Leo Barrera/LA Weekly
Latino artists transforming the U.S. for the better.
Back in 2010, comics creator Javier Hernandez was walking around San Francisco with his friend Ricardo Padilla when he had an idea: Why don’t they build a comics convention focusing on the works of Latino artists and writers? Hernandez, best known for his comic El Muerto, had been working independently since the late 1990s. He could make that happen. A year later, the first Indie Latinx Comic Book Expo took place at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco. It was a hit that eventually moved to Southern California and into Long Beach’s Museum of Latin American Art. On Nov. 11 and 12, Latino Comics Expo returns for its annual event with guests Los Bros Hernandez (ofLove and Rockets fame), director Alex Rivera (Sleep Dealer), graphic novelist Cathy Camper (Lowriders in Space) and many more.
Latino Comics Expo isn’t the only such event in the country. Last summer, Texas Latino Comic-Con launched in Dallas. Later this month, the East Coast will get its first Latinx comic convention when Nerdtino opens in Philadelphia. Hernandez points out that there are also conventions dedicated to comics specifically from black and Native American artists. All that points to the diversity within the comic book world that goes beyond what you see in big-budget superhero movies.
Hernandez, who is based in Whittier, recalls his introduction to comics as a child in the 1970s. His brother had passed along a stack of DC and Marvel titles his way. “Of course, when I got done reading that stack over and over, I made my way over to the local 7-Eleven and started buying my own comics,” he says in a phone interview. One of the comics he remembers reading as a child was Marvel’s White Tiger, which followed a superhero who was Puerto Rican. The character’s co-creator and artist was George Perez, famed today for his work on series like Wonder Woman and Teen Titans.