Helm Greycastle and his band of outsiders must rescue the last dragon prince, who is being held captive by the unknown-to-them Aztec Mexica. In the process, they are recruited to be part of the resistance planning to overthrow Montezuma and free the people of Mexica. Can they, will they, succeed?
Ask Tucson native Henry Barajas, the writer and creator of Helm Greycastle, a comic book and role-playing dice game that may or may not hold the answer.
Penning the story allowed Barajas to dive into the history of the Spanish conquest of the Aztecs and explore alternative possibilities.
“Helm Greycastle was a chance for me to escape and do a, ‘What if?’ ‘What if this happened?’ and be a little more creative and less restricted by the truth,” he said.
Meet the Tucson native at the 2022 Tucson Comic-Con, set for Friday, Sept. 2, to Sunday, Sept. 4, at the Tucson Convention Center, where he will be showing and selling his work.
Grab your cape and cowl and head to the con, where the everyday goes away.
“Tucson Comic-Con is a pop cultural experience for the entire family,” said Brian Pulido, who owns the festival with his wife, Francisca Pulido, and Tucson resident Mike Olivares.
“What people will experience there is everything from some of the greatest artists and comic book artists in the world, including the former editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, Jim Shooter; artists on some of the top comic books in the world; fine artists; and popular artists, including Chiara Bautista, a Tucson local,” Pulido added.
Comic-Con is a place to shed your daily disguise and emerge as the superhero or villain you truly are.
“We encourage people of all ages to come in costume,” Pulido said. Guests will fit right in with others who are doing the same, as there are more than 25 costume groups attending that represent “Star Wars,” “Star Trek” and “Ghostbusters,” to name a few.
Look for the 405th Division Infantry, part of the Halo universe; the 501st Legion Dune Sea Garrison–they’re part of “Star Wars;” the Arizona Ghostbusters; or the Arizona Avengers.
There’s something else, too, and it’s coming directly from Gotham City.
“We also have a real live Batmobile from 1966,” Pulido said.
“Attendees will be able to take photos for free with the Batmobile.”
You cannot touch it, however, but “you can get pretty darn close,” Pulido added. “I hear that the Batmobile is pretty sensitive. That’s why.”
Pulido listed several other activities to look for at the con, such as scads of role-playing games to play (or learn to play), tournaments to win, and pinball machines to tilt. There will even be a UA-sanctioned esports tournament. Then there are panels by guest speakers, workshops, writing workshops for wanna-be comic book writers, shopping, movies, parties and a stand-up, after-hours comedy show.
Perhaps most important of all is an inclusive quiet room, “for people looking for a softer experience. That ranges for people with those types of challenges and others,” Pulido said.
The room comes equipped with professional support staff, low-stimulation activities and silent video games. This is the place to come when guests or their family members need to rest, feed a baby or yearn the quiet.
There’s more, so much more.
Look for a costume contest for adults and children, and the children’s workshop put on by the Flam Chen Circus Arts Three Ring Circus. Of course, there’s a kid’s epic scavenger hunt, too.
“That is just a tip of the iceberg of what people will experience at Tucson Comic-Con 2022, America’s friendliest pop culture event,” Pulido said.
Both Brian and Francisca Pulido want guests to know that Tucson Comic-Con is a safe space for everyone, no matter who you are. Bullying, name calling, just plain meanness will not be tolerated. They want everyone to have a good time.
Finally, here is some advice:
Download the program guide and plan your experience because Pulido said they are taking over the entire convention center, and they are expecting 12,000 to 15,000 guests.
If you can only come one day, come Saturday.
Buy your tickets in advance online. It’s cheaper. Online prices are listed below.
Helm Greycastle’s Barajas will be there all weekend. He’s well known in the comic book world, not the least of which is for his first graphic novel, “La Voz De M.A.Y.O. Tata Rambo,” about his civil rights activist great-grandfather. It put Barajas on the graphic novel map; it’s sold in the Smithsonian gift shop. He also wrote and published a story in the Batman franchise, titled, “Urban Legends No. 18.” That was a dream come true for him because ever since the first Batman movie, Barajas has seen the caped crusader as a kind of hero, someone to emulate.
“The character has influenced me in many ways,” he said. “People would always say, ‘What would Jesus do?’ I would always think, ‘What would Batman do?’ There is a lore, a history, morals, and things that I have gleaned from that character my entire life to this day.”
2022 Tucson Comic-Con
WHEN: 3 to 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 2; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 4
WHERE: Tucson Convention Center, 260 S. Church Avenue, Tucson
COST: 14 and older: $45 for the entire weekend; for Friday or Sunday only, $15; for Saturday only, $25. For children ages 9 to 13: $10 for the entire weekend, $5 for Friday, Saturday or Sunday only