Last week, news broke that Marvel CEO Isaac Perlmutter – who immigrated from Israel to the United States after serving in the 1967 Six Day War – donated $1 million to the campaign of the xenophobic, vitriolic Donald Trump. Since then, he’s been lambasted for his contribution, according to Variety. But despite the fact that Perlmutter has thrown his support behind a man intent on bringing down the Latino community, Marvel Comics continues to slowly but surely move in the right direction – diversifying its characters and storylines to better represent the makeup of the U.S.
Since 2000, Marvel Comics has been headed by Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso, whose father is Mexican. Under his purview, Marvel introduced Afro-Latino Spider-Man Miles Morales in 2011. And this week, Marvel Comics is releasing an issue that looks to the Taíno culture of Puerto Rico. The artist behind the issue is Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, who worked to push his Puerto Rican culture to the forefront, just as he’s done in the past.
“So many stories are told that do not authentically represent us Latinos,” he said. That’s why when the Darryl Makes Comics Editor-in-chief was tapped to work on his first issue for Marvel Comics, he saw an opportunity to connect it to his roots. The end result, co-created with Darryl “DMC” McDaniels (of Run DMC), is Guardians of Infinity #3, an issue that imagines a conflict between characters Thing, a.k.a Benjamin Grimm, and Groot.
While McDaniels infused Thing with his own personality, Miranda-Rodriguez studied the alien, tree-like Groot and found similarities between the character and the ceiba trees from his Puerto Rican childhood. “As an adolescent, I lived [in Puerto Rico],” he told Remezcla. “The town is named after the ceiba tree. In the center of the island is the Parque de la Ceiba in Ponce, Puerto Rico, where a 500-year-old ceiba tree grows to this day… The ceiba tree holds cultural significance throughout Latin America, West Africa and Southeast Asia.”
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