Comic-Con conventions are known as colorful where adults and children alike dress like their favorite comic book heroes. But, the events do lack “color” in one regard – they’re not diverse gatherings.
The lack of minority representation at comic conventions has led some cities like San Diego to create their own spin-off events. Texas’ first ever Latino Comic-Con kicks off later this month in Dallas. The July 29 event was created by Texas comic creator Hector Rodriguez.
“As a community, we’ve been very patient,” Rodriguez says of Latino comic enthusiasts. “We’ve always been involved in the comic book medium as consumers. Growing up on the border, I’ve always been accustomed to Mexican comics, as well as the American comic books. I felt that the time is now for Texas to have its own Latino comic-con.”
While some Latino comic heroes, like Marvel’s America Chavez, do exist, Rodriguez says the diverse superheroes are not as popular as mainstream characters.
“They’re there, but they tend to be more stereotypical and more D-list superheroes – kind of be in [the] background,” Rodriguez says. “At times, some of the big companies tend to use diversity as a tool to generate income.”
The lack of well-rounded Latino superheroes led Rodriguez to create his own “El Peso Hero,” which he says covers “contemporary issues of immigration and border violence.”
He says the Dallas event will include cosplay, panels and short film screenings. Special guests will include Hector Cantú, the creator of the first Latino family syndicated comic strip “Baldo,” as well as Marvel comics veteran Sam de la Rosa.
After years of speaking at Texas comic-cons, Rodriguez says he observed that the cost of entrance limited some fans from participating in the events. He says it was important to him that the Texas Latino Comic-Con be free to all.
“One thing about these conventions is that they’re costly, so in a way they tend to discriminate [against] lower-income families,” Rodriguez says. “I created this event in a way to make sure that it’s all inclusive– that everybody has an opportunity to get into the comic book spirit and enjoy what a comic book convention has to offer.”
Written by Rachel Rascoe.