Comic books are the current belles of the ball thanks to Comic-Con 2011 (it starts today!) and a string of superhero movies being released. Historically speaking, Latinos have always been into comic books, fantasy, and all that other nerd stuff that gets you beat up as a child*. Despite being faithful readers and true believers, the major comic book publishers have done a piss-poor job in representing this demographic, which means that compiling this list has been a somewhat Herculean task. Still, thanks to our lifelong devotion to fictional characters and their tales, we were able to do it. Below are the five greatest Hispanic comic book characters of all time.
If the name “Anya Corazon” sounds familiar, chances are that a) you got wedgies on a daily basis growing up, and/or b) you recall this article. Back in November of 2010, Marvel announced that Anya Corazon would be the new Spider-Girl. Anya– she’s half Mexican and half Puerto Rican– first made an appearance in August of 2004 (Amazing Fantasy vol . 2, #1) as a member/Hunter for the Spider Society. Since then, Araña (her original super hero name) appeared alongside other characters as a supporting cast member (Ms. Marvel and Spider-Man) before taking over the Spider-Girl moniker (this name used to belong to Spider-Man’s teenage daughter, May “Mayday” Parker).
We’ve included her on this list for two reasons: 1) She’s the newest of all the Latino comic book characters, and 2) she’s the most visible Hispanic female character.
In Ultimate Iron Man, an origin series written by Ender’s Game author Orson Scott Card, our super hero is half-Hispanic. In Marvel’s“Ultimate” universe, Iron Man is Antonio “Tony” Stark, the son of Howard Stark and Maria Cerrera. Although her mother’s birthplace is never disclosed, we’re lead to believe that she’s one of us.
In Ultimate Iron Man, Antonio Stark is born with a genetic defect that causes him to be born with neural tissue throughout his body, turning him into a walking brain.
When we heard that they were making a Green Lantern we prayed to Quetzacoatl in hopes that the film would center around Kyle Rayner and not Hal Jordan. Why? Because Rayner is more of a badass than Jordan. Also, Rayner is Latino.
The son of Gabriel Vasquez, a Mexican-American CIA agent, Kyle Rayner became the last Green Lantern after Hal Jordan lost his shit when his hometown of Coast City was destroyed. Unlike his predecessor, who became the first human to join the Green Lantern Corps because he happened to be in the right place at the right time. Still, his background as a graphic artist allowed him to use the power of the ring in very creative manners. Oh yeah, and at one point, he became god-like, allowing him to mess with time and space.
Much like Kyle Rayner, Jaime Reyes was not the original Blue Beetle, but he certainly was the cooler one.
Introduced in 2006, Jaime Reyes became a super hero when the Blue Beetle scarab he found fused itself to Jaime’s spine. The Blue Beetle was instrumental in defeating Battle Eye during DC Comic’s Infinite Crisis series. This lead to his own spin-off series in which he fights against Green Lantern Guy Gardner and The Reach, an alien organization who secretly tries to take over Earth.
Much like Marvel with Spider-Girl, The Blue Beetle is DC Comic’s attempt to go after the Hispanic demographic. Latino (more specifically, Mexican-American) culture–strong emphasis on family values, for example– is very prominent in the series.
Bane, poor Bane. Why has Christopher Nolan forsaken your Latino heritage and whitewashed you for his upcoming film?
First introduced in 1993, Bane has become one of the greatest super-villains (the only one in our list) of all time. Born and raised in the Peña Duro prison of Santa Prisca–a fictional Caribbean island nation– our character is a genius with super-human strength(the latter comes from Venom, a drug he was injected with). He himself in the Knightfall series when he severely injured the Caped Crusader. Bane broke Batman’s back. That alliterative sentence alone shoots Bane into legendary status.
Unfortunately, most people only remember Bane as the grunting idiot who served as Posion Ivy’s sidekick in 1997′s Batman & Robin. We do think Nolan (and actor Tom Hardy) will do a good job in restoring our Lucha Libre-donning villain’s name, but are severely dissapointed that he’s not being played by a Latino actor (what? Was Benicio Del Toro not available?).
*We’re basing this statement on our own nerd childhood.