By Harmeet Kaur, CNN
DC Comics’ attempt to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month has instead offended fans.
The publisher previewed several variant covers in June for new stories featuring Latin American characters, which were set to release in September when Hispanic Heritage Month begins. But the artwork was largely centered around food, prompting criticism from some Latino fans and artists who felt the covers reduced their communities to clichés.
One widely circulated cover shows superhero Kyle Rayner, a member of the Green Lantern Corps, in space with a bag of tamales in one hand and a flag reading “Viva Mexico!!” in the other. Another depicts Hawkgirl as a waitress carrying plates of food from “Platanitos Fritos Cafeteria.” Yet another shows Jaime Reyes as the Blue Beetle flying through the air with tacos.
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Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, whose 2016 graphic novel “La Borinqueña” explores Puerto Rican history and identity, was among the covers’ critics.
“So, @DCComics thinks these Hispanic Heritage Month covers of their Latin superheroes eating ethnic food is a good idea,” he tweeted. “I’ve never seen Batman eating filet mignon, Wonder Woman a gyro, or Superman tuna casserole, but this is what happens when we aren’t on the editorial team.”
Samantha King, a comic news writer for Screen Rant, called the covers “an absolute disappointment that shows a lack of creativity and respect for the community.”
“Culture and heritage is about far more than food,” King wrote in a recent article. “Though it is one of the most effective ways to bring people together and to begin building bridges, it shouldn’t be the sole focus of covers that aim to celebrate so many different cultures.”
At least one of the covers appeared to be modified from the artist’s original vision.
Shortly after DC debuted its Hispanic Heritage Month covers, comic illustrator Jorge Molina shared a version of the Green Lantern cover sans tamales. In it, character Kyle Rayner holds a green lantern and a Mexican flag without the coat of arms.
That version, which Molina said was unfinished, paid tribute to Mexican muralist Jorge González Camarena’s iconic work “La Patria.” Molina added at the time that the cover was not supposed to be released due to “legal issues.”
Recently, Molina appeared to address the controversy again, tweeting that “one has my signature and the other one doesn’t, go figure.”
DC Comics told CNN that the Green Lantern cover featuring the tamales was not the official cover and that Molina’s original version would come out on September 20. Molina confirmed the news on social media Tuesday.
“It is part of DC’s internal creative process to receive and develop multiple versions of comic artwork from our artists,” DC said in a statement shared with CNN. “Some are released as variant covers, others are never used.”
The company did not address the criticisms aimed at the other covers.
While DC has made efforts to address the lack of diversity and inclusion in the comic industry, its botched attempt to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month stands in contrast to a recent effort from its competitor Marvel, which announced a new anthology in its “Marvel’s Voices” series that would spotlight Latino superheros while elevating the work of Latino artists, writers and creators. The upcoming “Marvel’s Voices: Comunidades #1” has garnered praise for its thoughtful exploration of the intersecting identities of its characters.
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