My last few posts have been, with reason, somewhat dour. So let’s lighten up things around here. Instead of bemoaning the economy and worldwide collapse, let’s reminisce about fond childhood memories.

For example, like a lot of guys, I read whole stacks of comic books when I was a kid. I was unusual, however, in that I was big into horror stories, like the House of Secrets, and gravitated toward anti-heroes like Conan the Barbarian and Jonah Hex. For the most part, costumed superheroes bored me, with their goody-goody ways, and the only ones I liked were the ones who were messed up psychologically, like some of the X-Men.

It’s funny how early our tastes get set, because to this day, I’m much more interested in dark tales than heroic ones. Still, I acknowledge that when most people say the words “comic book,” it’s images of mighty, spandex-clad men and women fighting for noble causes that come to mind.

So I was pleased when I saw an article in Aqui – a great magazine and one to which I have contributed – that profiled Hispanic superheroes. The article was illuminating. I have to admit that despite the many hours I spent pouring over the exploits of Marvel and DC heroes, I could not recall a single Latino flying in to save the day. I remember black-power figures like Cage, and even advocates for the disabled like Daredevil, but Hispanic cape crusaders were nonexistent.

Or so I thought. Aqui pointed out that as far back as the 1970s, Latinas such as Fire (true identity: Beatriz da Costa) were striking down evildoers. Through the years, the White Tiger, Echo, and Vibe have kept us safe from evil geniuses and mutant monsters. For the demographically aware, there’s even a lesbian Latina, the Question, who fights crime. And to my surprise, the future version of one of the most famous heroes (in a series titled “Spiderman 2099”) is a guy named Miguel.

Yes, I stopped reading comics at the wrong time. Otherwise, I would have been more aware of hotties like Arana and Pantha. Then again, La Lunatica would have just freaked me out (it’s hard to get past the ominous name and ghostly skin, despite her rather impressive physical features):


In any case, I thank Aqui for educating me on the subject. And I’m glad that the next generation of kids who spend Saturdays flipping through comic books will not even think twice about the significance of a Chicano lifting cars off people or capturing muggers or fighting off alien invaders. Instead, they will recognize him as an all-American hero.