Twin Cities Independent Comics Expo Lets Artists Share Original, Personal Works
MCAD’s Comic Club provides an opportunity for students to promote their comics and make fans.
By: Ian Knoll
Most are familiar with Comic Con. Be it San Diego or New York, it's a chance for the biggest companies in entertainment to hype up their latest projects. Twin Cities Independent Comic Expo (TWICE) is much more personal. Put on by the Minneapolis College of Art and Design's Comic Club, it's a yearly event where students can sell original works—prints, zines, or full-on anthologies—all while meeting new fans. “It’s a really nice and friendly atmosphere,” artist Harry Gao says. “And because this is a student-run convention, so many of the people know each other and are already very supportive of each other.”
Students showed off comics in a variety of styles, from dynamic monochrome sketches to flowing watercolors, dealing with subjects ranging from sci-fi, fantasy, and horror to documentary and autobiography. “I think everyone has their own unique story, and I like hearing it,” student Aseret Sperry says. “I like taking real-life stories and events and seeing how I can make that into a story that means something to me.”
TWICE also has many working towards the future. One group presented the first publication of a quarterly series they call LAZER Comics, with plans to continue far into the future, in part by inviting new artists for each volume. “I’d like to stick with this series, maybe do a few self-contained stories and books,” one member says. “But I’d also really like to do toys and video games one day.” Yet in the end, for most students, the art reigns above all other ambitions. “I’m taking it as it comes,” Gao says. “I’m learning what I can about the business side here, but I’m not stressing about it. It’s more about the stories I want to tell than the job I want to have.”
You can follow Harry Gao at sunshine-gao.com, Aseret Sperry on Instagram at @a.z.terry, and LAZER comics at lazer-comics.com.