Entertainment

The Guy Behind ‘La Borinqueña’ And John Leguizamo Are Hiring An All-Latino Staff To Launch An Indie Comic

John Leguizamo is busy as hell. The actor (and boycott-starter) has back-to-back film and TV projects, and he wrapped up his one-man show in New York City earlier this year. The Colombian thespian is also starting a whole new project and we’re totally psyched about it.

John Leguizamo announced on his Instagram that he will be debuting a new comic book at this year’s New York Comic Con.

My 1st comic will be released that week and I will b there in person to sign!

A post shared by John Leguizamo (@johnleguizamo) on

A whole comic book series devoted to Leguizamo? Insane, right?

Leguizamo is collaborating with “La Borinqueña” creator Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez.

CREDIT: Courtesy Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez

As we mentioned last year, “La Borinqueña” centers on an Afro-Latina superhero with a mission to serve, educate, and inspire. Just like “La Borinqueña, it features an all-Latino team. Leguizamo’s comic book will also highlight Latino talent exclusively.

mitú spoke with co-creator Edgar Miranda-Rodriguez about their upcoming project:

I know you can’t give too much of the story away, but will the protagonist be Leguizam? Will it embody him in some way? Or is he writing a whole new character altogether?

John’s work is always personal. All of his award-winning plays have always been told from his life experience. What’s beautiful about his storytelling is the universality of it. As Latinos, we’re immediately drawn to his voice, because he sounds like us. In my case, we literally sound alike because we both have lisps! 😉 Seriously though, the body of John’s work has always been about creating a narrative about the American Latino experience and he is introducing this to a mainstream audience. This is what he aims to do with this comic book and that is why we’re debuting it at the New York Comic Con. This comic book will be in the same tradition of his previous work, this time, however, you’ll be able to see the images he talks about in his plays.

What other comics have Latino protagonists? Is there an indie comic book scene created by Latino talent that could go mainstream?

There are a few comic books with Latino protagonists, particularly in the superhero genre. The first one was created by George Perez in 1975, Marvel’s White Tiger. However, this comic book is not within the superhero genre nor is it published by a corporate imprint. It’s self-published by John Leguizamo, produced by me. I edited his script and art directed a team of incredibly talented comic book pros that are all Latino and native New Yorkers, as are myself and John. The closest comparison is “Love and Rockets” by Jaime Hernandez, Gilbert Hernandez and Mario Hernandez, aka The Hernandez Brothers. They self-published their first issue in 1981 and then Fantagraphics republished it the following year with a color cover. The Hernandez Brothers told stories in what the comic book industry refer to as alternative comics because there were no capes or powers. All of their stories were told either from the Latin American and Los Angeles experience. John’s story, like all of his writings, is told from the perspective of New York City.

Do you know if Leguizamo was inspired by “La Borinqueña” to create his own comic book?

John loves La Borinqueña. He loves her as a character, but more so what she stands for. His daughter has a copy of the comic book and he respects that the comic book serves to raise awareness of the real world social issues affecting Puerto Rico. What truly inspired John about La Borinqueña is that I did it myself. Latinos have been waiting so long for our own hero in her own book. We’re tired of being the sidekicks, the victims, or worse, the villains. It takes us to do it ourselves to finally show the world and us that our stories matter. Our heroes matter, and, mostly importantly, we have the the talent to do it. La Borinqueña was produced by my studio with an all Latino roster of professional talent. John’s comic book was also produced with roster of Latino talent which includes Christopher Sotomayor, Chris Batista, Gustavo Vazquez and Sabrina Cintron who debuted as an artist in La Borinqueña. Latinos have been making comic books for decades, since the 1940s when Alex Schomburg came from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico to open a studio in New York City with his brothers and was offered his first comic book gig drawing covers for Captain America when Marvel was still called Timely Comics. It’s only now that we’re working together to produce and publish our own comic books with our own heroes. Ya era tiempo.

READ: ‘La Borinqueña’ Is The Afro-Latina Superhero The Comic Book World Has Been Missing

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Latinos Make Up A Large Portion Of ‘Essential Workers’ And This Latino Comic Book Is Honoring Them In The Best Way Possible

Culture

Latinos Make Up A Large Portion Of ‘Essential Workers’ And This Latino Comic Book Is Honoring Them In The Best Way Possible

El Paso Hero / Rio Bravo Comics

If the Coronavirus pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that real-life heroes can be found all over. During the global crisis, regular people have realized that everyone from a fast food restaurant worker to a farmworker is a hero in their own way. It’s these people, many of whom are minorities, who have helped keep the country going during these unprecedented times. To so many of us, these front-line ‘essential workers’ are indeed heroes.

One Mexican-American comic book creator, Hector Rodriguez (of El Peso Hero) decided to put these real-life superheroes on the pages of his popular comic book and we couldn’t be more excited.

The best-selling comic book now features America’s front-line workers as the real heroes who are keeping the country running.

Credit: El Peso Hero / Rio Bravo Comics

Comic books are known for telling larger than life stories and inspiring their audiences – and that’s exactly what El Peso Hero is doing with his latest edition. Rodriguez is using El Peso Hero to tell the story of thousands of invisible workers – many of whom are undocumented Latino workers holding America together.

“Comic books are a great way to help people connect,” Rodríguez told NBC News. “But very few stories focus on the people who are feeding us.”

In this special pandemic issue, which is available for free, “El Peso Hero” takes a supporting role to a nurse and other essential workers facing tough day-to-day challenges as the country struggles to combat Covid-19.

In his interview with NBC News, Rodriguez said he hopes his comic can inspire Americans to reimagine themselves in the stories of millions of invisible workers who serve their communities.

It’s more important than ever to shine a light on the often invisible workers who are so vital to this country.

Credit: Salud America / Twitter

For Rodriguez, he hopes this edition will help shed light on the hard work and dedication of millions of invisible workers. People from all backgrounds can find common ground with these front-line workers who like so many Americans are simply trying to create a better life for themselves and their families.

“This is definitely a contrast from “El Peso Hero” fighting corruption, drug cartels, and racism on the border,” Rodríguez said. “Fans will see him in a supporting role to real-life heroes, helping a nurse bring medical masks to agricultural workers, and deliver a much needed message of solidarity and positivity to a community that is often marginalized in the shadows.”

Rodríguez himself comes from a family of immigrants — his grandfather moved from Mexico to Montana in the 1940s as a part of the Bracero Program, which brought in millions of authorized workers from Mexico to the U.S. to work on farms.

What inspired the El Peso Hero comic book series to begin with?

Credit: Rio Bravo Comics

El Peso Hero is a rogue hero standing up to Mexico’s cartels, corrupt border officials, and human traffickers.

Rodriguez told NBC News, “I wanted to create someone like Luke Cage in Harlem, but living in between southwest Texas and north Mexico, who fights cartels, and defends unaccompanied minors and families crossing the perilous border.”

It was stories his grandfather told about drug traffickers attacking vulnerable immigrants on the border that inspired him to create “El Peso Hero.”

“El Peso Hero” started off as a web comic in 2011, and is now scheduled to make its movie screen debut in 2021. The comic gained cross-border fame in 2015 after the Mexican superhero took on then presidential candidate Donald Trump — who started his campaign by saying Mexicans coming to the U.S. were rapists and criminals

This edition of El Peso Hero is so important and special given the bravery and selflessness of front-line workers.

Credit: Tom Barton / Getty

Across the country, millions of Latino workers, many of whom are undocumented, are working on farms, in meat packing plants and govern stores as “essential workers,” while much of the country is shut down for quarantine. Unlike many workers, they don’t have the privilege to work from home and instead are putting themselves and their families at risk to keep the country going.

Historically they are marginalized as outsiders and live in constant fear of deportation. But now the pandemic is showing how vital they really are to society.

The U.S. government calculates that roughly half of all crop farmworkers—1.18 million in 2019—are undocumented. A recent article from The New York Times reports that growers and labor contractors think it could be closer to 75 percent.

Here Are Some Queer Films And Shows To Watch To Start Pride Off Right

Entertainment

Here Are Some Queer Films And Shows To Watch To Start Pride Off Right

posefx / onedayatatimepoptv / Instagram

Pride Month is here and that means it is time to highlight the already celebrated LGBTQ+ shows and movies that have made a mark on us. Since Pride and the COVID pandemic are coinciding, it is a good time to watch some of the best examples of LGBTQ+ Latino entertainment.

“Moonlight”

Winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, “Moonlight” brought Afro-Latino, Black, and queer storylines together. The movie follows a young Black man in Miami and his own trials and tribulations growing up with a mother who is addicted to drugs. His life is changed thanks to an Afro-Cuban man who takes him under his wing and shows him how to make it through his adolescents.

“To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar”

One of the most popular classic films in LGBTQ+ cinema. “To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! Julie Newmar” follows three drag queens who drive from New York to Los Angeles for a national drag beauty pageant. Chi Chi Rodriguez, played by Joh Leguizamo, convinces the two competing queens to let him ride with them. Along the way, Rodriguez learns what it means to be a drag queen and the queens all learn a lot from a small, rural community filled with unexpected love and understanding.

“Pose”

“Pose” brings the ballroom culture straight to your living room. Set at the beginning in 1987 New York City during the peak of the AIDs epidemic, “Pose” empowers the queer people of color of the time. Ballroom culture is an underground dancing culture that has jumped into the mainstream because of “Pose.” The show takes the narrative of HIV-positive people of color in the time and empowers them rather than tears them down.

“Tangerine”

“Tangerine” is the story of a prostitute on a mission. The main character gets out of jail and learns that their boyfriend and pimp has started a new relationship with another woman. So, she and her friend set out to find him and teach the two a lesson for straying from her while she was incarcerated.

“Gentefied”

“Genetfied” is the latest Netflix hit and it is all about gentrification and the fight to keep Boyle Heights Latino. In the overall story, there is a lesbian relationship that is leaving everyone with all kinds of envy.

“One Day At A Time”

Netflix really misstepped here when they pulled the plug on their production of “One Day At A Time” but Pop TV saved the show. The first three seasons are currently on Netflix so you can still watch all of those episodes and enjoy the growing openness of Elena as she comes out.

“La casa de las flores”

This telenovela is truly one of the most incredible projects with LGBTQ+ characters today. Even Valentina, the famed drag queen from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” is in the latest season solidifying the shows LGBTQ+ status.

READ: The Trailer For The Final Season Of ‘La Casa De Las Flores’ Is Here And We’re Not Ready To Say Goodbye