhibits and a daylong series of panels and courses (including “Comics and social change” as well as more practical lessons in inking and lettering), there is an evening scheduled with improvisational cartoons by local artists and a raffle to benefit a local comics-related charity (and, of course, wine and snacks).

First though, comes “Minimum Paige,” including work by winners of a six-week summer contest. Quinones, who draws for DC, is represented, as well as Mazur and several others. (The roundtable makes its own anthologies, called “Inbound” and “Outbound.”) The store, where an Espresso book machine will be printing copies of the anthology, is at 1256 Massachusetts Ave., Harvard Square.

The Saturday expo is at 1815 Massachusetts Ave., Porter Square. Admission is free. For information, click here.

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