Attention Browntown and Rio Grande Valley gente, devout comic book and graphic novel readers, artists, activists, makers, zine makers and publishers, filmmakers, cosplayers, art admirers, comic nerds and movie fanatics, the Latino Comics Expo is coming to Brownsville and it promises a weekend full of social education, community, and fun events for families and people of all ages.
This year’s comic exposition will be hosted at the Brownsville Museum of Fine Arts the weekend of Feb. 3 and 4. The evening before, on Feb. 2, the expo will also feature a selection of films from all over the world and a film awards ceremony.
Local, national, and binational comic artists/zine publishers and artist activists will be a part of the Artist Alley exhibitor section of the expo. Their work will be available for view and purchase by the general public. There will also be featured panels and comic book workshops for children, a cosplay contest, and an afterparty.
Special guests include nationally known satirist and political cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz, creator of La Cucaracha, Gilbert Hernandez, co-creator of Love and Rockets, and Hector Cantu, co-creator of the comic strip, Baldo. Other special guests include Texas based feminist zine writer and publisher, Suzy Gonzalez, and Educator and Author, Anastasia Betts, whose research centers on graphic novels and comics and their power to engage and educate.
The expo will center women and feminist voices as well as explore social justice issues and education through its line-up of panels and workshops.
“The comic book world, like many worlds, has male-centric tendencies,” Gonzalez said. “It’s important to consciously uplift as many voices as possible, and organizers have the power to do so. We cannot play it safe right now and need to be including social justice commentary in all facets of the art world. Representation, representation, representation! If people don’t see (women) represented in different aspects of culture, they will assume that they don’t partake in it. When (women) gain exposure and support, they benefit, as does every adult and child who sees them.”
Larry Rattner, Los Angeles based Film Producer and co-organizer for the expo told Neta that the first Latino Comics Expo was held in 2011 at the World-famous Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco.
“The goal of the expo since its founding has been to highlight the creativity of comic book artists whose work reflects the influence and celebration of Latino culture,” Rattner said.
Rattner visited Brownsville in December.
“Meeting the Brownsville community and exploring the city has been a great joy,” Rattner said. “Brownville is a warm city with a lot of character and with people who are very friendly and passionate about their city. There is a very positive energy and a grassroots commitment to bring more change to the city.”
Gonzalez added that the geographical location of Brownsville marks an important statement.
“Bringing an event like this to the small bordertown of Brownsville is (a show of) respect for communities that may not always have the opportunity to attend such an event,” Gonzalez said. “We are (aware) that there are folks who are unable to attend due to the checkpoint. We want to let them know that they are not forgotten.”
Hector Cantu, who was born in the Rio Grande Valley, told Neta that the visit will be special for him.
“I’m certainly honored to be a part of the inaugural Latino Comics Expo in Texas and hope I can meet lots of comics fans,” Cantu said. “I’m looking forward to talking to comic strip fans about comics all day long. Who could ask for anything more? Everyday, I try to tell a tiny story about people like me and I always encourage people to tell their own stories as well.”
The Latino Comic Expo will be a fun opportunity for the Rio Grande Valley community to engage, connect with, and learn alongside other national, binational, and local speakers, artists, special guests, and attendees.
“Whether you’re a hardcore Cosplayer, an avid reader of literature, an art lover, a comic book fan, a lover of movies, someone that loves to party and dance,” Rattner said, “there will be many things for you to enjoy at the expo.”
Buy your tickets, become an exhibitor, or read more information here. The Latino Comics Expo is adding more events and guests by day, so make sure to check out their website, Instagram, and Facebook for updates.