Upcoming Event: El Paso in the Comics II, February 23, 2010!
"While last year’s event featured local comics creators and a keynote address by Blue Beetle writer Jai Nitz focusing specifically on how El Paso and the Border Region influence their works," says event organizer James Bucky Carter of the UTEP English Department, "this year’s event will expand its theme to 'The Southwest in the Comics,' but will still feature much local flavor."
The UTEP Union Templeton Suite will be the site of a creator’s roundtable from 4:00-6:00. During this time, the public can interact directly with comics creators from El Paso and Juarez. Scheduled to appear are Julian Lawler of Broken Tree Comics, award-winning graphic novelist Jaime Portillo, Adversary Comix studio, and Juarez’s 656 Comics studio.
"The event will be highly interactive. We want anyone and everyone from the community to feel welcome on campus for the event," says Carter. "Last year's crowd was very diverse, with parents bringing their children, high schoolers, college students, and folks from both sides of the border in attendance."
Lawler’s comics explore El Paso via the super-hero lens, whereas Portillo’s graphic novels, such as Gabriel, for which Portillo won a prestigious Xeric Foundation Grant, examine violence in the borderland through the horror genre and play with local folklore. Adversary and 656 recently pooled their talents to create the Infestacion series, which culminated into the massive allegorical graphic novel Infestacion: The Mythology, which chronicles an invasion into the United States from undead zombies from Juarez, Mexico.
Ben Perez and Matt Rothblatt of Phi 3 Comics will be joining the list of creators at the "El Paso in the Comics II" roundtable. They are the creators behind the comic series Spiralmind, which combines metaphysical mysticism with mathematical logic and super-hero ethos. "Spiralmind is one of the most unique super-hero comics out there right now," says Carter, "and its creators are UTEP alumn. Indeed, many of the creators at the roundtable have connections to the university."
Later in the evening (7:00-9:00), the event will shift to the Union Cinema, also in the University Union, where independent comics writer/artist Jaime Hernandez will deliver a keynote address.
"Hernandez is one of the most treasured comics artists of our time and has created a host of beloved Latino/a and Chicano/a characters – such as Maggie 'the Mechanic' Chascarrillo, Beatriz 'Penny Century' Garcia, Esperanza 'Hopey' Glass, and Ray Dominguez – in the critically-acclaimed series Love and Rockets," says Carter, who has used Hernandez's The Education of Hopey Glass in his "Teaching the Graphic Novel" graduate course at UTEP. Hernandez will discuss how the Southwest, from California to Texas, and Chicano/a issues influence his work.
The event is open to the public and admission is free. Mature themes and images may be discussed, so parents may wish to accompany young children.
The event is co-sponsored by the English Department, the Dean’s Office in the College of Liberal Arts, the Center for Inter-American and Border Studies, the Sam Donaldson Center in the Department of Communication, and the Art Department.