• This event has passed. Check out other things to do instead.

Celebrate the comics craft at the free Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo

The Expo returns Oct. 22-23 to a new location at Boston University.


You’ve heard about the mouse that roared? It’s a highly appropriate expression when talking about the 2022 installment of the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo, a.k.a. MICE. After a COVID hiatus and a toe-in-the-water, scaled-down return last year, MICE — the biggest and longest-running independent comics festival in New England — has plans to come roaring back.

The expo, scheduled for Oct. 22 and 23 at Boston University’s Fuller Building, is literally bigger and better than ever: It will be taking up more wide-open space at BU than it did at its old Lesley University site, and its programming will extend even beyond the two scheduled dates, with a slate of lead-up activities and virtual events as well.


But regular attendees shouldn’t worry that it’s gotten too big for its britches: There’ll be plenty of holdovers that people are sure to recognize at the new location, according to the expo’s outreach co-director Zach Clemente, also the founder of the Boston-based comics publisher Bulgilhan Press.

You’ll still see yellow balloons on the tables that offer kid-friendly comics, Clemente told Plus, “we’ll still be handing out cheeses,” he said. “The cheese might be different — we potentially secured a [new] cheese sponsor. So we will see how that goes for us.”

But if cheese isn’t enough to get you on the T to BU, the price might: Admission to MICE remains completely free. And don’t let that “independent” label deter you from bringing the family along, Clemente said.

“I think people have an expectation that the more independent an art scene an event is catering towards, the more niche the audience is, and I think that’s actually kind of untrue,” he said. “MICE especially is pretty much open to anybody who’s interested in any comic.

“MICE is well known for being very kid- and family-friendly, but that is not our explicit purpose,” he said. “We embrace the idea of all ages completely, while also recognizing not all work or not all programming is actually for all ages. But we do have enough for anyone at any age of any readership level to enjoy.”


And while you should probably plan to drop a few bucks on comics and books that catch your eye — they tend to be hard to resist — you can also just immerse yourself in the free programs and workshops that will fill both days and beyond, courtesy of the non-profit event’s long list of grants and sponsors. 

“MICE, and other independent comic festivals like us, are much more focused on the creation and celebration of the comics themselves,” Clemente said. “Which means we do a lot of programming — panels, workshops, demos — all around the making of comics, the themes that come up in comics, talking about different kinds of hot topics are going on right now within the comics community and comics-making scenes, as well as the creators themselves.”

At this year’s MICE, these will include several pre-show events, including “Making Comics with Jarrett J. Krosoczka” and “Cancel Culture: Banning Books Edition,” featuring Maia Kobabe, Jerry Craft, and Jarrett J. Krosoczka, both on Thursday, Oct. 20. The expo will have about 30 in-person programs on subjects like “Comic Life Drawing,” “Building Fantasy Worlds,” “Comics Visual Literacy,” “Teaching (Practically Anything) With Comics,” and “Toontorial: One Panel Comics.”


Special guests will include:

  • Gale Galligan (“The Baby-Sitters Club,” “Freestyle”)
  • Maia Kobabe (“Gender Queer: A Memoir”)
  • Sara Alfageeh (“Squire”)
  • Malaka Gharib (“I Was Their American Dream,” “It Won’t Always Be Like This”)
  • Steenz (“Heart of the City”)
  • Molly Mendoza (“Stray,” “Skip”)
  • Jarrett J. Krosoczka (“Hey, Kiddo”)
  • Aatmaja Pandya (“Slip”)
  • Marika McCoola (“Slip”)
  • Dave Ortega (“Días de Consuelo”)
  • Joel Christian Gill (“Fights,” “Tales of the Talented Tenth”)
  • Alex Graudins (“Improve: How I Discovered Improv and Conquered Social Anxiety”)

In short, there’s something for everyone, both readers and potential creators of all levels.

“We will have workshops for people who have never drawn before, but really want to. We have workshops for people who want a more intermediate approach to the work they’re doing,” Clemente said.

“So ultimately it’s, do you like to read comics?” he added. “You will find something at MICE for sure that you will enjoy, and you’ll probably find things that you didn’t know you wanted to read, but are very excited to now read.”

As for those books for sale, Clemente argues that even the more commercial aspects of the expo are more palatable than at some other, perhaps more mercenary conventions, because MICE is so devoted to the joys that go along with comic-making. “One of our goals is to make sure artists sell their books and make money. But it’s all in the celebration of the craft,” he said. 

In short, here’s how Clemente explains the MICE philosophy: “We love comics deeply. Let’s talk about it, let’s share our love. Let’s discuss the ways in which we work and what makes it special. And I think that love and earnestness permeates the show, the events and everything that we do.”

See the full schedule at For the full interview with Zach Clemente, including more on the new venue, the behind-the-scenes work that goes into planning MICE, and Clemente’s work at Bulgilhan Press, listen to the latest episode of the Strip Search comic strip podcast, below.

See More Events