By Arturo R. García
While San Diego Comic-Con has become linked with the city’s economy, it’s worth pointing out that one reason other cities probably feel they have a shot at wresting it from San Diego’s grasp is, there’s very little inside the event that actually reflects the city.
Over the weekend, the Chicano-Con exhibit began putting more of the “San Diego” back into this sphere. The event, a pair of two-day art exhibitions inside Barrio Logan, a neighborhood less than a mile from the convention’s high-rent district that formed its identity in the early 1900s with the infusion of refugees from the Mexican Revolution. Brent E. Beltrán, highlighted this disparity in the San Diego Free Press:
Comic-Con International recently bought a building at 16th and National in Barrio Logan. Yet no official events are scheduled to take place here.
There’s not even a shuttle bus stop yet there will be Comic-Con buses running every twenty minutes down Cesar Chavez Parkway heading towards the freeway. And there will also be countless attendees using this community as a parking lot to escape the outrageous parking fees.
Yet no official activities take place here. No outreach has been done to incorporate a low income, mostly Latino community impacted every year by Comic-Con. And that is unfortunate.
We love comics and the popular arts as well. We’re even known for our art. Yet, Comic-Con ignores us.
There are more events on tap in the area during SDCC weekend, which we’ll highlight in our upcoming convention preview. But this past Saturday, we went to Border X Brewing for the Chicano-Con exhibition, and you can see most of the artwork on display under the cut.
By Arturo R. García
Over the weekend I went to the third annual San Diego Comic Fest, which has pointedly positioned itself as the anti-Comic Con.
Specifically, the size of the event is kept manageable for vendors, presenters and attendees alike; no conference room holds more than 40 or 50 people at one time, allowing for a more relaxed atmosphere and easier conversations between panelists and their audiences.
One end result is, panels focusing on diversity don’t feel as lost in the shuffle. And the Latino Comics panel covered not only industry trends within Latin America, but the rapidly-evolving effects of Latinidad on the U.S.’ identity.
by Latoya Peterson
I thought I knew Oedipus Rex.
The first time I read Sophocles’ masterful Greek tragedy was in the 11th grade. There, scribbling out an analysis as part of a 40 minute timed writing, I focused on what epitomized Oedipus for me – the struggle between fate and free will. After hearing from the Oracle that he was fated to murder his father and to sleep with his mother, Oedipus does what any rational person would do – he tries to put as much distance as he can between himself and the only family he knows. Unfortunately, prophecies are not so easily averted – Oedipus never knew he was adopted, and thus did not know the man he slew on the road to Thebes was his father; nor did he know the beautiful widow he would eventually marry was his birth mother.
Back then, I wrote about the icy hand of irony in Oedipus’ journey – how he closed himself to what would have revealed the truth because of his hubris, but once he finds out he literally blinds himself. But what really stuck with me was the idea of fate. If your life is predestined – and all roads will lead to your eventual path – what is the point of having free will? Life never promised to be fair, but the fates are needlessly cruel, especially in Greek mythology. And so, when I heard about a retelling of Oedipus Rex, set in the barrios of LA with a Chicano protagonist, I could immediately see the connection.
Indeed, the idea of being trapped by larger, unseen forces makes a lot of sense when thrust into a modern context. Oedipus El Rey bases its narrative in California’s penal system, with the title character Oedipus (also nicknamed patas malas due to the torture inflicted by his father at his birth) growing up in juvenile detention. At one point, Oedipus confesses that after he was released at the age of seventeen, he robbed a Costco without a gun, just so he could be returned to jail. It was a powerful admission – that so many boys who go into the criminal justice system at an early age come out without any sense of what it means to function in society, that there are people who come to prefer the steady monotony of incarceration than be forced to cope with the unstructured chaos of real life. The idea that regardless of your own intentions, one might still end up ensnared in forces beyond your control resonated with me. I could understand that.
So, playwright Luis Alfaro threw me for a loop when he replied to one of my questions, saying the play, at its core, was “about love.” Continue reading