“Nerdtino seeks to promote the history and presence of Latinx creators and fans in geek culture, from comic books and science fiction to fantasy and horror, and more.
¡Hola! Today, I will be introducing our newest Philly Geek Spotlight; Thomas E. Delphi. Delphi is the executive director of Nerdtino and Nerdtino Expo. The Nerdtino Expo, the 1st East Coast Latinx Comic Book Convention; is a community and an event, established in 2016 in Philadelphia. Nerdtino welcomes Latinx, Hispanic, Xicano, Afro-Latinx, Afro-Carib, and Indigenous geeks from all backgrounds of life to support one another.
Thomas E. Delphi is extremely dedicated to Nerdtino and the community he has created. Often traveling to other conventions showing support and spreading the word about Nerdtino Expo. He’s also an exceptional dresser.
Delphi discussed with us about representation, his intro to geekdom, Nerdtino Expo and dodging a fan war question like a gentleman.
Do you remember your first introduction into nerd/geek culture?
I was raised outside fandom if that makes sense. My parents were comic book, sci-fi, and fantasy nerds, so I grew up with X-Files, Star Trek, X-men, Batman, Hercules, Xena, all that. But our geekiness existed outside of conventions and really stemmed from an environment where our personal hobbies were encouraged as kids.
What is your favorite geek/nerd fandom?
My heart will always have a weird brass plated section reserved for Steampunk.
Can you tell me about the birth of Nerdtino Expo ?
So Nerdtino as a community began from an observation of how while there is Latinx content and creators out there, our community hadn’t really organized itself into a collective like African American and LGBT+ communities had. So we started reaching out to creators, cosplayers, and fans across the United States from a diversity of Latinx heritage and backgrounds, making them realize how much larger our community and influence was. From there, we began to build a convention, the 1st East Coast Latinx Comic Book Convention.
Do you feel that Latinx are more represented or less represented from when you were growing up?
There’s the trick of it; we were and are always around. John Leguizamo? James Edward Olmos? Danny Trejo? Cesar Romero, George Romero? Those names ring a bell? How about Victoria Alonso, the Latina whose been on board as an Executive Producer for the MCU since Iron Man 1? We’ve managed to carve ourselves into popular culture, but as a collective community, we’ve been hesitant to really push to represent our stories from our perspective, talk about our mythology, make heroes that represent our values and experience. All the pieces and players are in place, but we’re only really just starting to lean on the gas to change our representation and interpretation. When folks finally get driven about it, taking the kind of energy Coco produced, pop culture is gonna change forever.
I’m gonna cheat here a little bit; technically he’s a superhero but from a cartoon. El Tigre, from Jose Gutierrez’s show of the same name on Nickelodeon. While I’m Puerto Rican and the character and setting are influenced by Mexican culture, I still connected with the show and characters in a truly visceral way. I loved the goofy and serious arcs, the supernatural and science fiction settings, and the villains. Mostly the villains.
What can our readers expect from this year’s Nerdtino Expo?
Nerdtino 2018 is going to be a much more refined experience with the same heart and enthusiasm of Year 1. Our featured guests include co-creator of Deadpool and comic book industry legend Fabian Nicieza, Brooklyn Brujas author Zoraida Cordova, interactive workshops and panels from the Science of Super Powers 101 with Spiderman to learning Nahuatl, and more.
How do you see Nerdtino growing in the future?
My dream is to one day establish multiple Nerdtino Expos in different Latinx communities across the United States, from New York to New Orleans, Texas to California, Philadelphia to Puerto Rico. We hope Nerdtino will be a vehicle for connecting Latinx communities to creative opportunities and supporting similar diversity-focused shows.
What advice would you give to those wanting to be a “professional” nerd?
Being involved in geekdom is like being involved in 1920s circus, theater, and gangster culture. There are a lot of colorful characters, a lot of quiet heavy hitters, and clowns in suits who talk a good game. Like anything in life, be professional, be strategic, leave the melodrama to Netflix, and most importantly learn people. Know who you want on your team and how to deal with everyone else. Play nice and remember everyone can eat at the end of the day if we all work together.
Lastly, a fan war question: Who is better; The Justice League or the Avengers?
No comment; I’m a Guild of Calamitous Intent kind of guy.