Frederick Luis Aldama, an Ohio State University professor of arts and humanities, screened and elaborated on his book turned documentary “Latinx Superheroes in Mainstream Comics” in Penn State’s Foster Auditorium.
The documentary featured several Latinx and non-Latinx comic book lovers who shared that comics have been a solace for them although they feel that the Latinx community lacked representation in most comics.
Sophomore criminology and Spanish major Lexi Hall said that comic book creators started to incorporate representation into their work, but superheroes that represent Muslim women and many others must be created.
Aldama’s documentary shed light on the facts that comics have been the beginning of English literacy and that Latinx characters often find themselves as a sidekick or background character.
Latinx creators of comics like “Love and Rockets” and “La Mano del Destino” forged the path for representation in comics albeit not always mainstream representation.
Freshman rehabilitation and human services major Tatum Evarts said that the majority of people know that Latinx characters are under-represented but the subject matter is rarely discussed which leads to slow progress.
This underrepresentation causes the reinforcement of Latinx stereotypes in mainstream media.
Television shows like “Modern Family” and cartoon characters like Speedy Gonzales strengthen the clichés that Latinx characters are hot-headed, cowards, betrayers, buffoons, oversexed, and criminals.
Movies like “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” perpetuated the image of the “white savior” swooping in to save a child during the Day of the Dead celebration.
“It’s constant missed opportunities, but it’s deliberate,” Aldama said regarding the erasure of Bane’s Latinx origins in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
Aldama added that Latinx creators are breaking into the mainstream with movies like “Coco” that actually feature accurate Latinx characters that represent the unique community of people who are much more than the representations often seen in most mainstream media.
Aldama furthers the work of the Latinx community with programs like Ohio State’s Latinx Space for Enrichment and Research (LASER) that hosts events to show hundreds of high school students that they belong on campus.
He created the Latinx Role models Day at Ohio State to help students who wish to attend college understand that a community that represents them isn’t far from their reach in further education.
“We are really killing it with comic books [and more] coming out of our community,” Aldama said.