We’re all familiar with typical comic hero: white male in a shiny costume with incredible superpowers, saving the world from the great evil. Recently, more diversity was added even by major studios (take a look at female version of Thor, for example) – and the trend is still growing. La Borinqueña, fresh comic heroine, is a completely different individual inspired by real world issues.

 

New kind of heroine

La Borinqueña was created by graphic novelist Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez. Comic series tells a story about Marisol Rios De La Luz, 22 years old Columbia University Earth and Environmental Sciences Undergraduate student. The girl lives in Brooklyn, but takes a semester abroad – and this is how she finds herself in Puerto Rico, where she discovers magic crystals that give Marisol her superpowers. These are  superhuman strength, the power of flight, and control of the storms – sounds pretty impressive, but that’s not her most important skills.

La Borinqueña

La Borinqueña La Borinqueña

“I wanted to write La Borinqueña so that my two sons would grow up seeing a woman of colour, with their heritage, become a superhero that everyone would enjoy,” Miranda-Rodriguez tells in one of his interviews. “People of colour, especially Latinos, are invisible in mainstream media. I wanted to create a superhero that was powerful enough to save the day on the page and in real life.”

 

Proud and authentic

La Borinqueña is in fact very patriotic novel aimed to increase visibility of Latinas. Marisol’s suite is a slightly redesigned flag of Puerto Rico (not the colours and the star on her chest), the novel itself is bilingual,  and the heroine itself is definitely concerned about political and environmental issues. For example, she is against dumping of toxic ashes in Peñuelas in the southern coast of Puerto Rico. Later on, these actions were banned in real life. The title of this graphic novel, La Borinqueña, is also the title of Puerto Rico national anthem.

“Comic book stories always towed from a male perspective, where, at the height of their powers, something tragic happens that makes that character become an altruistic hero. But she didn’t have to have some tragedy to wake up to her sense of civic responsibility – she just wanted to lead. She’s one of many who’s always been there, serving and being part of the community,” explains Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez the motivation of his heroine. Talking about politics, he adds: “She may realize, ‘My superpowers can’t change this but I can help people who are here and inspire them to help themselves.” And so Marisol fights voter rights and against climate change.

La Borinqueña La Borinqueña

Carrying the heritage

The author’s idea was to create not only powerful, but authentic image – Marisol has dark skin and not going to be whitewashed like many mainstream heroes or historical personalities, she’s not a nanny or maid, but powerful individual. “The character is supposed to start a conversation about what’s going on in Puerto Rico,” Miranda-Rodriguez says. “The solutions to our problems, as a people, is us.” She’s supposed to represent a hope for Puerto Ricans and make them visible in popular culture.

There’s a beautiful metaphor hidden in Marisol Rios De La Luz’s story –  NY-born girl discovers her power when visiting country of her origin, showing us that her heritage is that make her the superhero, that it’s in fact her true hidden strength. Strength which everyone can discover in the right time. “She is symbol of patriotism at a time when Puerto Ricans need to be reminded of their superpowers. She is a patriotic symbol of hope for Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans. We don’t need to look outside of us for the power—we have it inside. If we come together, we will win”.

Subscribe to our newsletter. Join to over 200.000 peers