Jeremy Bauer at Comics Recap talked to Dr. Lee Francis IV about Indigenous Comic Con—a new comic book convention focused on Native and Indigenous pop culture, happening November 18-20 in Albuquerque, NM. Dr. Lee Francis IV is CEO and publisher of Native Realities Press, who is co-sponsoring the event with A Tribe Called Geek.
Comics Recap: What is Indigenous Comic Con?
Dr. Lee Francis IV: The Indigenous Comic Con is a three-day celebration of Native and Indigenous pop culture. It is a gathering to highlight the amazing contributions of Native and Indigenous people in the areas of film, television, science fiction, fantasy, comic books, graphic novels, and games. Ultimately, it is a festival where you can get in touch with your Indigenerdity with other Indigenerds!
CR: What made you want to create Indigenous Comic Con?
LF: The idea had been floating around for a while, at least as far back at 2011 when Arigon Starr and several other Native comic book creators and illustrators got together to found the Indigenous Narratives Collective (now known as INC Comics). The point of INC was to find strength in solidarity. So the Con grew out of the idea that we could all come together as Native and Indigenous pop culture practitioners in all the areas we mentioned and find a space to celebrate our work. Personally, it gives me a chance to meet and hang out with some of the most talented and creative Natives in the world!
CR: How did Indigenous Comic Con go from an idea to a fully realized con?
LF: Once the idea was there, we needed a time and a location. Our long-time relationship with the National Hispanic Cultural Center allowed us to use their facility for a low cost and the November time slot meant that we weren’t competing with any other Con. It also happens to be Native American Heritage Month, so that’s a plus. Then we just started to pull together guests, activities, and all the other details for the Con. Right now we are still getting a few of our last guests in place and our programming should be finalized very soon.
CR: What guests can we expect to see at Indigenous Comic Con?
LF: We have a number of guests confirmed including, Jonathan Joss (John Redcorn from “King of the Hill”), Arigon Starr (creator of “Super Indian”), Timothy Truman (illustrator of “Conan,” “Scout,” and many more), Elizabeth LaPensée (renowned Indigenous game designer and artist), the 1491s (incredible Native sketch comedy group), and many more you can find on our website.
CR: What events will take place at the con?
LF: We have a number of great panels, a kids area, food trucks, live music, and comic signings all scheduled to take place. We will also have two Preconferences, one on November 17th at the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, which will be a master class on comic book creation, and the second will be on November 18th, which will feature master game designer Allen Turner leading Native community teams in creating games that focus on and support language and culture revitalization and sustainability.
CR: What are you particularly excited to see or do at Indigenous Comic Con?
LF: I am excited to see all the Native folks nerding out! We hope to have some awesome cosplay and the chance to hang out with all the awesomely talented Native folks working in their respective industries.
CR: Is there anything else you want people to know about Indigenous Comic Con?
LF: It is important for folks to support these kinds of efforts. Although it’s an Indigenous Con, everyone is welcome! We want as many people as possible to see the incredible work that is being done by Native and Indigenous peoples in these areas. But these efforts take time, attention, and support. Many folks like the idea of an Indigenous Con but it needs to be sponsored and supported with the wallet. Come to the Con, buy work from Native and Indigenous comic creators, play games by Native game designers, see movies with Native actors. That is the way we can continue to have these awesome events and collaborations!
CR: What do you want attendees to take away from Indigenous Comic Con?
LF: Well, merchandise, of course! Ha! But, seriously, we want folks to realize that Native and Indigenous people exist in a world that is not just stereotypical historicized representations. Rather, we have a vibrant and dynamic role to play in the world of pop culture, right now, in the present. And we want folks to see that and join us in celebrating all this work!
CR: What are your top 5 favorite comics, either of all time or just right now?
Tickets for Indigenous Comic Con are available now at http://www.indigenouscomiccon.com/buy-tickets.
- November 18 – 20, 2016
- National Hispanic Cultural Center
Albuquerque, New Mexico