Latinx comic writer talks about diversity in the industry – the Western Carolinian

Frederick Luis Aldama shared a glimpse of what it’s like to be the voice of Latinx representation in the comic book industry during his keynote address to Western Carolina University students on Zoom on October 13.

Aldama, also known as Professor Latinx, is a legend in the field of Latinx comic writing, winning many coveted awards for his work while continuing to be an activist for Latinx’s portrayal in the media.

Aldama shared his roots as a Mexican, Guatemalan, Irish-American and why those roots led him to be exposed to racism from a young age.

“My mother is a Guatemalan, Irish-American from eastern LA. My father is Mexican from Mexico. I mention all of this because in the mid-1970s children who spoke Spanish were told not to speak that “dirty Mexican” at school. Bilingualism was sort of frowned upon, ”Aldama said with a laugh. “I also remember coming home upset because a teacher told me to my face that I was not Mexican, that I was Spanish. I was completely confused because my family told me we were Mexican, Guatemalan, Irish-American.

Aldama described these moments of blatant racism and trauma as something that would later spur his movement towards activism.

“That’s when I started asking myself questions like ‘what is literature doing in the world?’, ‘What about cultural objects, comics, movies; what are they actually doing in the world and how can I use them to make a difference? Aldama said.

Aldama began his fundamental overhaul of the comic book industry by analyzing how underrepresented Latinos, Latinos, and Latinxes were in comic book media.

“Whenever I searched the Marvel or DC encyclopedia, they never mentioned any of the Latino superheroes, and they barely mentioned black and Asian superheroes. They were a little more present, but there was no mention of us. So I went back to the archives and rebuilt them to show how real the erasure of our presence in the comics is, ”Aldama said.

Not only is the erasure of Latinx people in the media an ongoing problem, people who try to break this trend are also denied opportunities.

“Very often, when creatives knock on large doors, we are not heard. So I wanted to create my own comics and publish comics, graphic novels and graphic non-fiction created by Latinos, Latinos and Latinx, ”Aldama said. “I think it’s really important for us to bring our mythologies, our local stories, our folk tales into modern myth.”

Aldama ended his speech by emphasizing how important it is to find and follow the voice of the writer within you, encouraging everyone to share their stories.

“I think we all need to find our voice and once you find your writer’s voice it’s like a train. It’s like Snowpiercer, you can’t stop this train, but you have to be able to explore and take the time to find your voice and find that confidence to know that you have something to share with the world that has. makes sense, ”Aldama said.

Grover Z. Barnes