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Latina superhero stars in own U.S. comic

A half-Puerto Rican, half-Mexican superhero, Anya Corazon, has made her way to the US comics market.
/ Source: Reuters

Move over Wonder Woman and Supergirl. There’s a new female superhero on the block, and she packs her own unique twist -- she’s the first Latina star of a comic book series.

“Amazing Fantasy,” from Marvel Comics featuring hot-tempered high-school student Anya Corazon, is a blatant bid to target the Hispanic market, Betty Cortina, editorial director of Latina magazine, said Friday of last week’s launch.

“And that is not a bad thing,” she added.

“The community has long wanted to see its stories reflected in all media,” Cortina said in an interview. “This is obviously fantasy, but the fact that there is a powerful Latino woman out there is not a bad thing.”

Anya, who is half-Puerto Rican and half-Mexican growing up in a gritty section of Brooklyn, has not yet shown her supernatural side or superhero alter-ego, but Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada said she would have powers similar to the company’s wildly successful Spider-Man.

Quesada described the petite Anya as a “realistic” character wearing baggy tee-shirts, jeans and sneakers, who girls would relate to better than standard female comic book characters. “They were like models and wore skin-tight clothing, and all their attributes were larger than life,” he noted.

“There are more Hispanics reading comic books and more women and girls reading comics,” Quesada, a Cuban-American, said. “So it’s a perfect time to inject a role model with these cultural differences.”

The debut issue is already finding a niche.

“It’s selling very well,” Gerry Gladston, part-owner of New York’s (sprawling) Midtown Comics, said on Friday. “We have a lot of Latino customers and I’m sure they like a super-hero they can identify with.”

The comic is in English but will likely be translated into Spanish and French as well, Quesada said.

Hispanics make up about 13 percent of the U.S. population, said Cortina, who added she hoped the comic book would appeal to audiences beyond the Latino community.

“I love the idea of seeing a woman who’s powerful, who’s strong, who’s principled and who’s out there doing good. even if it’s in a comic book,” the magazine chief said.

“Anything that turns a woman into a strong character and not a victim is something I like to see and I think especially Hispanic women need to see that.”