When Hector Rodríguez struggled to find a relatable and fully fleshed out Latino superhero, he created El Peso Hero. And after years of touring the comic convention circuit and failing to see a space in his home state specifically geared to the Latino community, he decided to launch Texas’s first Latino comic con. On July 29, the Texas Latino Comic Con will take place in Dallas, and Rodríguez hopes his event – which is free to the public – attracts crowds typically shut out of comic conventions.
“[Comic conventions normally take] a lot of money,” the Chicano creator and educator told me in a phone conversation. “It’s between $22 and $44 per ticket. And if you have multiple kids, that’s a week’s groceries. So one of the great things about Texas Latino Comic Con is it’s free, and it’s in Central Dallas. It’s a in a place where it’s accessible, and we don’t discriminate on the basis of income, socioeconomic status, because a lot of these conventions cost a lot of money and they tend to discriminate on who’s able to afford to go in.”
The free entry is possible because of Rodríguez’s collaboration with the Latino Cultural Center of Dallas, as well as sponsors Rio Bravo Comics (which Rodríguez began), Funimation, Elia in a Box Studios, Dusk Publishing, and Sentai Filmworks. The premiere event will feature guests Hector Cantú, Joshua Passmore, Eliamaria M. Crawford, Sam de la Rosa, Eddie Medina, and Richard Dominguez. Several of the guests are either from Dallas or Texas, because Rodríguez also aimed to create an event that spotlighted local Latino talent.
In the last few years, big publishers like Marvel and DC Comics have included more diverse superheroes into their rosters. But they’re still often overshadowed by the oldest and most popular superheroes. It’s why over the last few decades, people of color have gone on to create their own conventions. Events like The Latino Comics Expo and Sõl-Con have helped paved the way. There Rodríguez has seen “black and brown folks showcasing their [talent].” Naturally, they’ve inspired him in the creation of his own Latino comic con. That’s why when he first set out to launch Texas Latino Comic Con, he asked Ricardo Padilla – half of the team behind The Latino Comics Expo – for advice. Padilla told him one simple message: go for it.
And that’s exactly what Rodríguez has done for the last few months. As he’s worked on this endeavor, anti-immigrant and anti-Latino sentiment have dominated the news – making it even more essential for us to tell our own stories. In the last few months, he’s worked to build a space that’s welcoming to Latinos and that will provide a respite from the hate that’s permeated many parts of their lives. “Now more than ever,” he said, “with some of the struggles our community is facing, especially in Texas with SB4 and the attack on sanctuary cities, for me, it seems like a big opportunity for us to have a showcase for our community, for our comic book artists.”
Texas Latino Comic Con will take place July 29 at the Latino Cultural Center, 2600 Live Oak St., Dallas, Texas 75204. Learn more here.