Last month we got all amped up about the growing voice of Asian Americans in the comics industry, and this weekend the diversification of the comics nation continues with the Cartoon Art Museum's Latino Comics Expo (Sat/7 and Sun/8) -- purported to be the first all-Latino comic convention, ever. So enough with your sad, gringo-fied alcoholic binge of a Cinco de Mayo -- read on for looks at the expo artists with whom you can spend the weekend celebrating the Hispanic contribution to that paneled place in our hearts.
Anthony Oporeza created Amigoman to combat the dearth of Latino superheroes on American shelves. Amigoman is the crime-fighting alter ego of schoolteacher Antonio Alverado, out to avenge the death of his good-natured Gramps. Will he defeat the sexpot overtures of Señorita Sin and the murderous musicality of DJ Kill to make the city of Del Oro safe for all? Oporeza's titles have been available in bilingual editions since 2005, so it'll be easy for Spanish and English monolinguists to keep up.
Rafael Navarro will be at the expo touting Sonambulo, his lucha libre-masked noir hero who has been battling werewolves and Dia de los Muertos zombies since 1996. The name is no coincidence -- Navarro's Hammet-esque stories take on the cast of dreams. Is this really, really real?
Hector Cantú's Baldo is supposed to be the first daily comic about a Latino family ever marketed to the general public, which makes me think of the George Lopez Show, but the strip (going strong since 2000) is actually pretty good. The title character, a 15 year old boy, has to navigate all the pitfalls of classic daily comic adolescence (lame parental expectations, driving lessons, being broke), but also run-ins with peer pressure, racist website comments, and lowrider envy.
And your special guest! Mario Hernandez helped to start the genre of alternative comics, let alone create one of the most well-known Latino series of all time. He and brothers Jaime and Gilbert started Love and Rockets in 1982, the soap operatic tales of punk culture, lesbian love, violence, divorce, and other dramatic turns that saw their main characters progress into middle age. Hernandez will be signing and reading from the series -- which is due for a special exhibition at the Cartoon Art Museum in honor of its 30th anniversary in 2012.
Latino Comics Expo
Sat/7-Sun/8 11 a.m.-5 p.m., free with $7 museum admission
Cartoon Art Museum
655 Mission, SF