Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez has given Groot of “Guardians of the Galaxy” Puerto Rican roots and introduced the comic book world to Puerto Rican superhero “La Borinqueña.” Now, Miranda-Rodriguez is adding even more diversity to his comics by adding Lauren “La La” Liu, La Borinqueña’s best and oldest friend.
Miranda-Rodriguez is introducing Chinese-Dominican Lauren “La La” Liu in the first official “La Borinqueña” comic book.
Miranda-Rodriguez said his personal experience inspired the creation of Liu. “I have Asian Latinx in my family. My wife is Korean-American and our baby boy is half Puerto Rican, or as I like to call him, a Koricua,” Miranda-Rodriguez told mitú. “My goddaughter is adopted from China and raised by Puerto Rican/Dominican/Filipino parents. Given this awareness of the diversity of our Latinx heritage, I wanted to acknowledge it in my comic book series. I also wanted to create a character that wasn’t a superhuman, but had the tenacity and cojones of a badass young woman from Washington Heights.”
La La Liu has already made an impact in the Asian-Latinx community, with people already cosplaying as the Puerto Rican superhero’s best friend.
“Online, many Asian Latinx have reached out to me thanking me for acknowledging their rich diverse heritage. One young woman from Washington State University, Tai Yang-Abreu, is actually Chinese-Dominican herself and dressed up as La La Liu this past Halloween,” Miranda-Rodriguez told mitú. “Even my friend Ming Chen (one of the hosts of “Comic Book Men”) saw this and said “‘You see? You’ve made it!'”
Liu is also catching the attention of major Asian Pacific American organizations.
Miranda-Rodriguez told mitú he was asked to create an original comic book and art exhibition for the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center. “Now more than ever, given this week’s election, it’s important that we celebrate and defend our right to write and create stories about ourselves, our culture and our heroes. When our culture is being attacked, that is when we need to be more vigilant than ever. As artists, we have a responsibility to create art that inspires.”
Miranda-Rodriguez is excited about being a part of the exhibit because it made him give the character a proper backstory.
“They loved my work, my message, and asked me to be part of the show they were curating in New York City on November 12 and 13,” Miranda-Rodriguez said about the chance to join the exhibit. “This gave me an opportunity to give La La Liu a backstory as she gets to talk about her family leaving Barrio Chino in the Dominican Republic to come to Nueva York.”
So far, Miranda-Rodriguez says that his own goddaughter’s reaction to the new comic book is what excites him the most.
“My goddaughter Raisa Lin Garden-Lucerna, is a freshman at Goucher College. Her energy, activism and vernacular inspired me to create La La Liu,” Miranda-Rodriguez told mitú. “She jokingly refers to her close friend on campus as La Borinqueña. She read this comic book that I created for the Smithsonian Asian American Pacific Center and loved it. Having her tell me how much she enjoyed reading the story was inspiring for me.”
“What I love about writing La La Liu is how fearless and strong she is,” Miranda-Rodriguez told mitú.
“She has no super powers but isn’t afraid to defend herself. It’s important that we respect our mujeres and expect to be called out or knocked out when we step out of line,” Miranda-Rodriguez told mitú. “If we want real change to happen in America, we need to start with how we interact with each other. I write my characters with strength and tenacity, just like the real women that raised me and are still in my life. They don’t stand behind me; they stand beside me. Sometimes they lead and I gladly follow.”