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.
A whole comic book series devoted to Leguizamo? Insane, right?
Leguizamo is collaborating with “La Borinqueña” creator Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez.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.
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