This weekend kicked off the second year for the Indigenous Comic Con at the Isleta Resort & Casino, providing an exciting and educational experience for all those in attendance.
As an avid comic-con attendee myself, I was thrilled to see the familiar art booths that lined the rooms filled with both original art and fan art. Paintings, prints and homemade jewelry filled the booths, with the artists often on site to sign their work.
One such notable onsite artists was Arigon Starr, creator of the popular comic series “Super Indian,” featuring a hero of her own making.
Another piece of art that caught my attention was the comic, “Snow by Night Volume 1” by Eric Menge and Brittany Michel. The colors on the cover blend flawlessly and the wonderful shading and art only continues inside the volume, second only to its creative story.
Prints, paintings, comics and jewelry were not the only art to be showcased at the event. Video games were also featured, like a demo version of the new game ,“Mulaka.” The game is showcased on Steam with a potential 2018 release and invites players to “Dive into northern Mexico's breathtaking landscapes with Mulaka, a 3-D action-adventure game based on the rich indigenous culture of the Tarahumara.”
There were also activities like laser tag on Friday and panels like “Cosplay 101 — Pride and Power: Reimagining Indigenous Identity” on Saturday.
Celebrity guests were also in attendance, with booths showcasing talents such as Eugene Brave Rock, known recently for his role in “Wonder Woman.”
While special guests, booths and panels are all part of your normal comic-con experience, I did find myself just as intrigued by unfamiliar additions to the typical comic-con setup.
Near the convention entrance stood a booth featuring the art and community group, Arriba New Mexico, asking event goers what they would protect if they had super-powers, as well as what they would fight against. Three different colored sticks were given for each question, and attendees were able to choose their answers by putting the sticks into cups with issues written on them.
Certain cups were overflowing, while others were emptier. The activity proved to be insightful, as it brought to light issues that many New Mexicans find important. Some of the choices included LGBTQ rights, racism and immigrants.
Two other very notable additions to this comic-con were a play area for children and affordable food. I had never been to a comic-con that included either before, and it made the experience as a parent much more enjoyable.
The cosplay at the event was highly detailed and beautiful. DC’s Wonder Woman and Marvel’s X-Men member Dani Moonstar were among the more popular costumes, and both the children and adults put a great amount of time and effort into their cosplay.
“Nothing else like this has been done before,” said Indigenous Comic Con Founder Lee Francis in a promotional video. “In terms of bringing all of these worlds of pop culture together for Native people. (There are many) perceptions of Native art needing to be pottery or jewelry, and those are incredibly valuable and viable and this is as well.”
I can only echo his sentiment, as the Indigenous Comic Con proved to be an event that weaved together both the familiar atmosphere you expect to see at a comic-con and the culture the indigenous community contributes to it.
Nichole Harwood is the culture editor at the Daily Lobo. She primarily covers alumni and art features. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Nolidoli1.