What the Heck is Chicano-Con?

One man grew tired of not being able to go to Comic-Con, so he created an event for his own people.

Courtesy of Chicano Con Facebook
Add to Briefcase
J. Weston Phippen
July 10, 2015, 12:31 p.m.

Five years in a row Dav­id Favela had tried to buy tick­ets for Com­ic-Con, the com­ic book gath­er­ing in San Diego that at­tracts fans by the thou­sands. One pass for the en­tire event costs about $200, and so many people want them, fans must wait in an on­line queue. Ap­par­ently, there was some secret tech­nique Favela had nev­er mastered—something that in­volved sev­er­al com­puters at once. “It might be my own in­com­pet­ence,” he says, “It’s really dif­fi­cult.”

This year brought an­oth­er dis­ap­point­ment for the 48-year-old who learned to read Eng­lish through com­ic books. Tick­ets sold out in a couple of hours. Favela, who runs a craft brew­ery with fam­ily, would miss it for the sixth year in a row.

Though Com­ic-Con holds events around the area—a gra­cious token for those left out of the main event—it doesn’t come to Favela’s home in Bar­rio Lo­gan. This is the blue-col­lar Latino neigh­bor­hood squeezed between in­dus­tri­al areas, not even a mile south of the main event.  If only there was something for his people—Chi­canos, Favela thought. They could even call it Chi­cano-Con.

“There’s a long his­tory of be­ing pushed around,” Favela says of his neigh­bor­hood, “so we’re used to do­ing our own thing.”

Favelo grew up in a small home in Escon­dido, a small ag­ri­cul­tur­al town about 30 minutes north of Bar­rio Lo­gan. His par­ents came to Cali­for­nia from Dur­ango, Mex­ico with an ele­ment­ary edu­ca­tion. For a while, he and his five broth­ers and two sis­ters re­lied on pub­lic as­sist­ance, of­ten in the form of gov­ern­ment cheese. His par­ents car­ried home toys from The Sal­va­tion Army in plastic bags. Favela entered school speak­ing only Span­ish. Even ask­ing to use the re­stroom ter­ri­fied him. He failed second grade three times.

“It was Christ­mas, maybe,” Favela re­mem­bers. He was at The Sal­va­tion Army again as they passed out toys to kids. “Every­one else got cool gifts like bats and gloves, balls, things a kid would want. I got this com­ic book. So I was like, ‘Okay, what am I go­ing to do with this?”

On the first page, Favela saw a man with wings on his feet and a staff of snakes. He looked through it. And des­pite not know­ing much Eng­lish, the pic­tures helped fill in the gaps. He read more. And more. And by sixth grade, he was read­ing at a high school level. He gradu­ated col­lege; earned a mas­ter’s de­gree at the Uni­versity of San Diego, and was se­lec­ted for a fel­low­ship at Prin­ceton.

Favela dreamed up Chi­cano-Con just a couple months ago. It’s held in the 5,000-square-foot park­ing lot at Bor­der X Brew­ery, which Favela owns with his broth­er and two neph­ews. They’ve set up a cape-mak­ing booth for kids and will have live mu­sic, loc­al artists and artists from Tijuana, Mex­ico, and pho­tos with lucha libre wrest­lers. They’ve helped donate 1,500 com­ic books to kids.

“I wanted to bring that ex­per­i­ence to the bar­rio for free,” Favela says.

Last week­end, more than 350 people turned up. This week­end, he ex­pects around 1,000.

For times, dates, to con­nect, or to check out more pho­tos, vis­it the Chi­cano-Con Face­book page.


Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.