Long Beach Latinx community connects with the world of comics at annual expo

Various Latinx and Latine American comic book artists and illustrators took part in the 11th annual Latino Comic Expo

Photo of a crowd looking at art

The Museum of Latin American Art, also known as MOLAA, hosted the Latino Comics Expo showcasing paintings, illustrations and much more on Sept. 9-10.

Founded by Ricardo Padilla and Javier Hernández in 2011, the Latino Comics Expo was first hosted at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco for three years.

In 2014 they came across the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach which is dedicated to displaying modern and contemporary Latin American and Latino art.

The purpose of the expo is to bring creators, fans and the community together and celebrate the art and imagination of Latino artists. The expo is one of the first comic conventions to shine a light on Latino creators and to inspire and raise awareness of creativity in different art forms.

Hernández is an independent comic book creator known for his comic book series ‘El Muerto’.

“I think it’s very important that people can see themselves portrayed as a character, in a book, or even a movie,” Hernández said. “I think more than ever now, they should start showing more representation of different groups in every form of media.”

Photo of stickers of  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle

The convention was filled with many artists representing different cultures and aspects of what Latino representation meant to them in different art forms such as stickers, drawing, bookmarks and paintings.

A booth with a banner dislayed, ‘Comadres y Comics Podcast’ had a section of comic books that focuses on strong Latina female characters and Latino or Latinx characters. One of the hosts of the podcast, Sara Baza, was very excited to see all of the Latino representation at the expo.

“When you see yourself on the pages of the comic as a Latina, it makes your heart sing. I feel like we want to be seen in every aspect in art, in comics and movies,” Baza added that the podcast is being used in a way that they can inspire Latino kids to know that they’re capable of anything and to believe in themselves.

The two-day expo drew in many attendees, one of them, an ethnic studies art teacher who felt his culture was being represented by drawings of ‘80s cartoons with a mix of Aztec art style.

Jesus Magdaleno was fascinated with the art that made him feel represented. He stated he always enjoyed drawing since a young age and as a child he didn’t see many Latino creators.

“I’m very drawn to all of these tables showing a reflection of our culture, but also ties in with other things such as the Ninja Turtles,” Magdaleno said, reminiscing on his memories.

Magdaleno explained how he saw a difference growing up in the ‘80s and just having white characters and now where there is more inclusivity of his culture.

The Museum of Latin American Art hosting the Latino Comic Expo is an example of helping those in the comics community by supporting these independent artists and giving them access to expose and express their art to others. As Hernandez said, “we’re supporting each other como familia.”