Smithsonian exhibits Bronx comic writer’s superheroine

Smithsonian exhibits Bronx comic writer’s superheroine|Smithsonian exhibits Bronx comic writer’s superheroine
Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez’s passion for reading and creating comic books began as a child growing up in Kingsbridge and University Heights during the ‘Burning Bronx’ era.
Photo by Kyung Jeon-Miranda

A barrier-shattering superheroine is making history at the Smithsonian!

West Bronx native and graphic novelist Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez’s ‘La Borinqueña’ comic book is the latest addition to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s comic book collection and ‘Superheroes’ exhibition.

On display until September 2019, the action-packed showcase features superhero-themed artifacts from the museum’s collection including comic books, original comic art, film and television costumes and props and memorabilia.

Incredible treasures on display include George Reeves’ Superman costume from the ‘Adventures of Superman’ television series, the shield used by Chris Evans’ Captain America in the film ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ and Halle Berry’s Storm costume from the film ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ among many others.

The museum’s Graphic Arts Center Collection houses approximately 900 original and reproductive comic art drawings representing 375 artists and nearly 400 titles.

Its extensive comic book collection includes such illustrated illuminaries as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Shazam, Black Panther, Daredevil, Luke Cage and the X-Men.

La Borinqueña is writer and creator Miranda-Rodriguez’s brainchild and patriotic icon expressed in the classic superhero narrative.

As depicted in the now historic 2016 comic book, Marisol Rios De La Luz, a Columbia University Earth and Environmental Sciences undergraduate and Williamsburg, Brooklyn resident living with her parents, takes a semester of study abroad in collaboration with the University of Puerto Rico.

While exploring Puerto Rican caves, she discovers five similarly sized crystals.

Upon uniting these crystals, Atabex, the Taíno mother goddess, appears before Marisol and summons her sons, Yúcahu, spirt of the seas and mountains and Juracan, spirit of the hurricanes.

The indigenous deities bestow superhuman strength, flight and control over storms upon Marisol who adopts the heroic moniker, La Borinqueña.

Her alter ego’s namesake references the Taíno name for the island of Puerto Rico, Borinquén and Puerto Rico’s national anthem.

According to Miranda-Rodriguez, La Borinqueña’s trademark red, white and sky blue costume draws inspiration from the Lares revolutionary flag of 1868 and the original Puerto Rican flag of 1895.

The Somos Arte creative director and owner confirmed that La Borinqueña’s costume which was worn by UC Berkeley School of Law alumna Stephanie Martin Llanes for the 2016 National Puerto Rican Day Parade will also be displayed at the Smithsonian’s Superheroes exhibit.

The Colgate University Class of 1993 alumnus noted La Borinqueña is the exhibit’s only independent comic book not published by DC or Marvel.

“It’s definitely rewarding having my comic book recognized as an important piece of American and Puerto Rican history and for it to be archived as part of the Smithsonian’s historical records,” he expressed.

The La Borinqueña Grants Program has raised approximately $150,000 to help Puerto Rico rebuild following Hurricane Maria.

‘La Borinqueña – Issue #1’ is the only independent comic book housed inside the Smithsonian National Museum of American History’s comic book collection and exhibition.
Photo courtesy of Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez

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