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I’ve been to Comic-Con in the past, and even spoke and chaired panels on using graphic novels and comics in education. This year I had an assignment to write a reflection piece on the artwork of the great Japanese American artist Miné Okubo, who kept a note sketchbook diary of her experiences in internment camps in California and Utah during WWII. The timing for this invitation was perfect. I had only recently discovered and read her powerful and engaging book Citizen 13660 and was informed that there was to be an exhibition of her original artwork and Comic-Con and asked to write the piece. I dutifully prepared and expanded my research and reread George Takai’s graphic memoir They call us enemy about his own experiences in the camps, along with Keiji Nakazawa’s compelling and horrifying story Barefoot Gen about his own experiences as a Hiroshima survivor. I had not attended Comic-Con for several years, but as soon as my son and I walked into the LA Convention Center and saw my first Cosplay character I remembered how much fun these conventions are – celebrating comics, characters and fans! For the rest of the day, I mingled with super-heroes, monsters, fuzzies, warriors and princesses and the rest of us, wandering around in regular clothes and masked against the evil enemy COVID. It was a blast! Wandering around chatting with authors and artists, fans and folk, and even a few celebrities, all enjoying the event. As I mingled with some of the 94,900 people (spread over 2.5 days) of the ages, genders, cultures and communities and species I could not help but to think about the famous Star Trek quotation “Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before!” These were people who celebrated that fictitious mission and integrated its ideals into their own lives- to explore and learn. And to have fun in the process. As to the work of Ms. Okubo- I wandered and searched, asked exhibitors, attendees and even the producer of the LA event, but nobody had heard of her, or the planned exhibition, which was a real shame because both her work and her book should be read and recognized. But like much of life, the journey and the search were really fun, and I am looking forward to next year!


Snapshots from Comic-Con

(click on the images)


Super Teens


Spidey and his pizza


Wonder Woman 2021



Gang of 4


Mini-Spengler


Mr. and Mrs. Joker


Santa Bear


Robot on Wheels


Mr. PacMan (suit and all)


This is the way to somewhere


Hell Girl


The ears have it #1


Ameen Beydoun, author of Habiti Pada Yalla and me


John Leguizamo speaking about the need for Hispanic super heroes




Godzilla, out of retirement


?


Dos fuzzies


A diminutive Elvira, Mistress of the Dark


The ears have it #2


The Rocketeer (a personal favorite)


Amazon Box Man


Dazed and confused #1


Dazed and confused #2


Dazed and confused #3, or the end of the day






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