Thursday, May 12, 2011


The second day of LATINO COMICS EXPO fell on Mother's Day, which meant a whole bunch of cartoonists were calling their mom's first thing that morning! The Expo was held at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco.

Our first panel of the day was a talk on humor comics. That panel was represented by (left to right), Carlos Saldaña (BURRITO), Jose Cabrera (CRYING MACHO MAN) and Michael Aushenker (EL GATO, CRIME MANGLER).  

One of the many nice things about this event was that we were able to provide space for several local cartoonists, who have recently published their first comics. Among them was Crystal Gonzalez, with her book IN THE DARK:

Here's a shot of (l to r) Rafael Navarro (SONAMBULO), Carlos Saldaña (BURRITO) and Hector Cantu (BALDO) working the crowds:

We had 3 panels scheduled on Sunday, and foot traffic would vary at times, but overall there was always activity on the floor. I know us artists spent a lot of time talking to those of us we haven't met before, and of course we always made the time to greet the patrons to the Expo.

LATINO COMICS EXPO Co-Founder Ricardo Padilla introducing the Mario Hernandez (LOVE & ROCKETS) panel to an enthusiastic audience:

And posing with 3 generations of the Padilla family afterwards:

Anthony Oropeza (AMIGOMAN) came all the way from Kansas City to attend our first Expo. A few years after I had started publishing my own comics (1998), Anthony had begun creating his AMIGOMAN comics. He wrote me back then, basically introducing himself as a fellow creator. It was nice to finally be able to meet one another in person:

Michael Aushenker, pondering out dinner plans for the evening as he signs up a book for a fan:

Michael's prolific output in comics includes EL GATO, CRIME MANGLER, the world's most bombastic masked luchador. Michael revealed some big plans for EL GATO over on his blog...

Rhode Montijo (CLOUD BOY, PABLO'S INFERNO) and I will sign anything a fan asks!

Mario Hernandez (CITIZEN REX) was a pleasure to meet:

He had a great time and is open to returning back again. We chatted about the Adam West BATMAN TV show and 1960s superhero comics! By the way, next year, the Cartoon Art Museum is hosting a 30th Anniversary LOVE & ROCKETS exhibition for all three Hernandez Brothers. 

A local Bay Area cartoonist, Jaime Crespo:

I had met Jaime Crespo years ago at the Alternative Press Expo, held yearly in San Francisco. His comics revolve around slice-of-life scenarios, often detailing Jaime's life growing up in the Bay Area. He's always fun to talk to, as he's got stories about everything!

The last panel we had scheduled for that day was the SELF PUBLISH YOUR COMICS PANEL. I moderated the panel, which featured (l to r): Rafael Navaro (SONAMBULO), Jaime Crespo (SLICES) and a pair of new creators, Mario T. Lanao and Cristian Garcia of RELUCTANT ZERO.

Jaime, Rafael and I each have between 13-20 years of making comics. Several times throughout the panel, Mario and Cristian referred to us as the veterans of the group. Which got me thinking that, yeah, it's been a hell of a long time since I started self-publishing my own comics! It was a good mix on the panel, with us 'old-timers' offering our experiences in the trenches, and hearing from the younger artists about what they've encountered so far since releasing their book. It was actually their first panel, so it was nice to be able to provide a forum for a new group of artists.

Overall, I have to rank the LATINO COMICS EXPO as one of the highlights in my career in comics. An important event culturally, and historic in it's significance. My thanks again go to my friend and fellow Co-Founder, Ricardo Padilla. Along with his family, wife Rosalinda, daughter Sophia, son Andres, and even his parents, Ricardo pulled out all the stops in making this event happen.

Thanks also to Andrew Farago, Summerlea Kashar, Ron Evan, intern Megan and the entire staff of the Cartoon Art Museum for opening their doors to us and helping us launch the first ever LATINO COMICS EXPO.

Thanks to all our guests and exhibiting artists for really making the show what it was, a gathering of cartoonists and writers whose work celebrates the influence of the Latino culture in their art and lives. Special thanks to those that volunteered their time to the Expo (Kate, Jarrod and others). And thanks to the fans and friends and family who came to support the event, and support us everyday of their lives with there love and friendship.

One last pic I must share. I started self-publishing back in 1998. And at that time, my friend Rafael Navarro had started about 2 years before, with his SONAMBULO comics. Around that time, I had met Michael Aushenker through Rafael in Los Angeles, and Michael had been publishing a few years already. When I started my book, I also met a young fellow named Rhode Montijo, who had just begun releasing his PABLO'S INFERNO comic books. We soon began hanging out together at shows, and either rooming together or traveling together up and down the California convention circuit. For a few years or so, we even joined forces as a loose collective called BIG UMBRELLA.

It's amazing to me, that all these years later, we're still in the game, doing what we love. It had been a while since all of us were at the same event as exhibitors, so this EXPO was a great way to bring us all under the same roof once more. So, thanks to my dearest friends, earliest fellow self-publishers, favorite collaborators and inspirational artists for standing once more with me under that big umbrella!


Greenblatt the Great! said...

Awesome round-up, Jav! I'm going to post on it as well and link to this great piece. Thanks for capturing the magic, it was easily one of the best comics signings I've ever taken part in, and that includes all Cons and APEs.
A terrific weekend - many thanks to the Padilla Family for making this whole thing come together....and all the crazy driving around! Ricardo learned the hard way what happens when a bunch of mentally disorganized cartoonists hit San Francisco all at once! :)

Greenblatt the Great! said...

OK, everyone, and here's my additional take on the First Annual Latino Comics Expo:

Thanks, Javy, for this great write-up of the convention. It's always the most fun when you and I get together for a road trip and a show!