NEW YORK — DC Comics’ “Blue Beetle” is now in theaters, and it’s the first live-action movie starring a Latino superhero.
The movie features a mostly Latino cast, Latino writers and a Latino director, carving a major milestone in Hollywood history.
“Blue Beetle” tells the story of what happens to recent college graduate Jaime Reyes, played by “Cobra Kai” star Xolo Mariduena, after he’s chosen to be the host of an ancient alien suit of armor and becomes superhero Blue Beetle.
The film is the first to feature a Latino superhero, and it was shot entirely in Puerto Rico. It also takes Latino representation to the next level by not only making Jamie but the entire Reyes family the focus.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to show the rest of the country, if not the world, the power and the universality of our Latin heritage — the family values, the connection to our community,” graphic novelist Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez told CBS New York’s Zinnia Maldonado.
Miranda-Rodriguez is “Tio,” or uncle, to Mariduena. He’s also a Puerto Rican, Brooklyn-based graphic novelist and points out the long-standing ties Latinos hold to the comic world.
“One of the first artists to draw at Timely Comics was actually Puerto Rican Alejandro Schaumburg. [He] was from Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, and he used to draw Captain America,” he said.
“These were things I wanted to see since a kid — somebody’s that’s not a bad guy, it’s just this kid goes to college, becomes a lawyer, and gets this crazy supernatural thing happening to him,” Action City Comics Manager Brendan Reilly said.
Reilly says growing up in a Puerto Rican household, he related to the movie on many different levels.
“The movie does a really good job depicting what it’s like to be part of a Latino family,” he said.
Both Miranda-Rodriguez and Reilly have two hopes: A “Blue Beetle” sequel and more Latino representation in mainstream films.
“Thirty percent of the Hollywood box office revenue generated by films comes from the Latin community, which represents just under 20% of the U.S. population but only is seen in less than 5% of the lead roles in Hollywood films,” Miranda-Rodriguez said. “So this needs to change.”
“Now is the time to not give us the same mundane stuff over and over again. You make it, people will come out,” Reilly said.
“Blue Bettle” is now available on digital platforms.
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