Latino writer brings representation to comic books

Julio Anta is a comic book and graphic novel artist. The Cuban-Colombian American writer looks to uplift the Latino community through his works.

“I want Latinos to see themselves to see authentic portrayals of themselves, to see aspirational and positive portrayals of themselves,” Anta said.

Anta finds inspiration through his Latino culture. He also incorporates social issues faced by the Hispanic community into his writings. One of his latest works is called “Frontera.”

“It’s a supernatural borderland adventure story about a teenager named Mateo, who is on his journey back home to the United States across the Sonoran Desert. And along the way, he meets the ghost of a migrant that died half a century ago. And now this ghost named Guillermo, a teenager himself when he passed away, is helping Mateo on his journey to get back home to Arizona,” he said.

Anta has also written for comic book franchises including Marvel and DC. He hopes his works brings more Latino representation not only in the pages, but in the entire industry of comic books and graphic novels.

“When “Home” came out, my first book, the day that it came out, I got multiple messages online from people that said that they had never seen themselves in these stories. And it was something that for a moment was, was really special to me,” he said. “But then, you know, the next minute made me realize that this is why I’m doing it, which is that, it shouldn’t be in 2021 that someone is reading for the first time the story, a story that reflects their experience as a migrant in this country, as a Latino, in this country.”

His words combine with the creations of artists like Jacoby Salcedo, who take his worlds and create the faces of the lives behind the adventures.

“For me, it’s always important to work with artists who are Latino, artists who understand the culture, the diversity, the skin tones. You know, I don’t need to tell him (Salcedo) what skin tones to use for, you know, these Mexican-American characters of this specific background. He knows already,” he said.

His next book, “Si, Se Puede” is a non-fiction graphic novel.

“We cover Latino scientists and actors and actresses and activists and politicians. I think it shows a broader spectrum of what’s possible. I think it allows kids and people of all ages who read it to see themselves and to dream a little bit,” he said.

“Si, Se Puede” will be released on Oct. 10 through his website julioanta.com. He has other projects set to come out in the next few years, stories Anta hopes the Hispanic community will embrace.

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