By Mike Greear
They say that not all heroes wear capes, and that is mostly true of Puerto Rican comic book writer and graphic designer, Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez. However, in the case of La Borinqueña, the Brooklynite’s original superhero comic book character, colorful costumes and capes are the order of the day. Together, Miranda-Rodriguez and his creation have raised over $150,000 to help the people of Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Superman, eat your heart out!
In early 2016, Miranda-Rodriguez, who had already founded the design studio, Somos Arte, was working on an issue of a “Guardians of the Galaxy” spinoff at Marvel Comics called “Guardians of Infinity.” It was during this time Miranda-Rodriguez created the character Abuela Estrella, a Puerto Rican grandmother who would go on to provide readers with a Taino-inspired origin for the fan-favorite, talking space-tree, Groot.
"A protagonist that talks like us, eats like us, dances like us, has the same cultural references as us was missing and I saw the responsibility to fill that void."
After seeing the positive response the character received, Miranda-Rodriguez opted to create his own original Puerto Rican superhero for a special graphic novel that was introduced at the 2016 Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City. “As a young person growing up in New York City, I didn’t have access to fine arts or museums so I turned to comic books. A protagonist that talks like us, eats like us, dances like us, has the same cultural references as us was missing and I saw the responsibility to fill that void,” Miranda Rodriguez told NBC News of his compulsion to create the character.
The character, La Borinqueña, was imbued with special abilities she received from Taino mysticism while visiting the island of Puerto Rico.
The book was a success and a follow-up was released in January of 2018. In the meantime, the island was struck by Hurricane Maria, a horrific natural disaster that left thousands dead and countless more without basic resources like clean water, food and light. This looked like a job for La Borinqueña!
Using his comic book connections, and tapping into his background as a Latino activist/artist, Miranda-Rodriguez published a sequel through Somos Arte in May 2018 with nearly 200 pages of new content featuring La Borinqueña teaming up with some of DC Comics’ most iconic superheroes, including Wonder Woman and Batman to bring aid to the island. “Ricanstruction: Reminiscing & Rebuilding Puerto Rico,” features contributions from actors like Rosario Dawson, industry legends such as Frank Miller, as well as contemporary heavy-hitters such as Sanford Greene.