The diversity movement within the comic book industry has spawned not just a resurgence for already established characters of color like Black Panther and the Netflix crasher, Luke Cage, but also brand new characters of all different backgrounds and ethnicities. Recently, a new character by the name of La Borinquena has surfaced sporting a costume stylized like the national flag of Puerto Rico. However, her creator, Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez’s intentions when developing the Boricua superheroína were not to go with the trend of putting out characters to further diversify the comic book world. The triple-threat writer/editor/artist saw the potential in the character serving a bigger purpose—that she could become a symbol of pride, culture and hope for a land that can really use a hero right now.
“As a storyteller I find it very important and I take a very great responsibility to create a character that can stand as a symbol of hope. I’m not creating a story or character because I feel there’s a need for diversity. It’s more because there’s a necessity for social change. Here we are with a debt crisis in Puerto Rico, and all of these hedge funders taking money away from Puerto Rico. This is an opportunity for us to make a political statement,” Miranda-Rodriguez told ‘LLERO.
Mentored by Young Lords Party member, Iris Morales, Miranda-Rodriguez’s urge to step in when he witnessed an injustice somewhere was already embedded in him. However, before this sense of fighting for justice, the New Jersey-born, New York City-raised creator was simply trying to escape the madness that was growing up in the 1970s and ‘80s in the South Bronx by drawing as well as diving into the pages of comic books. Introduced to the medium by his older brother, Axel Miranda, and cousin, Santiago De Jesus, Miranda-Rodriguez would collect bottles and cans in order to raise the money to buy comics. It was shortly thereafter that the young artist first realized that he can produce comics himself, which he would then present to his classmates who would commission him to produce more original stories featuring fan favorites like Captain America and Iron Man. He was sort of like a young Alex A. Schomburg in the making.
Before cutting his teeth as a professional comics creator, though, Miranda-Rodriguez was an art curator. Working on a few Marvel Comics-inspired art exhibits is what led him down the path he’s currently on. Through these exhibits he was able to meet heavy hitters in the industry like Phil Jimenez, Axel Alonso, Carlos Pacheco and Humberto Ramos, to name a few. It was also via these shows that he met Darryl “DMC” McDaniels from the legendary hip-hop group Run DMC, who Miranda-Rodriguez would later partner up with to create the publishing company Darryl Makes Comics and the critically acclaimed graphic novel series DMC.
More on Edgardo’s collaboration with DMC after the jump…