Friday, May 17, 2024

Harvard has the Hasty Pudding awards and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology hosts ROFLCon. Lesley University has clearly tapped into the zeitgeist in its own way with its annual Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo.

Here’s a sign: Exhibitor tables for the Saturday show, the third, sold out within three hours of going on sale online, organizers said.

That means there will be more than 150 cartoonists and small publishers in Porter Square exhibiting, selling and talking about their alternative comics, ‘zines and Web comics. Last year there were about 100.

They’ll also be leading workshops on topics as basic as character drawing and injury prevention for cartoonists and as elaborate as how to make specialty foldout books; panels will address everything from comics and medicine (with Cambridge’s Cathy Leamy) to an “Iron Cartoonist” competition in which cartoonists are given themes for comics drawn live before an audience.

The free show was flooded with people last year, but co-sponsors the Boston Comics Roundtable and Lesley’s Art Institute of Boston, have added yet another element: a three-hour New England Comic Arts in the Classroom symposium promoting comics as an educational tool. After its workshops and discussions, participants will join the rest of MICE — mingling with some 1,000 expected visitors.

“There’s so much exciting work being done in independent comics these days, but it’s a rare opportunity to be able to see such a great sampling of it one place,” said Dan Mazur, a Cambridge cartoonist who is one of the show’s organizers. “The great thing about a show like MICE is that so many local creators get to gather together and connect with their fans and with potential readers.”

The guest of honor this year is R. Sikoryak, whose cartoons and illustrations have appeared in such places as The New Yorker, Nickelodeon Magazine and “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and whose graphic novel “Masterpiece Comics” uses a stunning amount of comics parodies to look at classic literature (Example: Ziggy channels Candide; Charlie Brown turns into a bug as “Good Ol’ Gregor Brown”; and Beavis and Butthead take on Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot.”)

The show takes place from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at University Hall, 1815 Massachusetts Ave., Porter Square. Entry is free. More information is here.