Hello everyone! I’m back from Indigenous Comic Con 2016 and ready to share my little adventure.
The weekend is prime convention time as kids are out of school and many adults have had the chance to clear their schedule. ICC was no exception as the halls filled with excited “Indiginerds”. ICC took place at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico and welcomed around 1,000 people over the 3 days it ran.
I was most excited for the panels and talks that were scheduled. Sadly I can’t time travel or split into multiple people or else I would have gone to them all. Panels varied from actors talking about their experiences, to cosplay tips and tricks all the way to serious conversations on Indigenous representation in media and pop culture.
Guests I had the pleasure of hearing from included Suzan Harjo, Jonathan Joss, Jeffrey Veregge, Elizabeth LaPensée and Allen Turner to name a few. The panel and talks rooms were a little small as rooms could quickly fill for a popular panel like “Back to the (Indigenous) Future(isms)!”.
Artist Alley was split into two areas and featured the creations of Indigenous artists. An artist alley at a convention is generally where artists sell art, take commissions, and sell homemade products and other things at a smaller scale than a vendor booth would (like a bookstore or publisher for example). There were pieces supporting the Standing Rock and Dakota Access Pipeline water protectors, where the money made from selling them was being donated to their efforts.
The merchandise hall was a fair size with around 20 tables. Comics were on sale and featured stories with characters like Arigon Starr’s Super Indian Comics and more subdued stories like Betty: The Helen Betty Osborne Story written by David Alexander Robertson and illustrated by Scott Henderson. Issues, interests, history and stories were being sold to an audience thirsty for Native pop culture.
I was able to find the time to see a screening of the film Waabooz. Waabooz is the story of a young artist and his fear of dancing at the upcoming pow wow. His grandfather helps him find a way to handle his nerves and be brave. By the end of the film I was wiping away tears along with some other audience members who had connected with the story.
I saw a short snippet of Star Wars voiced over in Navajo and it was certainly a unique experience. There seemed to be a great love of Star Wars throughout the convention that showed in the merch, art and cosplay. The cosplay contest winners were Boba Fett and a stormtrooper with some Native flair in the art on their armor.
I left with some inspiration and extra motivation to get working on my own art and comic projects. I saw a lot and walked away with a backpack full of books but I still wish I could have seen and done more. The light at the end of the post-con blues is that there’s always Indigenous Comic Con 2017 to look forward to!