Although Hispanic Heritage Month doesn’t begin until September 15, DC Comics got off to an early start by revealing several special covers in its attempt to celebrate the month ahead.
The blankets, which were unveiled in Junefeature several of DC’s superheroes surrounded, holding or eating a variety of Latin American foods such as tacos, flan, tamales and fried dishes. Comic book fans on Twitter, especially Latino fans, aren’t too happy with this take on DC’s heroes.
Seriously, I can’t understand how pathetically uncreative these covers are when it comes to visually representing Hispanic heritage. pic.twitter.com/HbGTLEDPfL
— Travis B. Hill (@travisbhill5) August 27, 2022
Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez, who is the creator of his own comic book series La Borinquena and has collaborated with DC Comics in the past, told NPR he thought those covers were “tasteless.”
“I feel like it’s incredibly tone deaf — almost like a parody of our culture when we’re reduced to food, you know? And that, street food,” Miranda-Rodriguez said. “It’s very, very codified to me. But it also shows how little they know it’s coded, how offensive it is, how tasteless it is. And it’s very exhausting.”
A cover featuring Kyle Rayner as Green Lantern received more heat than the others. It shows the hero holding a large green flag in one hand that reads “Viva Mexico!!” while the other holds a shopping bag full of tamales. This was not the original illustration, however.
In June, illustrator Jorge Molina revealed on Twitter that he created a cover of Green Lantern for DC. The original illustration was to be a tribute to The homeland, a famous mural by Mexican painter Jorge González Camarena. In the unfinished illustration, Green Lantern held a lantern instead of tamales, had an eagle with a snake perched on his arm, and held a Mexican flag without the coat of arms.
I did this cover for DC for the #hispanicheritagemonth Kyle Reyner having a Mexican origin and being Mexican myself, it was a great honor to have the opportunity to pay tribute to my country and my roots, that’s why I decided to pay tribute to Jorge Gonzales Camerena pic.twitter.com/463HBs8j0U
— Jorge Molina (@jorge_molinam) June 20, 2022
According to Molina, the cover was “not supposed to see the light of daydue to “legal issues” and how he was promoted by DC remained a mystery to him.
DC Comics told NPR that the controversial cover of Green Lantern was not going to be published. “It’s part of DC’s internal creative process to receive and develop multiple versions of comic book artwork from our artists. Some are released as variant covers, others are never used,” said the company in a press release. It was “incorrectly flagged” as the official cover.
DC says it plans to release Molina’s original cover on September 20.
The company did not address the controversy over other planned covers. Twitter fans have taken to the platform to call out DC Comics for portraying Latino heroes solely in relation to their food.
Miranda-Rodriguez encouraged Latinos to continue to step up and “rock the boat” when it comes to social issues like this, but was ultimately disappointed in how DC Comics chose to appeal to its Latin readers.
“Their characters will continue to inspire generations to come as they have before, but it’s exhausting when you have a situation like this,” he said. “They don’t just see this as an opportunity to do something to celebrate our heritage, and essentially turn it around and mock our heritage and reduce us to menu items.”