Culture

Here’s Why Chicano-Con Is Attracting Big Names Like Guillermo Del Toro

Comic-Con is known to bring in more than 150,000 superfans to San Diego every year for five days of geeking out. However, when a group of Chicanos saw a lack of representation at Comic-Con, they decided to start their own con.

While you’ll likely see a Chewbacca or Sansa Stark waiting in line for the bathroom at Comic-Con, one thing you will have a hard time finding are Latinos.

CREDIT: Brothers Bear Podcast

Comic-Con, which began back in 1970 as a small meet up between fans and artists, now features hundreds of panels with major stars, industry insiders, artists and writers.

Over the years, people have called out Comic-Con and its organizers for the lack of Latino representation on panels. For example, this year, there are only a small handful of panels that feature or focus on Latinos in the industry, such as panels on Chicano Comics and a Univision panel which focuses on creating animated series. And it’s not like Latinos aren’t attending Comic-Con or in the industry. They come in droves, rocking their Han Cholo, Princess Loca and Artudito costumes as seen above.

That’s why Chicano-Con, a three-day convention that focuses on bringing Latino comic fans and artists together, was created.

CREDIT: CREDIT: GMONIK

At Chicano-Con you’ll find comic books, art, costumes and – because this is a gathering made by and for Latinos – tacos, live music, superhero piñata breaking, and of course, Latino artists. The event, which started in 2015, takes place July 21-23 at Border X Brewing in Barrio Logan, a historically Chicano community in San Diego that’s just two miles east of where the madness of Comic-Con takes place.

“Comics and the popular arts are important to the Latino community and can play a role in children’s lives, just like they changed mine,” says event co-creator David Favela, who learned to speak English by reading comic books. “While Comic-Con is an incredible event, there really isn’t one place for all the Latino/Chicano artists to connect and inspire each other. We try to do that, and we try to support these artists in their journey into the popular arts.”

Chicano-Con isn’t a dingy event. Big players come out to play, like legendary director, Guillermo del Toro.

CREDIT: CREDIT: David Favela

Cartoonist and writer Lalo Alcaraz, who wrote for the Fox animated series “Bordertown,” helps organize, does a meet-and-greet and participates in Chicano-Con’s panel every year.

“I’ve been going to Comic-Con for 10-15 years and started noticing there was more and more Latino comic fans and people from across the border,” says Alcaraz, who is on the Chicano Comics panel at Comic-Con as well. “Now we need the comics industry, Comic-Con and the ensuing exhibits and panels to reflect that. We need more diversity. It’s inching along, but we need more.”

Chicano-Con isn’t the only comic book convention Latinos are creating for themselves.

The first ever Texas Latino Comic Con is coming to Dallas on July 29 and the East L.A. Comic Con just happened in Los Angeles in May.

Latino-centric comic conventions are important because it gives Latino artists a space to be supported, especially because, as Favela puts it, “Latino parents influence their kids to work at real jobs, to do something respectable.”

“My respects to any Latino who has flourished in a community that did not support their art or work,” he adds. “It’s not easy trying to be an artist in most barrios.”

Plus, Latino comic fans have a place to celebrate their geekiness and their culture. Even as Comic-Con does better to represent Latinos, Chicano-Con will continue to bring the Latino perspective.

READ: Comic Con Comes to East L.A.

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25 Cosplayers Of Color To Help You Get Through Missing This Year’s Comic-Con Now That It’s Canceled

Entertainment

25 Cosplayers Of Color To Help You Get Through Missing This Year’s Comic-Con Now That It’s Canceled

gamegoddess4ever1 / Instagram

Remember when we all used to play dress up as a kid? Well, guess what: there are people out there who still do it … and they take it to the next level. We’re talking professional, amigos. And let’s face it, with the rise in popularity for Marvel and DC superheros, who wouldn’t want to feel and look superhuman for a day? One of the best things about cosplay is the fact that you can interpret characters whichever way you want. It’s one way that Latinos can reshape representation in an industry that capitalizes on whiteness.

So for all you babes out there who are keen to see Latino and black cosplaying in action: look no further! We’ve put together a list of 25 black and Latino cosplayers for you to thirst over.

1. Soni Aralynn

Instagram: @soniaralynn

Probably one of the coolest things about Soni Aralynn is the fact that not only does she wear her cosplay with perfection, she also makes some of the outfits herself! This lovely Latina is a jack-of-all-trades, performing as an actress, influencer, and gamer on top of her cosplays.

2. Rosy Durán

Instagram: @rosydurancosplay

Rosy Durán is one epic abuela. Her claim to fame is stellar re-creations of the likes of Stan Lee from the Marvel Universe, and Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter. Although, you should also keep an eye out for her rendition of Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother!

3. La Latina Otaku Cosplay

Instagram: @lalatinaotakucosplay

Remember playing Crash Bandicoot as a kid? Because Carmen sure as hell does. She pulls off an amazing Coco, Crash’s sister. This New Englander Latina is prolific, with cosplays such as Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke, Sakura from Cardcaptor Sakura, and Cid from Final Fantasy XV to her name.

4. Toxicfoxx

Instagram: @toxicfoxx

Not only is Toxicfoxx a Latina cosplayer, but she is also a real advocate for more visibility around Latino cosplayers! She currently runs the Tumblr ‘Cosplaying While Latino’, which aggregates content from her fellow Latino cosplayers.

5. Candu Stark

Instagram: @candustark

It doesn’t get much cooler than doing a Captain Marvel cosplay right now! Check out Candu Stark’s rendition of a gender-bent Pennywise if you want to see what her other work is like.

6. Leiracosplays

Instagram: @leiracosplays

Leira’s talent knows no bounds when it comes to Disney cosplay! Her work hits right in the feels for us ‘90s kids out there. Think along the lines of Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Roxanne from A Goofy Movie, LaCienega Boulevardez from the Proud Family, Kairi from Kingdom Hearts, and even a gender-bent Spiderman! 

7. Ivy Doomkitty

Instagram: @ivydoomkitty

Ivy is one talented cosplayer. Not only is she killing it internationally on the scene, she commands a formidable resume of gamer, content creator, pinup model and body positive advocate. Her work is a real nostalgia kick for all kinds of nerds out there – here we have a kickass Chell from the Portal series!

8. Nadya Sonika

Instagram: @nadyasonika

A self-described cosplay maniac, streamer, TV host and Gundam pilot, Nadya has got cosplaying down to a fine art. Beyond her Black Widow and Sleeping Beauty re-creations, she has also dressed as the likes of Harley Quinn from Suicide Squad, Spiderman form the iconic franchise, and Asakusa from Neon Genesis Evangelion.

9. The Princess Lissa

Instagram: @theprincesslissa

Who says we can’t stan amateur latina cosplayers, too? Lissa has a fabulous portfolio – beyond her Elphaba from Wicked and Belle from Beauty and the Beast, she has also donned Ariel from The Little Mermaid, Rapunzel from the iconic Disney movie Tangled, and Alice from Alice in Wonderland.

10. The Latino Joker

Instagram: @latino_joker

Known in his everyday life as Carlos Velarde, the Latino Joker makes for one stellar Joker from Batman, and all-round horror character re-creationist. Let’s just hope we don’t bump into him in a dark alleyway somewhere, because his attention to detail is intense

11. Victoria Avalor

Instagram: @victoria_avalor

Hi, hey and hello Supergirl and Wonder Woman! Victoria has one fabulous talent for cosplay, and it shines through her other work – keep an eye out for Elsa from Frozen and Wednesday Addams from the Addams Family!

12. Nerdtastic Mel

Instagram: @nerdtasticmel

Mel has done some phenomenal work on the cosplay scene. Chuckie from Rugrats? Check. Nurse Joy from Pokemon? Check.

13. Cookiemodel

Instagram: @cookiemodel

Cookie has some serious talent when it comes to creating her own outfits. This Maleficent? All home-made. Amazing.

14. Zyraleecosplays

Instagram: @zyraleecosplays

Real talk: does it get much more mind-blowing than stellar cosplays of both Dora Milaje and Domino? Probably not.

15. Luvdinero

Instagram: @luvdinero

We stan a babe who can pull off a cosplay that’s even better than the original – and has the versatility to pull off the badassery of Domino, and a law-abiding know-it-all like Hermione. 

16. Chaiho Cosplay

Instagram: @chaiho_cosplay

This self-described “kpop trash” pulls off Wednesday Addams like it’s no-one’s business. For those Steven Universe fans out there, she has also cosplayed as one of the all-powerful Diamonds, too.

17. Cosacommotioncosplay

Instagram: @cosacommotioncosplay

If Marvel ever needs to find another person to play Gamora, they now know where to look.

18. Maryvampireprincess

Instagram: @maryvampireprincess

Raise your hand if you were a Neon Genesis Evangelion fan in the 90s! No? Well, you’re in luck, fellow anime fans, because there’s a reboot in progress. In the meantime, check out this divine Rei cosplay.

19. Denetrabfit

Instagram: @denetrabfit

Even though Denetra focuses on fitness for her day job, this cosplay makes us want to get fit. Imagine being so multitalented: having this bod, and pulling off a Goku cosplay like this? You know she has talent when she has her own fanbase making fanart of her timeless Dragon Ball hero interpretation.

20. Tatted_poodle

Instagram: @tatted_poodle

We all know that Halle Berry made the best Catwoman – even if her movie of the same name wasn’t the most popular. And it’s even better seeing Michelle channel this.

21. mynamesash_

Instagram: @mynamesash_

After seeing this brilliant Poison Ivy cosplay, it’s abundantly clear: we need a Poison Ivy movie, stat.

22. Moonlovingloser

Instagram: @moonlovingloser

Time for some LGBTQI representation, with Korra from animated series, The Legend of Korra! Frances is a prolific cosplayer, drawing her inspiration from animation and anime. 

23. Mapetitecosplay

Instagram: @mapetitecosplay

The caption says it all: “Storm, Goddess of Thunder and Lightning”. Thor, who? Mapetitecosplay has badass down pat – think along the lines of Wonder Woman from the hit movie, and Yoruichi from Bleach.

Which cosplayer was your favorite of them all? Has this inspired you to try cosplay, or are you already performing on the scene? Let us know what you think on our Facebook page by clicking the icon at the top of the page!

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The Guy Behind ‘La Borinqueña’ And John Leguizamo Are Hiring An All-Latino Staff To Launch An Indie Comic

Entertainment

The Guy Behind ‘La Borinqueña’ And John Leguizamo Are Hiring An All-Latino Staff To Launch An Indie Comic

John Leguizamo is busy as hell. The actor (and boycott-starter) has back-to-back film and TV projects, and he wrapped up his one-man show in New York City earlier this year. The Colombian thespian is also starting a whole new project and we’re totally psyched about it.

John Leguizamo announced on his Instagram that he will be debuting a new comic book at this year’s New York Comic Con.

My 1st comic will be released that week and I will b there in person to sign!

A post shared by John Leguizamo (@johnleguizamo) on

A whole comic book series devoted to Leguizamo? Insane, right?

Leguizamo is collaborating with “La Borinqueña” creator Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez.

CREDIT: Courtesy Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez

As we mentioned last year, “La Borinqueña” centers on an Afro-Latina superhero with a mission to serve, educate, and inspire. Just like “La Borinqueña, it features an all-Latino team. Leguizamo’s comic book will also highlight Latino talent exclusively.

mitú spoke with co-creator Edgar Miranda-Rodriguez about their upcoming project:

I know you can’t give too much of the story away, but will the protagonist be Leguizam? Will it embody him in some way? Or is he writing a whole new character altogether?

John’s work is always personal. All of his award-winning plays have always been told from his life experience. What’s beautiful about his storytelling is the universality of it. As Latinos, we’re immediately drawn to his voice, because he sounds like us. In my case, we literally sound alike because we both have lisps! 😉 Seriously though, the body of John’s work has always been about creating a narrative about the American Latino experience and he is introducing this to a mainstream audience. This is what he aims to do with this comic book and that is why we’re debuting it at the New York Comic Con. This comic book will be in the same tradition of his previous work, this time, however, you’ll be able to see the images he talks about in his plays.

What other comics have Latino protagonists? Is there an indie comic book scene created by Latino talent that could go mainstream?

There are a few comic books with Latino protagonists, particularly in the superhero genre. The first one was created by George Perez in 1975, Marvel’s White Tiger. However, this comic book is not within the superhero genre nor is it published by a corporate imprint. It’s self-published by John Leguizamo, produced by me. I edited his script and art directed a team of incredibly talented comic book pros that are all Latino and native New Yorkers, as are myself and John. The closest comparison is “Love and Rockets” by Jaime Hernandez, Gilbert Hernandez and Mario Hernandez, aka The Hernandez Brothers. They self-published their first issue in 1981 and then Fantagraphics republished it the following year with a color cover. The Hernandez Brothers told stories in what the comic book industry refer to as alternative comics because there were no capes or powers. All of their stories were told either from the Latin American and Los Angeles experience. John’s story, like all of his writings, is told from the perspective of New York City.

Do you know if Leguizamo was inspired by “La Borinqueña” to create his own comic book?

John loves La Borinqueña. He loves her as a character, but more so what she stands for. His daughter has a copy of the comic book and he respects that the comic book serves to raise awareness of the real world social issues affecting Puerto Rico. What truly inspired John about La Borinqueña is that I did it myself. Latinos have been waiting so long for our own hero in her own book. We’re tired of being the sidekicks, the victims, or worse, the villains. It takes us to do it ourselves to finally show the world and us that our stories matter. Our heroes matter, and, mostly importantly, we have the the talent to do it. La Borinqueña was produced by my studio with an all Latino roster of professional talent. John’s comic book was also produced with roster of Latino talent which includes Christopher Sotomayor, Chris Batista, Gustavo Vazquez and Sabrina Cintron who debuted as an artist in La Borinqueña. Latinos have been making comic books for decades, since the 1940s when Alex Schomburg came from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico to open a studio in New York City with his brothers and was offered his first comic book gig drawing covers for Captain America when Marvel was still called Timely Comics. It’s only now that we’re working together to produce and publish our own comic books with our own heroes. Ya era tiempo.

READ: ‘La Borinqueña’ Is The Afro-Latina Superhero The Comic Book World Has Been Missing

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