Lee Francis started Indigenous Comic-Con as a way to “bring Native people from across the spectrum to have a big fun festival”. His hope was to bring Native representation into popular culture. This year will be the third time around and Lee has found success in bringing his hope to life.
It was when he was teaching high school that Lee realized how little his students saw themselves reflected in popular media. That lack made him want to find a way to create superheroes for Native kids so they could see themselves in those heroes. And he wanted to let non-Native people know that Native people were not relics of the past, but were instead “thriving, dynamic people” who live in the same modern world as everyone else.
With that goal in mind, Lee launched the planning of the first Indigenous Comic-Con in April of 2016. The event, which took place that November, drew in around 1,200 people and grew even bigger the following year. The unique focus on indigenous people offered a difference that drew in both guests and visitors to the convention. For Lee, it was a way to inspire the creativity of Native artists, who, at this event, “didn’t have to feel like the only Natives in the room.” The Comic-Con brought a new and exciting perspective to those who attended.
Lee and those who help in the planning continue to look for how to spread the message about Native artists even further. Programming at the event has expanded to include an area for kids, interactive exhibits, films, a scavenger hunt around Albuquerque, cooking demos, cosplay and pro wrestling by Native wrestlers. There will also be vendors, workshops and a DJ.
This year Indigenous Comic Con will be held November 2nd through the 4th at Isleta Resort and Casino. For more information, you can visit the event website!