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La Borinqueña Saves the Day As This Puerto Rican Superheroine Takes Comics By Storm (Literally)

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The great thing about comics is that they don’t only consist of product from the Big Two. There are mid-size and small publishers that put out both licensed and creator-owned titles, and there are individual creators who are bypassing the system entirely to create the kinds of comics that don’t get the attention they deserve anywhere else. Though he’s worked for the Big Two in the past, Nuyorican comics creator Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez realized that if he wanted to create the kind of Puerto Rican superheroine he wanted to see in comics, he’d have to do it himself.

Enter Marisol Rios De La Luz, A.K.A. La Borinqueña. She is a college student of Puerto Rican descent living in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. As she’s pursuing her studies in Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University, she takes an opportunity to study for a semester at the University of Puerto Rico, which is where her life changes forever.

According to the book’s website, “There she explores the caves of Puerto Rico and finds five similar sized crystals. Atabex, the Taino mother goddess, appears before Marisol once the crystals are united and summons her sons Yúcahu, spirit of the seas and mountains and Juracan, spirit of the hurricanes. They give Marisol superhuman strength, the power of flight, and control of the storms.”

Check out the above gallery for the first five pages of the 60-page first installment, as well as some additional drawings!

As a Nuyorican, I was thrilled to read this. It’s not only a great story, but it will also expose non-Puerto Ricans to a culture they might not know about. It also taught me some things about my own culture that I never got to learn growing up in New York. Marisol herself is a great, nuanced character who’s smart and nerdy, but also knows how to let loose. She’s determined, cares about the world she lives in, and refuses to give up no matter what’s thrown her way. The fact that she’s Afro-Puerto Rican makes her even cooler, as they don’t get nearly as much representation in media as they should. And she’s not the only example of diverse Latinas in the book, as her BFF, Lauren “La La” Liu, is Chinese-Dominican!

It also touches on some very familiar cultural touchstones and concerns. Most resonant for me was the sometime skepticism of Nuyoricans by those who grew up en La Isla. Lastly, I love that it slips in and out of English and Spanish without any hand-holding. Rest-assured, if you don’t speak Spanish, you can still adore this book, as the Spanish doesn’t keep you from getting into the plot. It simply provides a little something extra for those who do speak Spanish.

We’ll hopefully be interviewing Miranda-Rodriguez here at The Mary Sue sometime soon! But in the meantime, enjoy the preview, and if you want the full graphic novel, you can get it from the Somos Arte website, which is Miranda-Rodriguez’s art studio. They not only have the book, but they have some sweet merch, including an adorable 9.5″ tall La Borinqueña vinyl figure, takemymoney which may just be sitting on my desk in the very near future.

Check it out, and fall in love with La Borinqueña!

(images via Somos Arte)

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Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former Mary Sue assistant editor from 2015-18. Teresa's returned to play in the TMS sandbox as a freelancer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.