Earlier this month, award-winning cartoonist Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez released a pair of La Borinqueña comics with special covers commemorating the five-year anniversary of Hurrican Maria in Puerto Rico. Of course, in the time since, Hurricane Fiona has struck the island, knocking out power to more than a million Americans and creating a humanitarian crisis on the island, which had still not fully recovered from Maria’s devastation.
Inspired by a pair of interlocking Spider-Man covers by John Byrne, Miranda Rodriguez’s Somos Arte published new, limited-edition cover art for the comic book La Borinqueña and its special edition issue featuring celebrity activist Rosario Dawson. When placed side-by-side, both covers tell the ongoing story of the impacts Hurricane Maria has had on Puerto Rico and the importance of climate-resilient reconstruction to reduce future impacts of natural disasters.
“It was important for us to reflect on the power and resiliency of Puerto Ricans as they continue to sustainably rebuild from the disasters brought on by Hurricane Maria,” noted Miranda-Rodriguez, the creator of the La Borinqueña series. “At the same time, we must hold local and mainland U.S. leaders accountable for the harmful delays in distributing promised resources and services to the island in the aftermath. Puerto Rico–the island itself and especially the people who call it home–deserve more.”
You can see the covers below.
Hurricane Maria touched down in Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017 as a category five hurricane with sustained winds reaching over 175 miles per hour. The damages to the island and its people were extensive, with the death toll topping 3,000 people and a nearly five-day long blackout–the longest in United States history.
The special edition issue of La Borinqueña Guest Starring Rosario Dawson, produced with support from NRDC, was originally published in April 2022 to spread awareness of the impacts of climate change and how Puerto Rico can be a model for a transition to renewable cleaner energy. The limited release of the comic with its commemorative covers also includes a foreword by Luis Martinez, Director of Clean Energy at NRDC, detailing the impetus for the collaboration, the importance of recognizing these types of extreme natural disasters, as well as the need for clean energy solutions.
“Puerto Rico is on the frontlines of climate change, and the last five years has further revealed how deeply entrenched the fossil fuel industry is in delaying or stopping the transition to clean energy—here and everywhere,” penned Martinez in the comic’s foreword. “Lately, things have gotten worse: An increase in apagones and the doubling of electric rates since 2020 (seven rate increases this year at last count) is enough to make anyone want to give up. But, as we see in La Borinqueña, Puerto Ricans are in la brega (as it’s widely referred to on the island)–doing their best to make it work despite the disaster and its ongoing struggles.”
“Working on these covers was an incredible opportunity to ensure Puerto Rico’s rich, cultural presence in the comic world but also in the environmental advocacy space,” added Alitha Martinez, the artist behind the new covers. “The island has faced so much turmoil but, despite it all, there is still hope.”
The Hurricane Maria commemorative issue of La Borinqueña is available for pre-order at www.la-borinquena.com/#Store while supplies last.