2019 is officially in the books. It was another great year for all things comics. In particular, the Comic-Con phenomena continues to be strong. There were the marquee events in San Diego and New York, yet the footprint continues to grow with even Puerto Rico and Colombia now having annual events.
Trailers, movie and casting announcements often get the majority of the spotlight. ‘LLERO gets boots on the ground to many of the comic-con events and we could not help but notice another side of comic-con. While less heralded, it is no less important. It’ s the artists, animators, storytellers and characters that show just how diverse this world is. Over the years we’ve noticed the Latinx communities, artists and projects worthy of your attention. Here are just a few.
Gabriel Rodriguez of Locke & Key
The bloodline of these events are the actual creators themselves. Throughout the convention floors one can find a variety of artists who are demonstrating and discussing their work. Chief among them, Gabriel Rodriguez. He is the illustrator of comic book series Locke & Key. Rodriguez was on the convention floor at New York Comic-Con greeting fans and discussing his work. He had chatted with us about his work on Locke & Key, its current state and its arrival at Netflix.
LatinxGeeks is one of those groups illustrative of the diversity of the comic-con phenomenon. A group dedicated to bringing positive Latinx representation to all forms of media. Co-created by Alexis Sanchez, the group describes itself as “a community for those who love all things geeky, nerdy, and pop culture…promoting positive Latinx representation in all media, as well as challenging stereotypes, and discussing topics that affect the Latinx community.”
Of the groups many initiatives, it conducts a podcast, appears at and conducts panels in furtherance of their mission at a variety of comic-cons throughout the nation. In 2019, they held several panels at New York Comic-Con, including “The Power of Anthologies: Latinx Stories”. Panelists included Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, creator of La Borinquena, Desiree Rodriguez, award winning editor of Puerto Rico Strong and Kat Fajardo, Honduran-Colombian award-winning cartoonist of Gringa. During the session panelist shared their journeys, struggles and victories as artists of color in the industry. One could not help but come away from inspired, informed or enlightened in some form or fashion.
Marvel’s Hero Project
Even the big boys look to provide a human element to all the super heroics which are celebrated at these conventions. Case in point Marvel’s Hero Project. The studio behind the MCU developed a show that began streaming on Disney Plus in November. But it’s not just another hero drawn from the gallery of characters in the Marvel vault. Hero Project goes grass roots. Finding young boys and girls are doing extraordinary things in their communities. Every child that is a subject of the show is immortalized with their very own Marvel comic. Words however aren’t really enough to describe this docu-show. Seeing is believing.
We can’t forget the projects. A noteworthy one is Seis Manos. An animated series created by Brad Graeber and Álvaro Rodríguez (the latter writer of Machete and From Dusk till Dawn: The Series). Seis Manos made its premiere at New York Comic Con and dropped on Netflix in October. Set in the fictional town of San Simon in 1970s Mexico. It revolves around three orphans trained in Chinese martial arts. When their mentor is killed, they join forces with an American DEA agent and a Mexican policewoman to avenge his murder. Consider it Mexicanime – equal parts animation, action and grindhouse. It’s been received positively by fans and critics alike. Decider stating that “conceptually ingenious, huffing heavily on some mighty grindhouse vibes while adhering to the vivid visual style of anime.”
Here’s hoping 2020 delivers even more diverse talent, stories and communities.