La Borinqueña to the rescue!
“That cargo plane’s engine just failed! If it crashes, it’ll wipe out most of Luquillo!” shouts La Borinqueña as she attempts to protect the Puerto Rican coastal city from catastrophe. The newly-minted comic book superhero is the self-published creation of Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, a Marvel Entertainment writer and art director/owner of Somos Arte, a Brooklyn-based production studio.
Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez introduced Marisol Rios De La Luz, a fictional Columbia University earth and environmental sciences undergraduate student whose alter ego is “La Borinqueña” to new fans at the main Bethlehem Area Public Library.
A former activist, Miranda-Rodriguez said he became involved with the comic book business when he curated a comic book art exhibition with Marvel in 2007. He later founded a publishing company with hip hop icon Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels from Run-D.M.C. They publish graphic novels.
Although born in New Jersey, Miranda-Rodriguez said he always felt connected to his heritage.
“I wasn’t born in Puerto Rico, but Puerto Rico was born in me.” He said that Puerto Ricans were granted U.S. citizenship in 1917 during WWI, but have been treated as second-class citizens. The island territory’s petroleum industry went bust in the 1950s, triggering emigration to the U.S. mainland. It was replaced by a strong pharmaceutical industry in the ’70s which fled the island when Congress closed a tax loophole in 2006. Puerto Rico’s former prosperity has since been replaced by a close to $120 billion debt, according to Miranda-Rodriguez.
Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez decided to create an original Latina comic book character based on Puerto Rican history and mythology—one who fights for Puerto Rican patriotism, social justice, and equality for all. A month-long family trip to the island provided the writer with plenty of material to create La Borinqueña’s origin story and future adventures.
His scholarly protagonist finds five crystals that form a star at an actual Puerto Rican landmark cave. La Borinqueña, named for the island’s national anthem, receives her superpowers from the Taino mother goddess, Atabex, and her two spirit sons. A team of veteran comic book artists of Puerto Rican heritage helped Miranda-Rodriguez with the project.
For Miranda-Rodriguez, promoting La Borinqueña, provides him with a vehicle where he can talk about what is actually happening in Puerto Rico.
“When you understand where you come from,” he said, “then you know where you need to go. And where we need to go as a people.”
Information on La Borinqueña: laborinquena.somosarte.com.