Puerto Rico Strong

Grant Alter/Manuel Preitano/Andrew Crossley/Jerome Gagnon/Lion Forge Media

Graphic Novel Anthology Raises Funds To Help Struggling Puerto Rico

June 03, 2018 - 4:17 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- With a study showing the death toll in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria might be closer to 5,000 than 100 – and with this year’s hurricane season having begun – you might be looking to help, even in a small way.

If you’re a comic book fan, you’re in luck.

“Puerto Rico Strong,” put out by Lion Forge, is a graphic novel anthology of Puerto Rican stories.

It features comics that explore what it means to be Puerto Rican and the diversity that exists within that identity. Art and writing by Rosa Colón of Soda Pop Comics, Vita Ayala of Bitch Planet, Naomi Franquiz of Misfit City, Javier Cruz Winnik of A Reason to Smile!, Sabrina Cintron of La Borinquena, Tristan Tarwater of Hen & Chick, Fabian Nicieza – co-creator of Deadpool – and Joamette Gil of Power & Magic, among many more.

Ayala spoke with WCBS 880’s Cheryl Simone.

“There were many teams that worked on the book – a lot of writers and artists, and even letterers, and what people will find is a pretty wide array of stories having to do with either the island of Puerto Rico or people from Puerto Rico,” Ayala said. “It’s not all fiction or nonfiction. I myself wrote the historical story, but I know that there’s a couple of sci-fi stories and magical realism stories in there as well. And there’s more specific – ‘This is my experience as a Puerto Rican, either on the island, or being on the mainland and going back.”

Ayala explained what drove them personally to get involved.

“I myself am Puerto Rican, and I have a lot of family on the island. Most of my family is on the island, and I wanted to help in every way I can. You know, we gave money to charities ourselves, and we also sent packages back to the family, which took forever to get there – I’m sure people are aware that infrastructure is and was a mess. But I felt like I wanted to do more, but I wasn’t sure what I could do, and so I was approached to be part of the anthology, and I thought, well, this is something I can give that hopefully will keep on giving,” they said.

The graphic novel started at $12.99.

“The money that goes to charity goes to United Way, which has a lot of different kind of subcategories where the money could go, but I believe that the money from this book is concentrating a lot on children and getting aid to children in different ways,” Ayala said.

The book comes with Puerto Rico in more and more need of help over time.

“I mean, things just don’t magically fix themselves, and the response by the government has been lacking,” Ayala said. “This administration doesn’t seem particularly concerned with helping build up the infrastructure again and to give relief.”

While “Puerto Rico Strong” is available online, you can support your local comic store by ordering it there if it is not in stock.