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WildCardCorsair

Blue Beetle, El Paso, and representation.

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I wanted to pose a unique question to you all who read or are invested in comic books, but first it requires a small history lesson so bare with me.

 

Blue Beetle has been around a long time, but the third incarnation, Jaime Reyes is fairly new to comics canon. Back in 2011 during the Infinite Crisis storyline Ted Kord, previous Blue Beetle was killed, and his mystical scarab fell to (New) Earth and was found by Jaime Reyes, a El Paso high school student. Through that series, the post-Flashpoint "New 52" storyline and the current Rebirth storyline Jaime Reyes has continued to be the Blue Beetle. The 2011 series and New 52 series both had wonderful ties to my hometown of El Paso, which served as the setting for the book a good deal of the time. Landmarks were recreated, local slang used, the general look and feel was familiar to me. Being represented in comics by a person who not only shares my ethnic background, but shares the same local culture is a pretty indescribable feeling. I can only imagine this is what people in New York City have felt like for ages, with all the super heroes that exist there in various comics.

 

Then Rebirth. Jaime Reyes is still Blue Beetle, and the book is still set in El Paso but none of the real life El Paso can be seen in the book. Names of places or streets are now made up and the general look of this "El Paso" doesn't look much like here at all. None of the social issues or unique cultural phenomenon that only we know (having a unique combination of being the 5th largest city in Texas, a border town with tens of thousands of people commuting to and from Mexico daily, and having an overwhelmingly Hispanic population). I'm otherwise enjoying the book but I can't help but have my opinion of it colored by it's current lack of what attracted me to the character in the first place.

 

So, after all that... my question is: How important is representation to you in comics? Do you tend to gravitate to characters that have a shared ethnic background, sexual orientation, home town, or other such commonality? Do you find any of yourself in any characters from any comic (DC, Marvel, or other)? And would the sudden removal of those forms of representation drive you away from the said book? I ask because I'm struggling to keep my interest in the book. It's not bad by any means, but I guess it's one of those cases of "You don't know what you've got til it's gone." Currently I'm still reading Blue Beetle monthly but I don't know how much longer I can fight my urge to drop it now that it no longer feels like the setting and characters are as familiar to me as they once were.

 

 

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