Home Book publication Welcome a team of Latino superheroes coming to town – Orange County Register

Welcome a team of Latino superheroes coming to town – Orange County Register


Every hero has an origin story.

Growing up in Boyle Heights, LA and spending weekends watching movies with her grandparents, Kayden Phoenix says she wanted to see a superhero who looked like her. That didn’t happen, so she eventually created a whole team of heroes herself.

Phoenix is ​​the writer-creator of an all-Latina superhero comic book team called A La Brava that she’ll be bringing to WonderCon in Anaheim, which kicks off today. The event, which includes panels, vendors, cosplayers, Bigfoot hunters and more, returns in-person after two years of virtual events due to the pandemic.

After earning a business degree from Loyola Marymount University, Phoenix focused on movies, writing a feature script and directing a short film about a Latino superhero, but she says people always asked for the same thing: where is the comic strip?

So, after taking the time to study the giants of comics, she created A La Brava and its five Latino superheroes, whose stories unfold in individual books.

“These are each their origin stories of how they got their name and their power. These are all different legacies within the Latin Diaspora. They come together, they become the A La Brava team,” says Phoenix, who says the books explore social justice issues such as domestic violence and teenage suicide. “These are all very dark but very feminine themes, because as women we don’t get justice.”

She’ll be at WonderCon to discuss her heroes, including: Loquita, a teenage supernatural detective; Bandita, a sniper; Ruca, a vigilante; Santa, a murderer who preys on ICE detention centers; and Jalisco, who is described as “a blade-wielding folk dancer who uses her culture as her weapon.”

Kayden Phoenix at her San Diego Comic Con booth in November 2021. (Courtesy of Phoenix Studios)

To create the individual comics, she sought out Latin women like her, “We exist on and off the page,” she says. Her collaborators include GLAAD and Eisner Award nominee Eva Cabrera and recent Laguna College of Art and Design graduate Amanda Julina Gonzalez.

“They’re all Latin artists, and that’s very on purpose,” Phoenix says, before quoting his company’s mission statement. “To create a superhero mindset in every marginalized individual.”

The first four titles are out and another is coming this month before the band team up in a book which will arrive this summer. Beyond that, Phoenix says she has plans for a younger series about princesses, and has held meetings in Hollywood to bring her work to the screen.

In the meantime, you can stop by his table at WonderCon (you can see a photo of him above from San Diego Comic-Con last November) or visit a local store.

“Target, Walmart, Barnes & Noble. All the local comic shops in greater LA County and Orange County – I’m in all of them too,” Phoenix says.


‘Slow Horses’ will take you for a ride

A scene from the Apple+ series “Slow Horses”. (Courtesy of Apple+)

Previously, readers of a series of books would hear about an upcoming adaptation and feel a mixture of anticipation and dread.

Mainly fear.

But these days there are plenty of acclaimed adaptations, be it “Bridgerton”, “Reacher” or “Pachinko”, and you can add a good one to the list, “Slow Horses”, which is streaming today on AppleTV+.

Based on Mick Herron’s series, “Slow Horses” is a six-episode series about Slough House, a London unit where disgraced spies are sent to end their careers after screwing up. The show stars Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Jack Lowden, Rosalind Eleazar, Christopher Chung, and Saskia Reeves. It’s a terrific mix of thrills, drama, and, you know, spy stuff. But it’s also clever and darkly funny; I saw it all and liked it.

Even better? Herron has written more books about Slough House, so there are plenty more where that came from.

What are some of your favorite book-to-screen adaptations? Email me at [email protected] and I may share your comments in a future newsletter.

Thanks, as always, for reading.


‘Late’ author Amanda Oliver on the book she’s sharing with everyone

“Late” author Amanda Oliver. (Photo by Justin Danks/Courtesy Chicago Review Press)

Amanda Oliver, a Pushcart-nominated writer, is the author of “Late: Account with the Public Library” and editor of Joyland magazine. In addition to BA and MLS degrees from SUNY Buffalo, she earned an MFA from UC Riverside and currently lives in the Mojave Desert near Joshua Tree.

Q. How would you describe “Late: Public Library Account”?

“Overdue” is part memoir of my six years working as a librarian in Washington, DC and part deep dive into the past, present, and future of American public libraries. As the subtitle suggests, it is also about taking into account the incomplete understanding that many have of this beloved institution and also the many systemic failures manifesting within it.

Q. What could help make things better for libraries and the people who use and work in them?

Libraries are such beautiful models of free and accessible community care, for all, and yet there are very few other places in this country like them, which is why we see overstretched libraries and library workers. I hope that readers of “Late” will end their reading with a broader and more complete understanding of the many roles that libraries and librarians play in our country (largely due to failing, failing or failing social support systems). insufficient) and it helps them to express themselves more, to open up and to support free and accessible community care resources and institutions. My ultimate hope is that everyone will learn to think and make choices more like librarians so often do – with empathy, openness, curiosity and a commitment not just to helping, but to understanding others within their local communities and more. wide.

Q. What are you reading now?

The tower of books on my nightstand currently includes “Pure Colour” by Sheila Heti, “I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness” by Claire Vaye Watkins, “Journal of a Solitude” by May Sarton, “frank: sonnets, “Scattered Minds” by Gabor Mate and “Calamities” by Renee Gladman.

Q. Do you remember the first book that marked you?

“The Green Book” by Jill Paton Walsh. It’s a science fiction novel about a young girl living in a post-apocalyptic world on a new planet that I read in fourth grade. It was the first time I remember understanding the fragility of life and also the power of storytelling to understand, accept and work through and with that fragility.

Q. Is there a book or books that you always recommend to other readers?

“Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and Plant Teachings” by Robin Wall Kimmerer. This is a book that I hope all Americans will read. It shows how other living things – strawberries, seaweed, sweetgrass and more – offer us lessons and gifts, even if we have forgotten how to hear them. It beautifully explores ecological awareness, reciprocal relationship, and ultimately how to be better, more present, open, and caring human beings. It fundamentally changed who I am and how I see the world around me.

My other “everyone should read this” recommendations are “Emergent Strategy” by Adrienne Maree Brown, “The Reckonings” by Lacy M. Johnson, and “All About Love” by Bell Hooks. When I teach creative writing, I always recommend “Madness, Rack, and Honey” by Mary Ruefle.

Q. Is there anyone who has had an impact on your life as a reader — a teacher, parent, librarian, or someone else?

My first year teacher, Mrs. Celeste. She created a small station in the classroom where we could “publish” books. There was scrap paper to create drafts, then nicer paper and a wallpaper sample book to create a final cover when your drafts were done. It taught me, early on, that it takes a lot of messy drafts before you’re ready for publication.

Q. What is a memorable literary experience, good or bad, are you willing to share?

In my twenties, the only book I took with me on a two-month trip to 11 countries across Europe was “Self-Portrait” by Édouard Levé. I read it on planes and trains, near every body of water I visited, at small coffee tables, in hostels. I’ve taken it to five other countries since. I only read it when I travel and it’s really special every time I do. Like visiting an old friend.


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