If you’re looking for a new and creative way to help Puerto Rico after the destruction of Hurricane Maria (that doesn’t include seeing Lin-Manuel Miranda in Hamilton next January or traveling there on your next break), then it’s here. Puerto Rico Strong, an anthology from Lion Forge that features writing and illustrations by some of the top Puerto Rican and Latinx talent in the comic book industry, is finally here.
According to The Washington Post, all profits from sales of the comic book will be donated to United Way of Puerto Rico. This pledge from publisher Lion Forge will assist with nonprofit child-care facilities, community schools, and health-care centers. Honestly, it’s been amazing to see Latinos and creatives stepping up to help Puerto Rico, which is still suffering from the aftermath of the hurricane that struck last September, but this comic book is an inventive way to give back.
The cover art for this beautiful book is by Naomi Franquez, and the anthology includes work by Rosa Colon, Vita Ayala, Naomi Franquiz, Javier Cruz Winnik, Sabrina Cintron, Ronnie Garcia, Fabian Nicieza, Joamette Gil, and many more. In addition to the profits being donated to United Way of Puerto Rico, Lion Force also plans to match the first $25,000 made from Puerto Rico Strong with Diamond Comic Distributors also donating 5% of the retail sales to the organization.
The book, which “explores what it means to be Puerto Rican and the diversity that exists within that concept,” follows stories that “follow individuals from diverse walks of life but are all part of the culture that is Puerto Rico.” The stories featured in the book “can be personal stories, it can be stories about Puerto Rico’s history,” Marco Lopez, an editor and writer for the anthology, told The Washington Post. “It can be social political stories or stories based on Puerto Rico’s culture or just fantastic made up sci-fi fantasy stories.”
The book’s unifying message, that of a proud Puerto Rican people and their history, held special meaning for many of the editors, like editorial assistant Desiree Rodriguez, who are Puerto Rican.
“There’s so little history taught about Puerto Rico,” she said. “One of the things I noticed when the hurricane news was at its peak, was that a lot of people didn’t know about the Jones Act. They didn’t know about the economic struggles that [Puerto Rico] has continuously gone through and the history behind that. One of the goals was to teach people. That way, people could read this… and can learn about the island through actual Puerto Ricans, because history is so often told through the privileged point of view.”