Hector Rodriguez knew that a portion of the lower-income community struggles to attend conventions because of their expensive fees. He decided that it was time for the Latino community to have a chance to attend a comic convention for free.
Last year, the Latino Cultural Center (2600 Live Oak St.) hosted the Texas Latino Comic Con, the first of its kind in Texas. The convention will return to the same venue July 28 and again will offer free admission.
The event will highlight the representation of the Latino community in comics, as well as Latino artists, writers and creators in the comic book community.
“Our stories matter,” says Rodriguez, creator of the Latino comic book series El Peso Hero and co-founder of Texas Latino Comic Con. “What we expect here in the second annual Texas Latino Comic Con is more stories and more creators.”
As he did last year, Rodriguez wants to let the community know there are Latino artists who work in the comic book industry that illustrate and create Latino superheroes.
“It was great seeing their story being represented with illustrations with comic books,” Rodriguez says. “Especially with kids that have never seen a Hispanic superhero speaking their own language and able to represent.”
Rodriguez’s comic book, El Peso Hero, is heavily influenced by the modern-day challenges of people from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. The main story is centered on El Peso Hero, a rogue hero who is standing up against Mexico’s cartels, corrupt officials and human traffickers.
Rodriguez wants to show again that these comics and artists can tackle real social issues.
“One of the great things about Texas Latino Comic Con is the concerning facts of all the social issues that are happening now, specifically in the separation of immigrants,” Rodriguez says.
Besides the focus on social issues, the convention will also highlight artists who work in the industry.
Lalo Alcaraz, creator of the syndicated Latino daily comic strip La Cucaracha and cultural consultant for the animated film Coco, will be the convention's headline guest. There will be an opening reception for Alcaraz on July 27 at Southern Methodist University's Collins Center (3150 Binkly Ave.).
Eliamaria Crawford, a Dallas artist and owner of Elia in a Box Studios, is returning to the conference for a second year.
“This year, I feel like we are growing even bigger and showcasing wonderful independent talent,” Crawford says via email, "whether they're artists, writers, or industry professionals. Showing that many of us in the Latinx culture are working in this comic industry is very much needed, and how do we do that? In celebration form, of course!”
Elia in a Box, Crawford’s production, started out as comic strips that Crawford made for her friends. She eventually decided to share the series online. The goal of the comic is to make people smile and laugh.
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“I have a dry sense of humor and I love to show it through my storytelling of daily life and current events,” Crawford writes via email. “Through the years I evolved not just as a comic artist, but as an illustrator and person. Comics and art have helped me be more comfortable in myself and my ideas, so much that I love sharing it with everyone. That's what got me started with my YouTube channel that not just showcases my art life, but convention life as well. I hope to help others see how fun it is to just create your own way.”
Crawford will host a panel on how to create a comic. She wants guest to enjoy the culture that the convention will have.
“Texas Latino Comic Con is here to share and celebrate culture and the love of comics,” Crawford writes. “We want to make sure everyone can come out and do so in an absolutely positive way. We are able to bring a show that showcases talent, culture, stories and more. We just want to give it all right back by sharing it not just to our Latinx or comic community but everyone who wishes to celebrate it with us.”
11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.: Making Comics workshop
12:30-1:30 p.m.: Lucha Libre in Comics panel
1:30-2:30 p.m.: Cultura en Comix panel
2:30-3:30 p.m.: "El Gato Negro" short with Q&A
3:30-4:30 p.m.: Cosplay contest
4:30-5:30 p.m.: Special guest Lalo Alcaraz Q&A with Dianne Solis
5:30 p.m.: Closing statements