Geek culture is universal. At least, that’s what a handful of East Los Angeles natives think, as they prepare to bring East L.A. its very first comic book convention.
East L.A. Comic Con, happening on Saturday, May 20th, is billed as a family-friendly event that will showcase comics, collectibles, artists, creators, and cosplayers.
The event is the brainchild of Peter Mellini, the 35-year-old owner of Nostalgic Books and Comics. With the help of friends and mutual connections — all of whom are East L.A. natives — they hope to make the event a celebration of geek culture and a way for folks in the majority-Latino community to access this type of pop culture event.
“Why should we have to travel as residents of East L.A./Boyle Heights to Downtown, Pasadena, somewhere else when there’s a need for something comics-related, pop culture-, geek-related in East L.A.?” said Jonathan Diaz, one of the East L.A. Comic Con organizers.
Comic Cons are usually hosted at convention centers in metropolitan areas and have become mainstream pop culture events best known for showcasing previews of blockbuster films and cult television shows. In contrast, East L.A. Comic Con will focus on comic books and independent creators. It’s also taking place in unincorporated East L.A. — which has a more than 90 percent Latinx population — at El Gallo Plaza, a former mortuary.
Mellini, whose personal experience as a comics enthusiast helped give birth to East L.A. Comic Con, admits that the idea is a gamble. But it seems like the gamble could pay off. In the week since the Facebook event went live, more than 500 people have RSVPed with their attendance.
— SKAMAN81 (@skaman81) January 7, 2017
— Ms. Textophage (@MsTextophage) November 21, 2016
“I knew there was an interest, but once we put up the event… it’s kind of blown out of proportion,” Mellini said.
If folks would like to contribute to the program, they can send a message to contact@EastLAComicCon.com.