While artists from Spain and South America have become superstars at the big two, this weekend’s Latino Comics Expo in LA shines a spotlight on the many Latino creators making waves elsewhere.
The two-day Latino Comics Expo will be held at the Museum of Latin American Art, 628 Alamitos Ave in Long Beach, CA. The mission for the event is to honor past and present Latino creators in the world of comics and those who have influenced them. Span Rodriguez was honored at last year’s expo in San Francisco. It was one of his last appearences before before passing away in November.
The Expo was created by Ricardo Padilla and independent comic book creator Javier Hernandez. Hernandez is famous for his comic book series El Muerto that was adapted as a film in 2007 starring Wilmer Valdmarra and Joel David Moore. “We just had our third annual Latino Comics Expo in San Francisco in May. Richardo informed that MOLAA has an opening for August and they would be willing to have the Expo, so we jumped on the opportunity,” Hernandez said in a phone interview. He also admitted that this will be a very intimate gathering and expects attendance to be around 400 because they had less than two months to promote the event.
On Tuesday, Padilla and Hernandez were downtown Los Angeles getting the event officially recognized by LA County Supervisor Don Knabe. You can see the photos here (and there was a masked wrestler present).
This year there is over forty tables and a laundry list of comic creators, filmmakers and Luchadores. Here are some of big names attending the event:
Raul Aguirre Jr. MAN vs ARTLalo Alcaraz La CucarachaFrederick Aldama Your Brain on Latino ComicsArt! The Magazine Alex TrijjoMichael Aushenker Cartoon FlophouseJose Cabrera Crying Macho ManLuis Calderon Space JohnyJaime Crespo Jaime Crespo.ComRicardo Delgado Age of ReptilesManny Elias Manny EliasEl Verde Anthony Aguilar, Alejandra Cisneros, Luke LizaldeEnkyskulls Steve Guerra & Jessica MirandaEric M. Esquivel EMEcomicsForever Freshmen Neil Segura & Ray MedivilGabriela Gamboa Miss Lonely HeartsCrystal Gonzalez In The DarkJason Gonzalez La Mano del DestinoErik Gonzalez & Erich Haeger Rosita y ConchitaJavier Hernandez El MuertoMario Hernandez Love & RocketsLestat Lestat WrestlingDonna Letterese Drawdvl.ComOzi Magaña Ozi MagañaLiz Mayorga Monstrous Love StoriesPepe Melan Pepe Melan ArtOfloda Monstro OflodaDrawRoman Montes de Oca USMZChogrin Muñoz CHOGRINNinoska Arte Hannibal Garcia & Jacqueline OrtizJohn Narcomey Draw Hard StudiosRafael Navarro SonambuloGerman Orozco GermanOrozco.ComDaniel Parada ZotzJose Pulido Mis NopalesCarlos Rivas Tales of Masked MenNeil Rivas Illegal SuperheroesJules Rivera Misfortune HighGrasiela Rodriguez SpadraOctavio Rodriguez The Cano SpotSimon Sotelo LA ZinefestUltimo Dragon.Com Gary Lee Jackson, Dan MadiganWinestone Entertainment Christian Ramirez
Growing up in Tucson, I lived in a poor neighborhood that was in the heart of a community known as “The Vistas” because of its heavy gang activity. No one else I knew read comics or even heard of a Comic Book Buyer’s Guide. I owned a box — yes, a brown box; I never heard of a “long box” until high school — of various Marvel, DC comics and Image comic books. Those stories were my escape and shaped my moral backbone better than Sunday school session after church. I’ll never forget living vicariously through Wizard magazines that highlighted comics I couldn’t afford or weren’t for sale on the comics rack at the Circle K down the street from my house. Even though I hardly saw anyone that resembled a short, chubby, Mexican-American — or remotely like anyone in Southern Tucson — I still felt like I could relate to this medium more than anyone around me.
This event is also a reminder of the lack of diversity in today’s comics market. When was the last time we heard from the gay Latino Mexican kid in Teen Titans? How many writers, artist, editors with Latin descent are working at the big two? Has there ever been any hispanic character in the Avengers? The same argument can be said for every minority, but the discussion is getting better.
The event hours are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission $9, $6 for students and seniors, free for children 12 and younger. It’s free to attend on Sunday. Programming is included with admission and there will be discussion revolving self publishing creator own comics and discussion on the history of latino superhero characters.
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Henry Barajas is the co-creator, writer and letterer for El Loco and Captain Unikorn. He has also written and lettered short stories for two successful Kickstarter SpazDog Press projects: Unite and Take Over: Stories inspired by The Smiths and Break The Walls: Comic Stories inspired by The Pixies. He is the Newsroom Research Assistant for The Arizona Daily Star and was nominated for the Shel Dorf Blogger of the Year award for his work at The Beat. You can follow him on Twitter @HenryBarajas.