Latinx representation in the superhero genre can feel like a constant uphill battle, especially for Latinas. When superheroes are overwhelmingly represented as white men, it feels like a huge victory when a member of our community is shown on the big screen fighting monsters, aliens, and villains. We’ve had our fair share of superheroes represented by Latinas like Tessa Thompson, Salma Hayek, and Zoe Saldaña but few of them have actually been canonically Latina. Even fewer end up on the shelves as dolls that kids can see themselves in as they play, which can lead to feelings of low self-esteem and invisibility. Seeking a way to change that narrative, writer and graphic novelist Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez has teamed up with action figure manufacturer Boss Fight Studio to release “La Borinqueña” as part of a line of dolls called I Am Brilliance.
The Afro-Boricua superheroine born Marisol Rios De La Luz protects the island of Puerto Rico, originally known as Borikén, using her ancient Taíno powers and has already earned Miranda-Rodriguez an Eisner Award, a collab with fellow Afro-Boricua Rosario Dawson, and a crossover with DC’s Wonder Woman. It is now available for preorder through Boss Fight Studio.
“Toys inspire children to engage in imaginative play. La Borinqueña will now be in the hands of children who will craft their own stories and adventures for our superhero. The true power of La Borinqueña is her ability to show people that heroes talk like us, dance like us, eat like us, and now more than ever play like us. La Borinqueña is also going to appeal to children of all ages who never had the opportunity to play with a toy that looks like her,” Miranda-Rodriguez tells HipLatina.
Miranda-Rodriguez originally launched the character of La Borinqueña in 2016. Through his creative studio Somos Arte, he created a series of graphic novels following her adventures as a super protector of the island while also staying true to cultural issues and current events. In 2022, five years after Hurricane María devastated Puerto Rico, he created a special edition of La Borinqueña and donated the funds from sales to philanthropic organizations to support people on and off the island. Flash forward to this year, and La Borinqueña has become more than a superhero on the page, but a physical doll that represents so many Afro-Boricuas who are just as passionate about their family, heritage, and community.
“Young girls should feel that they are holding a representation of their very own superpower when they play with our La Borinqueña doll. Her brown complexion and curly hair are as much as important to her look as a superhero as is her cape and costume. It’s also about time that dolls in toy collections also support philanthropic work that promotes true heroism” he shares. To that end, Boss Fight Studio is donating a portion of the sales of these dolls to support La Borinqueña Grant Awards which have donated $200,000 in grants to nonprofits in Puerto Rico, according to Miranda-Rodriguez.
The 6-inch doll is dressed in a red, white, and blue costume to match the Puerto Rican flag and has many distinctive features including her curly hair (which can be styled) and a la flor de maga (hibiscus) barrette in honor of Puerto Rico’s national flower. Her backstory includes the power to “control over winds and earth,” as well as the ability to fly and access past memories from the island’s history. She also collects rocks from Puerto Rico’s caves, studies trees, helps turtles build safe nests on the beach, and, in her free time, dances bomba, according to Boss Fight Studio’s website.
“My dream is that this doll not only finds a home across the U.S. but also across the world so that not only do we empower ourselves with her presence in the toy industry, but that the rest of the world also give value to characters like La Borinqueña that celebrate our rich heritage, culture, and power,” Miranda-Rodriguez tells us. “I hope that people buy our La Borinqueña doll for themselves, their daughters, madres, tías, vecinas, y amigas. We’re a small business and the power of pre-ordering this doll goes toward its success as a product in the marketplace. El pueblo unido sólo puede garantizar el éxito de la muñeca La Borinqueña.”
La Borinqueña Doll is $29.99 and currently available for preorder with a release date early next year.
Additional reporting by Virginia Isaad