Advertisement

Latinx Files: DC Comics’ Hispandering attempt

Radioactive tamales glow green
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month with some green telekinetic tamales!
(Martina Ibáñez-Baldor / Los Angeles Times )
Share

It’s not even mid-September and I’m already wishing for Hispanic Heritage Month to be over and done with.

Back in June, DC Comics announced on Twitter that it would be releasing seven variant covers featuring Latinx characters in celebration of the holiday. The thread included art showing Hawkgirl serving Cuban food, Blue Beetle eating tacos, and villain Bane being given a bill for $10,000 while munching on some flan. In short, the comic book publisher planned on celebrating its Latinx fans by reducing their culture and heritage to food.

The dubious content went largely unnoticed until this past weekend when an image of the Green Lantern holding a plastic bag of tamales in one hand and a green flag that reads “Viva Mexico!!” in the other began circulating online.

Advertisement

The artwork went over about as well as adding peas to guacamole. Fans blasted the comic book publisher for doing the least. Needless to say, memes were made.

The particular tweet I came across, posted by user @SIMONJESS on Friday, made the offense even more egregious because it included a more dignified version of the same cover. In it, Kyle Rayner is holding a Mexican flag missing its crest while standing in front of a green telekinetic apparition of an eagle with a serpent in its beak.

Both covers were illustrated by Mexican artist Jorge Molina. In June, a few days after the DC Comics Twitter thread (interestingly enough, it shows only six variant covers and one tweet appears to have been deleted), Molina explained that the latter work of art — the one without the tamales — was a loving tribute to Mexican muralist Jorge González Camarena’s “La Patria,” but that there were some legal issues and it could not be published.

On Saturday, Molina chimed in on the tamal debacle.

“HAAAAAAARD to keep my mouth shut,” he tweeted, “….all I can say is one has my signature and the other one doesn’t, go figure.”

On Monday, a DC Comics spokesperson confirmed the authenticity of both images but said that the artwork with the corn husk-wrapped goodies had been “incorrectly reported to be DC’s official cover.”

“It is part of DC’s internal creative process to receive and develop multiple versions of comic artwork from our artists,” they said via email. The boilerplate statement (it appears to be the same one sent to CNN, NPR and Newsweek) also noted that “DC is committed to celebrating diversity and is proud to honor Hispanic Heritage Month.”

In a follow-up email, I asked the same spokesperson about the food motif in the Hispanic Heritage Month variant covers announced in June, the deleted tweet in said thread, and whether any Latinxs were involved in the editorial process and decision-making. They declined to comment.

Molina did not respond to my request for comment, though by the looks of it, he seems happy with the news that DC Comics won’t be publishing the cover with the tamales.

So there you go, folks. This was just one big misunderstanding. I’ll take their claims at face value and will ignore the fact that the other six covers in question still equate latinidad with food.

Advertisement

I will say this, though — this whole ordeal has reaffirmed a long-held belief of mine regarding brands and their weird compulsion to do something for Hispanic Heritage Month.

When in doubt, don’t do anything.

Consider subscribing to the Los Angeles Times

Your support helps us deliver the news that matters most. Become a subscriber.

Send us your World Cup memories!

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is weeks away and you’d better believe that we have something special planned. I can’t tell you what it is yet, but I’m hoping to make you, the reader, a key part of it.

In short, what I’m asking for is that you email us your favorite World Cup-related memory. Who were you with? What happened? Why did it stick with you? Send them to me at LatinxFiles@latimes.com.

One more thing: Be forewarned that unnecessarily egregious emails about “dos a cero” will end up where the new U.S. men’s national team World Cup kits belong: in the trash. [ed. note: No they won’t]

Things we read this week that we think you should read

— Speaking of World Cup kits, have y’all seen Mexico’s away jerseys? They are straight up 🔥! R.I.P. my bank account. Times soccer writer Kevin Baxter has more on the Mesoamerican-inspired uniforms.

ICYMI: Last week’s newsletter ran long and didn’t have a link roundup section, so I didn’t get a chance to highlight this damning but necessary report from my colleague Margot Roosevelt about Latinx anti-Blackness in the workplace. The two largest race discrimination cases investigated by the federal government happened in California. The perpetrators were Latinx. The story was also featured in The Times podcast, which you can find here.

— Times sportswriter Luca Evans has this heartbreaking story about the Roosevelt High School football program dedicating its season to Santos Rivera, a standout receiver for the Rough Riders who died in June.

— Columnist Jean Guerrero would like to remind everyone that L.A.’s beaches aren’t just for white people.

Advertisement

— El compa Soudi Jiménez is reporting that East Los Angeles College has become the first institution in the state to offer a two-year Central American studies degree program. This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times en Español.

— A new study has determined that Hurricane Harvey, which struck Texas and Louisiana in 2017, hit Latinxs the hardest. According to the Washington Post, one contributing factor to the devastation was climate change, which added 8 to 10 inches of flooding.

— MTV’s Video Music Awards made history by recognizing Bad Bunny as artist of the year. Funnily enough, el conejo malo wasn’t physically present at the awards. He was performing at Yankee Stadium. From the looks of it, he put on an amazing show.

I am extremely jealous of this Boyle Heights resident’s yard, which boasts more than 250 fruit trees.

— This Monday marked 52 years since the Chicano Moratorium. Two years ago, The Times put together this comprehensive special section commemorating the event at 50. You can find it here.

From NBC News: President Biden’s new student loan forgiveness program will wipe out nearly half of all Latinx student loan debt. Have questions about the program? The Times’ utility desk put together this handy guide.

And now for something a little different...

For a lot of people paperwork is part of adulthood
(Fabiola Lara / For The Times)
But for most first or second gen kids, it's been a part of our life all along
(Fabiola Lara / For The Times)
almost just like homework
(Fabiola Lara / For The Times)
Advertisement
the minute you enter elementary school and read english
(Fabiola Lara / For The Times)
you become your parents' go-to translator
(Fabiola Lara / For The Times)
First it starts with tardy slips, absent forms and permission slips
(Fabiola Lara / For The Times)
and eventually you're filling out leases, medical forms, immigration forms and job applications
(Fabiola Lara / For The Times)
slowly those papers, docs and forms poke hols in your childhood
(Fabiola Lara / For The Times)
Making you grow up just a little faster than others. But someone's gotta do it
(Fabiola Lara / For The Times)
Advertisement
So never underestimate a Latina who has years of experience with paperwork!
(Fabiola Lara / For The Times)

Fabiola Lara is a first-generation Chilean American illustrator, podcaster and YouTuber based in Philadelphia.

“I wanted to write this comic after realizing that although I resent having to complete annoying paperwork, I feel a lot more prepared and confident doing it than a lot of my peers. This has been true for me for a long time, especially in high school and college. I really believe it has to do with the fact that I’ve been navigating random bits of paperwork since I was a kid and it has shaped me into a more competent — and possible type-A — adult.

“But I don’t think this experience is unique to me. This comic is for those who have filled out paperwork for their parents, siblings, and even friends throughout their lives. And for my older sister, who, of course, was the first translator in the family, and who taught me well.”

Are you a Latinx artist? We want your help telling our stories. Send us your pitches for illustrations, comics, GIFs and more! Email our art director at martina.ibanezbaldor@latimes.com.

Advertisement