The San Diego Conquest


Have you ever gone to a con and been inspired? Attended a thought-provoking panel, experienced an awesome offsite, or met fascinating new people, which motivated you to create something new? I know that it’s happened to me, yet my enthusiasm usually wanes between that inspirational moment and the time I get back home to my mundane life.

But not for Mario Candelaria. When Mario first attended San Diego Comic Con (SDCC), his life changed. He learned the ins and outs of the con: how to use the WB bags for laundry, when to check the Sideshow Collectibles booth for the new Hot Toys, and when to line up for a panel versus watching the playback. But most of all, Mario was inspired. He continued to be inspired with every subsequent SDCC he attended. And then one July he was crossing the trolley tracks in front of the San Diego Convention Center, swallowed by a sea of geeks and nerds all seeking their passions, and he knew exactly what he wanted to do.

He wanted to write a comic book.

Mario Candelaria

Mario had written comic books before, but this time he wanted to do something different. He wanted to write a comic book about the SDCC experience. And so The San Diego Conquest was born.

The San Diego Conquest is the story of Becca, a comic book writer who is eager to travel to San Diego and meet with an editor, so she can pitch her comic book idea. She’s a dedicated dreamer, and doesn’t take no for an answer. Accompanying her are companions DeSean, Ashton and Addysin, who range from completely uninterested in SDCC to being a rabid fan who has to one-up everybody. Unfortunately, the group plans their trip relatively last minute, and runs into familiar issues getting badges, locating a hotel, as well as other aspects of the San Diego experience. These challenges are depicted in humorous fashion, allowing all of us who have been to SDCC before to appreciate and commiserate with the main characters.

Original Cover Art for The San Diego Conquest

As you might guess, many of the moments in The San Diego Conquest were inspired by Mario’s personal experiences, as well as those of Rob Alan, the comic’s artist. Although many of the events in the story are fictional, they are reminiscent of things we attendees have personally experienced, allowing us to connect with Becca and her friends.

Mario knew that he wanted to share this story with the world, yet he wanted to keep the raw emotions he felt when creating it, and didn’t want to have to water it down for a mass audience. As such, he is using Kickstarter to launch his creation, because his goal is not to ‘sell’, but to share. The San Diego Conquest was written by a fan, for other fans. He plans to have the comic in backers’ hands next year. I know I’m excited to read Becca’s story and experience The San Diego Conquest for myself. The Kickstarter campaign will be running until December 22.

Are you excited about The San Diego Conquest? Join the conversation on FoCC!


Transmute Jun

Transmute Jun has an addiction to pop culture conventions, and attends as many as she can each year. When she's not traveling, she likes to stay at home reading a good book, playing a video game, or binge-watching a TV show. She can be bribed with pizza, Coke Zero and Belgian milk chocolate.