by: John Rodriguez
Since its founding back in the 70s, Comic-Con has become the number 1 place to be pertaining to anything involving comics and the major films which blossom from it. Becoming the largest comic convention worldwide, Comic-Con has become the hub to get the latest information on future trends involving comics, games, movies, and T.V. Because of this you can expect to pay a good amount of money—$40 dollars for a day pass and $175+ for a four day pass—if you want to take part in the events.
Over the years, Latino attendees have been flocking to the convention coming from as far as the East Coast of the United States to check out the Con. While most Latinos in attendance say they aren’t going to the Con to find characters that represent their culture, but they are attending hoping to see any Latino or non-Latino Hollywood celebrity. However, this year begins a shift that could possibly change that.
“In the 15 years since I’ve been coming to Comic-Con the Latino fans have grown. And the ones that do come are diehard—traveling quite a distance to be here,” Creator of La Cucaracha Lalo Alcarez said about the growing attendance of Latinos appearing at the convention.
La Cucaracha is the first nationally syndicated and politically-themed daily comic of the Los Angeles Times newspaper. But while its creator adds that he’s not hopeful about the growth of Latino characters appearing in the mainstream entertainment, Alcarez himself is trying to change that. Working with one of the largest television networks, Alcarez is working to create an animated pilot featuring Latino characters which is slated to launch next year, and hopes to be back at Comic-Con next year to promote the show.
Although Comic-Con draws in large crowds there is another “convention” going on across town in South East San Diego. A convention geared towards a community who cannot afford to attend the convention itself. Known as “Counter-Con” this convention will be allow a panel of animation artists and business professionals to speak before children and teenagers of the inner city. Jerry Brice, both the host and moderator of the event, says how “this is the first time this event will happen, and it’s not a Comic-Con event—but that’s partly the point.”
Brice goes on to add how “San Diego Comic-Con is an exclusive event that is hard for even professional artists to get into,” and the panel will be an “effort to extend the excitement of Comic Con into the neglected neighborhoods of South East San Diego, and inspire a child to dream, and to let them know that we do, in fact, care about them.”
The goal of Counter-Con will be to introduce a possible career in animation, comics, or game art fields to at least 200 low income kids. “Guest panelists, whose roads to success started in similar circumstances, will tell the kids how they got to be a pro, and let them know what it took to overcome obstacles, and to achieve their goals in a very competitive and specialized talent-based industry,” said Brice.
Comic-Con is a place where people can walk with others who share a common interest, love, for comics and other genres related to it. They can look among the various booths selling merchandise from limited-edition toys, to vintage comic books, and to a “priceless” autograph of a well-established artist. While these privileged individuals can do that, Comic-Con is a way to bring some of that experience to a struggling community. “I can’t believe nobody’s done this before.” Says Alcarez about the event, “It’s nice to reach out to them (low-come kids) they’re certainly underserved, and I’m pretty sure they’re not at Comic-Con.”
This year’s Comic-Con is sure to leave an impact, as it usually does, but hopefully the event and Counter-Con will do so in more ways than one.