The Smithsonian's Superhero Exhibit Features Indie Heroine La Borinquena

At The Smithsonian National Museum of American History, the official costume of La Borinqueña has been added to the "Superheroes" collection. This costume initially made its debut when writer and creator Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez introduced La Borinqueña in 2016 at the National Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City. The move is notable especially becuasce the character was created less than 10 years ago and is fully creator-owned and independently published, meaning that La Borinqueña finds herself standing shoulder to shoulder with characters known the world around, decades old, and owned by massive corporations.

In a case of life imitating art, the "Superheroes" exhibition is a real life recreation of the cover of Miranda-Rodriguez' best-selling benefit anthology and La Borinqueña crossover with DC Comics, Ricanstrution: Reminsicing & Rebuilding Puerto Rico, featuring his character posing alongside Wonder Woman. On display is actress Lynda Carter's iconic Wonder Woman costume, which she has loaned to the museum for the run of the show. Miranda-Rodriguez's benefit anthology, which is also available for purchase in the Smithsonian Museum Store, teams La Borinqueña with DC Comics heroes also on exhibit at the museum such as Batman (Michael Keaton's Batmobile, George Clooney's cowl, and vintage comic books) and Superman (collectible phone and vintage comic books). Ricanstruction to date has raised close to a quarter of a million dollars for Miranda-Rodriguez' La Borinqueña Grants Program, which to date has awarded nine $10,000 grants to local grassroots organizations in Puerto Rico and will award another round of grants when he and his family returns to the island this August.

Of the superheroes on exhibit, La Borinqueña is the youngest character having made its debut as a character in June 2016 and releasing its first graphic novel in December 2016. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman all made their first appearances between 1939-1941, respectively. La Borinqueña is also the only superhero presently exhibited at the Smithsonian that is independently published and owned by Miranda-Rodriguez and is the only Puerto Rican superhero in the entire show. For 121 years now, Puerto Ricans have been U.S. citizens and have served in every war since WWI even though the U.S. does not allow its citizens on the island to vote for their commander in chief. Miranda-Rodriguez believes that La Borinqueña's presence in this art show is an affirmation that Puerto Rico is part of the U.S. and deserves the attention and respect that all of its citizens merit.

(Photo: Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez)

"This is a historic event that gives a strong sense of pride and accomplishment not only to myself and my family, but to the 3.3 million Puerto Ricans living on the island of Puerto Rico who continue to rebuild and struggle under the humanitarian crisis initially inflicted by the crippling debt crisis and Hurricanes Irma and Maria," Miranda-Rodriguez said in a statement. "La Borinqueña is a reflection of Puerto Rican's resilience and strength. She is also a reminder to all of us here in the U.S. not to forget Puerto Rico and her U.S. citizens. Each and every one of us can show the world and ourselves that we have the power to help the island rebuild. We can, and we will be part of the Ricanstruction of Puerto Rico."

The costume is on view now through September 2019 at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Constitution Avenue, NW, between 12th and 14th Streets, Washington D.C. La Borinqueña is also on display at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian's Taíno exhibition in New York City now through October.


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