She’s a Dominican Chinese college student who identifies as LGBTQ – and ends up transforming into a superhero to help her friend and fellow Latina superhero, La Borinqueña.
Meet La La Liu, a Latin Asian character who harnesses his superpowers for good in the third issue of the recently released “La Borinqueña” comic book series.
The graphic novel continues the story of “La Borinqueña”, the environmentally conscious superheroine whose extraordinary powers – derived from the indigenous Taíno gods of her Puerto Rican ancestors – include flight, superhuman strength, and teleportation. La La, who transforms into a superhero Lúz, has powers that light up her eyes and hands.
Latinos of Asian descent, author and artist Edgardo Miranda-Rodríguez told NBC News, are “part of our people,” a message he wanted to convey when he created Lúz, saying he saw it there. a chance to spotlight underrepresented Latin American communities.
The Chinese community in the Dominican Republic, he said, has become one of the largest in Latin America. Its Chinatown, known as Barrio Chino, is located in the country’s capital, Santo Domingo.
When creating La La, Miranda-Rodríguez said, he was really aware of the character’s powers, especially as an LGBTQ Latina.
“A lot of times when you’re a member of the LGBTQ community you live in the dark – in your own family, in your own mind, in your own heart – before you have the comfortable space to go out,” the novelist said. graphic, referring to crimes against the LGBTQ community, especially in Latin America.
“What I wanted to do with La La is literally make a shining light out of it – a representation of luminous love,” he said. “She’s a reflection of her best friend, but she’s also going to become her own hero in her own way.”
Miranda-Rodríguez, whose mission has been to create dynamic characters that reinforce their Caribbean and Indigenous ancestry, first created the series in 2016. The comic tells the story of Marisol Rios De La Luz, a native student. from New York and Puerto Rico whose powers appear after exploring the caves of Puerto Rico one summer. As she comes to understand the strength of her own powers as La Borinqueña – those who come from the ancestral Taíno gods – the comics examine the political and environmental issues that have plagued Puerto Rico.
Marisol, aka La Borinqueña, herself goes through her growth and transformation in the third issue. The superhero, whose costume includes the colors of the Puerto Rican flag and was on display at the Smithsonian, undergoes a spiritual journey led by Opiyelguobiran, the soul dog Taíno, to learn not only to truly harness his power, but also to build self-confidence.
It all comes to fruition when she fights a villain, flying over a laboratory in the southeastern Puerto Rico town of Juncos, warning him of her strength.
“I’m not going to hurt you, but I’m not helpless either,” she told him. “Don’t confuse my talk about love with weakness. This is where we can all draw our power.”
In the third issue, the New York-based Puerto Rican author continues to focus on social change, particularly student activism. Its second edition, which ended with a large student-led protest against school budget cuts, was released in June 2018 – a year before the island changed three governors into a week after protests history led to the Puerto Rican government of the day. Resignation of Ricardo Rosselló. The third edition continues these student-led protests, this time against a biotech company holding students hostage.
“I have always recognized the power young people have, and continue to have, to lead social justice movements internationally,” he said. “From Mexico to China, it’s always young people who lead revolutions and I wanted to reflect that in the book. “
The author, who believes that art can inspire social issues, is proud of the impact of the series. He finds it surreal to see stars like actor Rosario Dawson lend his voice as Marisol in heated public service announcements, such as encouraging Latinos to vote in the 2021 second round of the 2021 Georgia election.
Miranda-Rodríguez has said he would be interested in a TV show or movie based on “La Borinqueña”, provided the right studio appreciates the importance of the role of its superhero. The graphic novelist used his art to raise funds for Puerto Rico after the devastation of Hurricane Maria; he published the hit anthology “Ricanstruction: Reminiscing & Rebuilding Puerto Rico”, which featured La Borinqueña and other DC Comics superheroes.
He and his wife, Kyung Jeon-Miranda, created the La Borinqueña grant program, which has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Puerto Rican nonprofit groups, and he is a co-founder of Masks for America, which has donated 850,000 masks and protective gear to hundreds of communities across the United States and territories like Puerto Rico.
His latest comic is a family effort. The Nitaínos are superheroes introduced towards the end of the series. It was his youngest son, he said, who created the superhero design for V-G1GANTE, the member with the yellow tips sticking out of his helmet, and his eldest son came up with the idea of ‘Iguaca, which is based on a parrot native to Puerto Rico. .
Miranda-Rodríguez, who also owns creative services studio Somos Arte, said what was going on around him influenced the end of his latest comic.
“I have decided, given the world we live in with this pandemic, the last thing I want to do is release a book that has a very dark ending,” he said. “I wanted it to be uplifting.”
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