Do you remember seeing superheroes that looked like you growing up? I definitely don’t. Halle Berry as Storm in the X-Men franchise and then as Catwoman, are the closest I can remember. Halle’s not Latinx, but she’s brown so that counted for something. But I’m happy to say that my two kids—who happen to be superhero-obsessed—will have a bit of a different experience than I did. Latinx superheroes from the Marvel and DC franchises are going mainstream, and it’s exactly what we’ve all been waiting for. What our kids see in movies and books and at stores matters, and this is definitely a step in the right direction when it comes to diversification and representation for one of the largest minority groups in the U.S
On December 14, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is hitting theaters, and the animated flick will introduce an entire generation of kids to Miles Morales, a biracial, Latinx Spider-Man from Brooklyn. And, get this: he’s the lead character! When has that ever happened? Not only that, but the film has gotten rave pre-release reviews, with Rolling Stone magazine even calling it “the only comic book movie you’ll ever need.” Actor Shameik Moore who voices this Spidey iteration is not Latinx—and neither are any of the other lead actors—but the character himself is—I’ll take it. If you have older kids who enjoy reading, you can also pick up “Miles Morales: Spider-Man,” a young adult novel that was released in 2017.
A couple of months ago I was strolling through the bullseye-lined aisles of a certain box store when I caught sight of a superhero action figure that looked a whole lot like what I imagine my now three-year-old daughter will grow up to look like—gorgeous brown skin, long dark hair, curves, and prominent muscles. Of course, I immediately stopped to take a closer look and discovered a young heroine by the name of America Chavez AKA Miss America—a Young Avenger. The character originated from the Marvel comic “America,” by Puerto Rican writer Gabby Rivera. She’s a Nazi-fighting, queer, totally badass superhero from an alternate universe that every little girl should look up to. The doll that I went back to buy for my little one a few days later was released in conjunction with the Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors film starring Cierra Ramirez, which came out on the Disney Channel back in September.
We started watching the CW series The Flash as a family a few years ago, and one of our favorite characters as always been Cisco Ramon, who ended up becoming the Puerto Rican superhero called Vibe. Vibe who is played by Colombian actor Carlos Valdes is an actual genius who can open portals into alternate universes and see into both the past and the future—we love that his powers lie in his mind more than his body. Plus, the character is super-lovable and straight up hilarious. The series has always had a wonderfully diverse cast, and this Latinx hero has been there since the very beginning.
Molly Hernandez AKA Princess Powerful
Though the original Marvel Runaway’s character was not Latina, when Hulu produced the new Marvel’s Runaways series, they made the Princess Powerful character Latina by changing her surname to Hernandez and casting Mexican-American actress Allegra Acosta in the role. Princess Powerful is the youngest and arguably the most powerful of all of the Runaways heroes, her most prominent powers being super-strength and invulnerability. This young hero is kind and always has a positive attitude, which makes us love her even more.
Araña is just like Spider-Man except better because she speaks two languages and has a super-cool exoskeleton! Also known as Anya Corazon, she is the most current version of Spider-Girl in the Marvel Universe. She’s also essentially Miles Morales’ counterpart and makes an appearance in the Spider-Verse movie as well. The character is also a Brooklyn teen, and trains under Ms. Marvel as a Civil War registered superhero. While Araña isn’t a starring character in any films or television shows yet, she’s one to look out for in the future, since Marvel seems to be turning towards some of its lesser known characters to continue diversifying the franchise.