Entertainment

Latino Superheroes Flex their Muscles at Chicano-Con

Getting into San Diego’s Comic-Con is tougher than the skin under the Hulk’s heels. After fighting too many losing battles over SDCC badges, David Favela and his crew decided to launch his own convention: Chicano-Con. Hosted at the Border X Brewery in San Diego – a stone’s throw away from Comic-Con – the event showcases under-appreciated Latino comic books, superheroes and art.  We spoke with Victoria Carter, one of the event organizers, and asked “¿Que onda con Chicano-Con?”

The event was conceived as an art show but morphed into something more.

… kickin' it at Barrio Logan's ChicanoCon! … Ajuuuua!!! >:O #chicanocon #danda #baticholo

A photo posted by Carlos D'Anda (@deewerks) on

Photo Credit: @cdeeandawerks / Instagram

“It turned into a family-oriented event focusing on the community, the culture of art, shared experiences and giving back to the community. And just being able to create a creative outlet for artists.”

They want people to get to know their neighborhood, Barrio Logan.

They’re not trying to emulate the busy, frenetic vibe of Comic-Con.

What kind of art is on display at Chicano-Con?

“We have a lot of luchador art. It’s just anything, really, that’s comic related and inspired by Latin Americans, Chicanos, Hispanics. Anything like that.”

So what can attendees do at Chicano-Con?

#barriologanBorderXbrewing #chicanocon #loganandsampson

A photo posted by @ilegalescc on

“We are doing movie nights, giving away free popcorn to the kids. Having a kids corner where they can do arts and crafts and be interactive. We will have vendors there so they can sell their merchandise and just kind of have a really good place to network and mingle and it is going on during Comic Con so it is a good time for everyone to come over here and relax from all the congested areas down there and all the crazy stuff that’s going on. They can just step outside of the zone for a little bit, have a beer and just relax with everyone.”

Chicano-Con @ Border X Brewing
2181 Logan Ave, San Diego, California 92113

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Latinos Make Up A Large Portion Of ‘Essential Workers’ And This Latino Comic Book Is Honoring Them In The Best Way Possible

Culture

Latinos Make Up A Large Portion Of ‘Essential Workers’ And This Latino Comic Book Is Honoring Them In The Best Way Possible

El Paso Hero / Rio Bravo Comics

If the Coronavirus pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that real-life heroes can be found all over. During the global crisis, regular people have realized that everyone from a fast food restaurant worker to a farmworker is a hero in their own way. It’s these people, many of whom are minorities, who have helped keep the country going during these unprecedented times. To so many of us, these front-line ‘essential workers’ are indeed heroes.

One Mexican-American comic book creator, Hector Rodriguez (of El Peso Hero) decided to put these real-life superheroes on the pages of his popular comic book and we couldn’t be more excited.

The best-selling comic book now features America’s front-line workers as the real heroes who are keeping the country running.

Credit: El Peso Hero / Rio Bravo Comics

Comic books are known for telling larger than life stories and inspiring their audiences – and that’s exactly what El Peso Hero is doing with his latest edition. Rodriguez is using El Peso Hero to tell the story of thousands of invisible workers – many of whom are undocumented Latino workers holding America together.

“Comic books are a great way to help people connect,” Rodríguez told NBC News. “But very few stories focus on the people who are feeding us.”

In this special pandemic issue, which is available for free, “El Peso Hero” takes a supporting role to a nurse and other essential workers facing tough day-to-day challenges as the country struggles to combat Covid-19.

In his interview with NBC News, Rodriguez said he hopes his comic can inspire Americans to reimagine themselves in the stories of millions of invisible workers who serve their communities.

It’s more important than ever to shine a light on the often invisible workers who are so vital to this country.

Credit: Salud America / Twitter

For Rodriguez, he hopes this edition will help shed light on the hard work and dedication of millions of invisible workers. People from all backgrounds can find common ground with these front-line workers who like so many Americans are simply trying to create a better life for themselves and their families.

“This is definitely a contrast from “El Peso Hero” fighting corruption, drug cartels, and racism on the border,” Rodríguez said. “Fans will see him in a supporting role to real-life heroes, helping a nurse bring medical masks to agricultural workers, and deliver a much needed message of solidarity and positivity to a community that is often marginalized in the shadows.”

Rodríguez himself comes from a family of immigrants — his grandfather moved from Mexico to Montana in the 1940s as a part of the Bracero Program, which brought in millions of authorized workers from Mexico to the U.S. to work on farms.

What inspired the El Peso Hero comic book series to begin with?

Credit: Rio Bravo Comics

El Peso Hero is a rogue hero standing up to Mexico’s cartels, corrupt border officials, and human traffickers.

Rodriguez told NBC News, “I wanted to create someone like Luke Cage in Harlem, but living in between southwest Texas and north Mexico, who fights cartels, and defends unaccompanied minors and families crossing the perilous border.”

It was stories his grandfather told about drug traffickers attacking vulnerable immigrants on the border that inspired him to create “El Peso Hero.”

“El Peso Hero” started off as a web comic in 2011, and is now scheduled to make its movie screen debut in 2021. The comic gained cross-border fame in 2015 after the Mexican superhero took on then presidential candidate Donald Trump — who started his campaign by saying Mexicans coming to the U.S. were rapists and criminals

This edition of El Peso Hero is so important and special given the bravery and selflessness of front-line workers.

Credit: Tom Barton / Getty

Across the country, millions of Latino workers, many of whom are undocumented, are working on farms, in meat packing plants and govern stores as “essential workers,” while much of the country is shut down for quarantine. Unlike many workers, they don’t have the privilege to work from home and instead are putting themselves and their families at risk to keep the country going.

Historically they are marginalized as outsiders and live in constant fear of deportation. But now the pandemic is showing how vital they really are to society.

The U.S. government calculates that roughly half of all crop farmworkers—1.18 million in 2019—are undocumented. A recent article from The New York Times reports that growers and labor contractors think it could be closer to 75 percent.

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John Leguizamo Is Creating A New Latino Comic Book Superhero

Entertainment

John Leguizamo Is Creating A New Latino Comic Book Superhero

John Leguizamo / Seed and Spark

Colombian actor John Leguizamo is raising money to crowdsource an all-Latino produced comic book series featuring all Latino and Latina superheroes. Leguizamo says he “grew up loving comic books,” but he “knew that there was no white guy in tights like Superman coming to save my ass in my neighborhood,” so he’s creating a Latino superhero of his own. Leguizamo is partnering with Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, the artist who brought us bestselling superhero series “La Borinqueña” and is looking for more Latino artists, illustrators, producers and editors to join the team.

So far, the crowdsourcing project has raised $2k of the necessary $75k to get the project off the ground. 

Meet PhenomX.

Credit: John Leguizamo / Seed and Spark

According to the crowdsourcing website, Seed and Spark, the premise of PhenomX’s story is that “Sometimes, when the powers that be knock you down, you have to transform and bring the system down with you.” Set in present-day New York City, PhenomX’s story begins with an illegal government project to “rehabilitate criminals” in an experimental drug trial that turns them into superpowers. Then, we meet Max Gomez who “is finally about to be released from prison with a second chance at life and fatherhood. But with growing concerns about re-entering the outside world as an ex-con, Max doesn’t know where to turn.”  An FBI agent offers Max an opportunity to capture the “failed experiments,” by giving him superpowers. 

Still, Max “feels like a prisoner. Secrets are still being kept from him, and his target grows stronger every moment. Watch Max as he learns that he’s more than just a statistic… he’s more than just an ex-convict… he’s more than a phenomenon… he’s PhenomX.”

Leguizamo doesn’t want to wait for Hollywood. “Holly-wouldn’t,” he says.

Credit: John Leguizamo / Seed and Spark

I want to share with you this new proposal. We’re going to be entrepreneurs together,” Leguizamo tells a camera stationed outside a Chicago theater just before Leguizamo’s “Latin History for Morons” performance. He’s incognito, “hence the glasses and the hoodie.” Leguizamo is asking us to invite our tías and tíos to contribute to the worthy cause. “I grew up loving comic books, Spiderman, Superman, The X-Men, Sub-Mariner, Thor, but there were no Latin people. What happened? We existed! Being Latin IS a superpower, y’all!” Leguizamo says. The entire project is going to be Latin-fueled. “It’s going to be written by me, a Latin guy, and colored and drawn and penciled by all Latin folks,” Leguizamo continued. “We’re going to have Latinas with superpowers. We’re not gonna wait for Hollywood. Holly wouldn’t. Hollywhite. Forget that. We’re doing it ourselves.”

Leguizamo hopes that PhenomX inspires young Latinos to see themselves as superheroes, too.

Credit: John Leguizamo / Seed and Spark

“In today’s world, it’s incredibly important to support Latin artists,” Leguizamo writes on Seed and Spark. “I hope to use this project to not only inspire the Latin youth community but also celebrate the contributions of Latin artists to the comic book world. There is a lack of Latin representation in Hollywood, and it’s important to showcase Latin superheroes. Now, you can help me by supporting this comic book series to inspire Latinx teens.” 

Every single person who makes a contribution will score swag ranging from stickers to becoming a character in the story.

Credit: John Leguizamo / Seed and Spark

For $25, you automatically receive a digital copy of the first PhenomX comic book. A $75 donation earns you an autographed copy of one of the first PhenomX comic books. Donations of $1,000 or more earn you a slice of John’s favorite New York-style pizza with John Leguizamo himself (travel not included). “If you give super money, then, I’m going to draw a character that looks like you and name a character after you,” Leguizamo says of the highest $10k donation tier listed. 

Leguizamo is the Renaissance Man we need right now.

Credit: John Leguizamo / Seed and Spark

Leguizamo was born July 22, 1964, in Bogotá, Colombia. He moved to Queens, New York when he was just four years old. He is known for his roles in Hangin’ with the Homeboys (1991), Romeo + Juliet (1996) and the voice of Sid in Ice Age (2002). Most recently, Leguizamo has introduced a Broadway play, “Latin History for Morons,” and now he’s dabbling in comic books. We don’t know what you can’t do, Leguizamo. His campaign has drawn in 37 donations totaling $2,033, averaging $55 per donation. Join in on the cause by donating here.

READ: ‘To Wong Foo’ Is An Undeniable Gay Cult Classic And John Leguizamo’s Role As A Drag Queen Is Still One Of The Best Performances

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