Tales from La Vida:
A LatinX Comics Anthology
Edited by Frederick Luis Aldama
Mad Creek Books, an imprint of
Ohio State University Press, 2018
[EXTRA CREDIT: A book about a person of color (PoC), any variety, written by an author of the same variety]
I’m tacking on this book as extra credit to the above challenge.
The genesis of Tales from La Vida was pretty unique. Eighty LatinX (a term that includes, but is not limited to, those of Latino/Latina gender) writers, artists, and other creators within the comics community were asked to contribute a brief comic on what it meant to them to be who they were. The result was a kaleidoscope of different artistic styles and different storytelling techniques, some very traditional, some obscure. Most were pretty solid and the whole was fun to read. More than a few were heartbreaking, and more than a few contained stunning imagery — like Quetzalcoatl serpents or a taco turned into a jet plane.
The focus was on mainstream, or White American, society and the price of being Other — mostly Mexican or Central American in this anthology, though Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and other South American nationalities also made appearances – it takes. But even though it’s dominant in many ways the U.S. is still only a small part of the wider Latin world. There’s a whole other Hemisphere below it. By saying this I’m not criticizing the book, far from it; it benefited by being narrow in scope. But I also know that LatinX experience in their own countries, or in a country other than the US, is a lot different, and that there are also other stories to tell, and I hope to hear them one day.
It also made me hunger for an anthology of actual Latino comics, Super Cholo, Condorito, Kaliman, Mafalda, and the like, to check out the writers’ influences.