George Gene Gustines if the New York Times reported on new Puerto Rican super hero La Borinqueña, who had a float in the National Puerto Rican Day Parade on last weekend, and a comic coming out in October.
And posted to Instagram after the Orlando attack.
In the wake of the Orlando tragedy, where 49 people were killed at gay nightclub Pulse in the biggest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, the creator of superheroine La Borinqueña, introduced an illustration where the Afro-Latina is honoring the LGBTQ+ victims, most of whom were Puerto Rican. In the powerful comic, which was illustrated by Dennis Calero and offered exclusively to Latina, the beautiful heroine is seen holding the Puerto Rican flag, but its red and white stripes are changed to the colors of the LGBT movement’s rainbow bandera. Below La Borinqueña are the words “Unidos Con Orlando” (“United With Orlando”). Miranda-Rodriguez created the superhero this year as a symbol of hope for Puerto Ricans, who are currently facing a $72 billion debt crisis, a healthcare disaster and a myriad of other troubles that are directly related to the U.S. territory’s colonial status. For him, a Puerto Rican from Brooklyn, New York, the Orlando massacre is also a Puerto Rican issue. “I look at this and if more than half were Puerto Rican, it’s something that affected the community – it’s an LGBT issue, a Puerto Rican issue and a Latinx issue,” Miranda-Rodriguez, a Marvel Comics writer, told Latina. He’s right. Victims of the tragedy in Orlando on early Sunday morning were 90 percent Latinx, and more than half were Puerto Rican. Understanding the power of the arts, Miranda-Rodriguez hopes La Borinqueña’s latest illustration can be a way to remember the victims and support the survivors. “My heart is heavy right now, and I know that there’s nothing that could be said that can make people feel better about this pain, this violence that we were affected with. But know that together we can overcome this,” he said. Show up for the LGBTQ+ community, Latinxs and Puerto Ricans by sharing the reverential, and stunning, illustration. #UnidosConOrlando #OrlandoMassacre #LaBorinqueña
Created by Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, he told the New York Times “Latinos are underrepresented in all forms of media,” and “If we don’t tell our own stories, no one else will.”
Her costume was modeled after the Grito de Lares, Puerto Rico’s revolutionary flag from 1868, her very name is the title of the commonwealth anthem of Puerto Rico and Edgardo references Gina Rodriguez in the sitcom “Jane the Virgin” and Rosario Dawson in “Daredevil”.
What he doesn’t mention is any influence Of Bori Girl, created by Omar Casanova for Cas Studios.
When La Borinqueña received considerable publicity, Omar posted about his upset before being contacted by the creators of the new comic book, at which point he took down his post, though remnants remain online.
“… I have no signed agreement to collaborate in the comic book Borinqueña or their creators and the character and the concept of BoriGirl is entirely mine, why I have not given rights to anyone…”
“Before “La Borinqueña,” there have been quite a few Puerto Rican superheroes, dating as far back as 1975 with George Pérez’ White Tiger for Marvel… Many publishers and artists have used the Puerto Rican flag to create other characters. In 2006, Marvel created El Vejigante, designed by my good friend Juan Doe. Also in 2006, under Image Comics, Caliente was introduced in the pages of “Ant #8.” In 2010, Unity Comics introduced Mayor Boricua. In 2011, I designed El Coqui Espectacular for playwright Matt Barbot. In 2015, I developed LAK6 for Darryl Makes Comics. Given that the Puerto Rican flag is public domain, many artists have and will continue to create characters inspired by it. I say the more the merrier.”
But now he has returned to the subject, explaining what happened.
This past week I learned an important lesson, promises lose their value if they are not met. It’s not what you say what matters, it’s what you do.
After expressing publicly how sad and disappointed I felt on my Facebook page, I received a call from one of the collaborators of the comic The Borinqueña in which I was warned of the following: ” We have spent many years in the industry and know many people, artists, writers, editors, publishers. The comics industry works depending on the contacts you have and right now we have all the contacts, if you continue throwing mud at our project, say goodbye to your dream of working with Marvel, Image, DC comics or any recognized company. No one will want to work with you after this, no matter how good your work is.”
In this call he was joined by another of the creators of the comic The Borinqueña and between the two they offered me many things ; That they could maybe get me some “gigs” with one of the big companies, that maybe i could draw an alternate cover for The Borinqueña to be use in the Puerto Rico version, that maybe I could sit at a table in the Puerto Rico Comic Con, or perhaps that maybe I could be in the New York Comic Con as a guest with them and many other conventions if I collaborated with them … many “maybes” that will stay that way. All of this was offered to me verbally, without signing any official documents and would only be fulfilled if I retracted of my words, eliminated the previous publication and wrote what they asked me to write. I kept my word and I did it. I did it because I thought i had everything to lose and had not been legally advised. I did it because I felt pressured to choose between all the work I’ve done with BoriGirl or my dreams of becoming a professional comics artist . But most of all, I did it because I was afraid.
Since I deleted the publication, I have not heard anything from them. That’s why I hereby wish to clarify once and for all, that I have not signed any agreement to collaborate in the comic book The Borinqueña or with their creators and that the character and the concept of BoriGirl is mine in its entirety, because i have not transferred, given or sold the rights to anyone.
Thank you very much to all the people who defended me and contacted me to guide me through this dark time, thanks to everybody for motivating me to strive for my dreams. I have been working with the BoriGirl comic since 2011, a comic which I haven’t had the resources to publish, but I have put much effort and all of my heart in to its creation for all of you and I ‘m not giving up, not until you finally have the comic book in your hands.
I’ve already been insulted by more unknown people than I can count and I have not argued with any of them . I have been insulted by the mere fact that I created BoriGirl and because I am defending myself.
I don’t fight with anyone, but I stand firm in my position. I don’t do it for me anymore, I’m doing it for the rest of the Puerto Rican artists. I do it so that it does not become a custom for people with money or influence, to use intimidation or blackmail to tell our artists to give up their dreams. BoriGirl is no longer just a fictional character in comics, BoriGirl is a symbol of struggle against oppression and against individuals or corporations who want to get fame, money or benefits at the expense of our ideas, our resources and our future.
BoriGirl is the representation of a voice that shouts ” I WILL NOT SURRENDER” .
BoriGirl is not a super hero , BoriGirl is Puerto Rico and I ‘m not going to lose her.
The fight continues… neither character has had a comic book featuring them published yet. A race to the printers!