Despite Barrio Logan’s proximity to the San Diego Convention Center – about a mile – this impressive ode to geek culture remains out of reach for many residents of the predominantly Latino neighborhood. With attendees coming into the Barrio looking for cheaper parking, this section of the city saw increased activity during Comic-Con. But it’s not what David Favela – who grew up on a healthy dose of comic books – wanted for his community. Favela, the CEO of Border X Brewing, understands the power of comics. “I struggled in an all-English school system and comic books were my entry into English language and reading, which lead to greater mastery, education and eventually a MBA,” he said, according to the San Diego Free Press.
Last year, he started Chicano Con as a way to bring a bit of Comic-Con to Barrio Logan – except with Latino superheroes and lucha libre at the forefront. On July 23, 2016, Chicano Con returns for its second year, and organizers are gearing up for another dope year. While it’s mostly geared toward his neighbors, it’s easily accessible to other interested Comic-Con attendees – it’s just two miles away from the convention center.
The 2015 event took place over four days and drew 500 people, including Master of Horror Guillermo del Toro. The director learned about it during his Comic-Con panel and decided to drop in. “He loved the artwork, the ‘vibe’ of the place and was surprised at how delicious our Blood Saison was,” Favela told me. “As a Mexican, he had grown up drinking jamaica – the inspiration for our Blood Saison – and loved how it came out as a craft beer.”
Though getting some face time with the elite-level geek made Favela’s night, there’s no doubt that seeing young children walk away with comic books equally made him smile. When asked about a highlight from the inaugural Chicano Con, Favela described the moment a man pulled up to Border X Brewing to donate boxes and boxes of comics. Even as the event gets a slight makeover this year, providing comic books to children remains a priority. “We will continue to give out thousands of comic books to kids in the Barrio, host unique superhero artwork, and set up craft workshops so kids can create their own superhero,” he added.
But the conference will see changes, and simultaneously get bigger and smaller. The 2016 edition takes place in just one day, but organizers expect 700 to 1,000 people to show up. With its “Be Your Own Hero” theme, the first half of the day focuses on kids. Through a series of workshops, the event invites children to learn what makes a superhero and about their own powers. If not the most interactive part of the day, it certainly promises to reach peak cute levels, with kids designing their own capes, masks, and chest plates. Come night time, Chicano Con’s Latino industry night will gather artists, writers, and publishers who highlight our perspective in their work.
In two short years, it’s already proven invaluable to the Latino community. “As Latinos, we don’t exist if we don’t contribute our voice to the creative arts,” Favela said, which is why it’s so exciting that this year’s Comic Con includes a Chicano art panel.
Chicano Con takes place July 23, 2016 at Border X Brewing – 2181 Logan Ave, San Diego, CA – from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m.