So What Did La Mole Comic Con Say to Mark Brooks Anyway?

Comic book artist and cover artist extraordinaire, Mark Brooks, was to attend La Mole Comic Con, the biggest comic con in Mexico, and one of the biggest in the Americas, this past weekend but he decided to pull out. But then things went further south. Yesterday he posted in a public post to Facebook,

A few fans have brought to my attention that after I cancelled my appearance at La Mole in Mexico due to Coronovirus concerns, the event organizer made a number of very disparaging remarks about me on a Facebook live video, including calling me a homophobic slur, "mariconas," which I've had three Spanish speaking people confirm is slang for "f-ggot."

I find it unacceptable that the organizer felt so emboldened as to refer to me in a public forum this way. It speaks to the nature of his character that he would use that kind of language at all, let alone in a video recording to convention fans, including fans of mine who were upset and alerted me of what was said. As an ally to the LGBTQ community and in general a person that knows right from wrong, I do not tolerate this kind of language whether directed at me or anyone else.

I certainly understand that canceling at the last minute created logistical and financial hardship for the organizers and mostly, that it was super disappointing for the fans. I was extremely disappointed myself and I had every intention of attending until the Trump administration announced it's sweeping travel ban in Europe. Everything started moving too quickly and erratically, and with Lisa traveling with me, we had great concerns about leaving our son in case there were issues getting back in the country or due to quarantine. It was a tough decision, but the right one for my family. As a long-running convention, I am sure the organizers understand that cancelations happen – it's an unfortunate part of the business – and especially in light of these unprecedented times, I thought they would be a little more understanding. I've only cancelled about 5 guest appearances in my 17+ years attending conventions and I regret each one deeply, but none were done lightly or for frivolous reasons. I went back the following year to all of them to make up for the previous cancellations.

All of this to say, that while I had originally hoped that La Mole would invite me back to be a guest next year, that scenario is certainly not on the table any longer. They have not extended an invitation and I would not attend regardless.

I understand that one person's ugly behavior is not a reflection of all Mexican people. I've met so many wonderful fans over the years and of course, I'm proud to have many Mexican artists peers that I call my friends. I do plan to be back and I promise to make it up to you fine comic fans…..but just at a different convention – one that, at a bare minimum, doesn't use homophobic slurs.

Thanks for all your support. See you soon!

There was also a back-and-forth with fellow artist Adi Granov who had already made the trip.

Adi Granov:  This is a developing story I was involved in and I will comment further depending on the response from the offending person who only has one chance to make it right. Mark is being very polite in his post, which I am also trying to be, but if there is no satisfactory outcome by the time I land back in Europe, I will expand…

Mark Brooks: I purposely left you out because I knew you had your own story to tell and didn't want to tell it for you. You are very much appreciated over here!

Adi Granov:  I know. Much love to you guys. I have to say I am very glad you weren't here as the travel stress is immense. Mexico and the people here are wonderful. Most of the con staff were truly great. I am very glad we came, but I can't lie and say that the stress hasn't been very high due to the general anxiety in the air.

Mark Brooks: Hoping for safe travels home for you guys! Love you both to the moon and back!

And other major-name creators chipped in;

Mike Mignola: Wow. Not very good PR for future conventions he might have. Of course he should have cancelled his own show and CERTAINLY he should have understood (and probably should have expected) you cancelling.

Jill Thompson: I can't believe that was said! Everyone should understand that we are under crazy conditions and the current administration changes policy from hour to hour, affecting the lives and well being of all of us! It would be awful if you had been trapped or quarantined and separated from your son.

Mitch Gerads: Gross. Thanks for letting me know I can avoid that one and support others! So sorry, Mark and Lisa!

Katie Cook: Unacceptable and awful. I'm so sorry he attacked you, Mark. You made the right call for safety concerns and for him to resort to that kind of behavior has basically blacklisted his own show

Sam Humphries what the F-CK. This show was on my dream list but now it's on my never list. Bye.

Christos Gage Not only did you make the right decision, you behaved with class throughout, including now. Never feel bad for taking care of your family.

Nick Bradshaw Damn…really had a great time at this show and was treated so well. I'm severely disappointed that this happened. Getting all caught up I am so shocked. Yer Amazing Mark and made the right call. Someone needs to step up and put out a statement of apology here to you and your family to the very least!

Laura Martin Holy crap. That's some bullsh-t right there.

Filip Sablik You made the right call and handled it professionally.

So What Did La Mole Comic Con Say to Mark Brooks Anyway?

So Bleeding Cool looked into this. The original Facebook post has been deleted, but a video has been made available, which runs at the bottom of this piece. But the slur mentioned above has been extracted and posted to Twitter.

I turned to Bleeding Cool Spanish speakers to help us translate the video in full;

He starts by saying that Brooks is afraid to come because he's worried that Trump will close the borders and he'll be stuck in Mexico. La Mole rep says he "imagines" this is why he's declining. He's being polite about this.Italy and France are on lockdown, but he's saying because there was a sick kid everyone is being overly cautious – Brooks also turned down other appearances, so he's being overly cautious and people shouldn't be upset with him because he turned down other cons too.Con organizer is downplaying the caution and is appealing to the fans who can't go – he says they are doing what they can. He says he invited Mark Brooks and tried to get him to come by and ease his fears by saying the con is doing what the can as far as safety.

Then he reads some comments starting around 22:50 or so and that's where things get ugly. Commenters (I'm guessing this was originally a facebook livestream) are saying that he doesn't want to come because he's racist, and rude, but the La Mole guy is being polite and cordial and responding in Brooks defense that it's a pandemic and he's worried for his safety. He says they did need Brooks to be there for this event to get bigger, but they understand that the event can't get global recognition they wanted and expected while the globe is under a pandemic. Comments are more of the same saying how dare he cancel and they were looking forward to it. The organizer remains polite saying they've put a lot of work into it but these circumstances could not be expected. There are more comments saying they could understand other circumstances for canceling, but this is a lame excuse. There will be no professional photographer booth for photo ops, but selfies and autographs will continue.
He then goes on to talk about other artists and what he's dealing with and then talks about trying to get Frank Miller and his people wanting more money for an appearance. He goes on talking in circles about how he's old and it's hard to get him to conventions in Mexico in normal circumstances.

After that, (28:20) he reads a comment from his phone again (though it's not clear that he is reading a comment – he looks at his phone, stalls, then says (translated) "It's one thing to cancel the day before, but two hours before, you're being a f-ggot". He then says for him it's not a big deal but the event is there for people to enjoy it, so pretty much enjoy it as it is because they're doing the best they can.

Literally all of his attitude in the video before this is being super nice and polite – formal versions of the language, very courteous towards Brooks. It's such a departure that I really have to wonder if it's him or he's not clearly communicating that these are not his views. At the very least, he read a comment live on air and said a word he shouldn't have and didn't think it through.

Also worth noting (and this isn't making it better, just adding cultural context) that the Mexican culture is very patriarchal, which has gotten better, but still is apparent through their insults, which all insult women or those who "act like" women (i.e. gay men). So where we may completely reel from that word, it's a more casual insult in the basis of their culture. (His use is more akin to like, "asshole" in English.)

With another transcribed translation provided of the more contention areas.

Just one second… sorry, eh. Most of our guests… sorry, Mark Brooks is not coming to the Mole. Sorry, I am writing to him now, that's why I stayed… he just wrote to me so I asked him what had happened. As Donald Trump announced that he was going to close the borders, well, the flights, they got scared. As they're, I think, from the country, I don't want to be offensive, but they aren't that smart. So I guess they decided "Oh, no, he might close the border". Really, for all this to happen, you all know that in the USA they tend to exaggerate in every aspect of their lives, because where the crisis is actually hard is, for example, in Italy. There, Leon Chiro told me "yes, it's very hard". I went to see the news, and yes, that's true. That was the same as when we had the Influenza here, because the swine flu started in Mexico, remember that it started in Perote Veracruz, patient zero was from there. It was a boy that was in contact with pigs, all that story, so we were the first to be affected. We are the China… we were the China of back then, we had more cases, we were the most affected, and then it went to other places and so on. And then… well, besides that, it was a mess, media stuff, panic, people didn't go out, I don't know if you remember, there weren't any people in the subway and well, I think we learned to wash our hands, we learned to have a small bottle of gel in our purse, all of that, so it's important that this weekend, well, we do our best.

Eh, one second.

And well, now people are going to be getting scared, especially those who come from abroad, because fortunately as I said, we, well, during the influenza back then we were the China of right now, and now we're the ones farthest from that area, from that place, and those who traveled are those who are called "imported cases" and unless those people spread the virus, more people could get sick and not really get sick, because as they're saying, figure that there are 3,000 cases, well, no, I think 100,000 cases and 50,000 have been cured and you say "f-ck that", I mean "Are you f-cking kidding me?", we wish cancer was like that, I mean, there are 100,000 cancer patients and we cured 50,000, so don't f-ck around, I mean, that doesn't happen. But, everyone calm, they all make me get angry in a cool way. No matter what, with him or with out him, the truth is, I'm telling you this, I am telling you now that I have this news, I want to say that Mark… we didn't invite him.

I mean, he came to the "Conquetence" last year and he said that, well, he had said yes to us, and then he was invited to the Conquetence and he told then, he told me "No, you know what? I am not going to go" and suddenly they announced him. And it was like, well, Mark Brooks is not going to come to the Mole, so then his manager wrote to us and said "Hey, they want to redeem themselves, they f-cked up. They had said yes to you, and then they backed out, but came to Mexico the same year, a few months later. They abused of your niceness, sorry, we're going to redeem ourselves. They're going to go without charging a certain amount, that's why they were charging for their signatures. Later they decided to charge for their signatures. And I said, fine, let's give them a chance. And see? Again. And without fanfare. They didn't even inform their manager. We just got the mail of the flight cancellation and we were completely taken by surprise. We thought, well, sometimes that happens because they change their flights, or they want to upgrade or something and more than anything, well, eh, more than anything it's that. Let me see here your comments. Eh… Well, they say that they don't understand what it is like to organize an event like this, says Jesus Monte. To tell the truth they don't. That Mark cancels right now, that he lets us know right now, one day before the event, it's not a professional action, and at the same time so not important because at the end we have to make an event for everyone. At the end it's not just the person who wanted to meet Mark Brooks, it's the one who wants to meet everyone, all the Mole. We want you to see the whole Mole, because if you only want it to be for Comics, or for you tubers or for cosplayers, well, the Mole is never going to grow, nor reach what we want to reach here in Mexico. Fortunately we have a lot of Areas, if you can tell this is gigantic, just check how big this hallway is for the lines, and now, now, see, we have to take down that Mark Brook's sign, because it's not going to stay up there, and move all those others, from Fabian Nicieza and Brett Breeding and all those until Aburto, and we have to pay to move them all. If he had told us at least yesterday, we don't put it up, and nothing is done. We were putting our best, because its all about money. Those who have a business. Brett Breeding already arrived, but those who have a business understand what it means that someone affects you in your, no, your budget.

Why can't we open the Mole page? It's updating and we hope it will be up at midnight.

Eh… it says… The three day pass will be only given on Friday? No. If you arrive on Saturday or Sunday, there are people who buys it and can't come the three days, any day you can pick it up. We made them in the quantity needed for that.

Eh, this says "Mr. Chicken, tear down that (Mark Brook's) sign now". It would be cool, no. But it can't be done. Even if I wanted to, to rip it down by hand, the live would be two hours long. It's hanged up… it's a heavy cloth, it's a very heavy cloth because it must be a little safe, so it's not that easy. But it would be cool.

Yolanda Maricarmen says that nothing has happened, that we must keep on forward with all our energy and it looks amazing.

And to be truthful it's very sad because we did a lot for this event with our guests, because the rest will happen and the rest is very well organized, but we tried a lot with the guests, and people … due to ignorance, fear, for a lot of things. Well, they're afraid, or is afraid to come, or just cancels like Stephanie Hans who said "No, I am not going to go, I have a lot of work, my back hurts". One and thousand excuses. There are things that, well, we know if a family member dies, or something really grave happens that it's out of your hands, we understand, but it's like now, there's like, one corona virus case in Brazil. If it's just one case, I go, I travel, Why shouldn't I? And if I accepted, it was for a reason. Besides, I know that when they invite me, they have to pay certain expenses, and that's the bad thing.

Are you going to sell more Tom signatures? Yes, we… we put up the teaser of the dinner that we will put up in a little while, it's going to be Marc Silvestri and David Finch, and later we put up the part of… uh… uh… eh? Tom Welling, who we still don't know if it will be a professional photo, but we will sell more signatures and selfies, but we don't know yet. Tomorrow we will put up those sales.

It says "Mr Chicken, next year, you can take all back by bringing back Frank Miller, Jim Lee and McFarlane". See, Jim Lee is charging a huge quantity of money to come to conventions, like, real big, it's nothing compared to last year, so it is a bit frightening. Frank Miller, I don't know if he wants to come back. He left happy, that's for certain. He's a difficult talent to handle. Not because of him, but because of his managers. And right now, we hope to have a good experience with the managers because well, it's good for them to sell well in Mexico, and it's good for us that the artists and the managers go out happy but there's always a tug of war with them. That the managers get a little crazy, they yell at you, they insult you, it can be in a difficult point to talk to a manager, but we have to stand that, if they're in the event that's what's matter and that is why you get mad that they tell you two hours before the event start "Well, see I am not going because I'm a f-ggot".

Translator notes:

  • The term "del campo" in Mexico can be very pejorative and classist, and Elias here it's using it to mean that people who aren't from "the city" are uneducated, which he compounds by saying "su inteligencia no da para mas" , which I translated as "they aren't that smart" but it's more literally as "they can't be more intelligent than farmers".
  • Conquetence is a play word between the name Conque and the word competence, that Elias uses to be "coy" and insult a convention that is not even organized this year.

Here's the video in full. You are free to make up your own mind.

UPDATE: Elias of La Mole Comic Con has apologised in full, with the following video released to Bleeding Cool.

 

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About Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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