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DC Comics Accused of Using Racist Stereotype for Hispanic Heritage Cover

Newsweek logo Newsweek 8/29/2022 Jon Jackson
In this photo, cosplayer Trevor Newton as Green Lantern poses for photos at WonderCon 2022 Day 3 at Anaheim Convention Center on April 03, 2022 in Anaheim, California. DC Comic is facing backlash for cover variants for Hispanic Heritage Month that critics claim promotes stereotypes. © Photo by Daniel Knighton/FilmMagic In this photo, cosplayer Trevor Newton as Green Lantern poses for photos at WonderCon 2022 Day 3 at Anaheim Convention Center on April 03, 2022 in Anaheim, California. DC Comic is facing backlash for cover variants for Hispanic Heritage Month that critics claim promotes stereotypes.

Critics are saying that DC Comics cover art created to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month promotes racist stereotypes.

This summer, the company revealed images of several "variant" (or alternative) covers for upcoming comics for Hispanic Heritage Month, which is celebrated September 15 through October 15. However, fans have taken issue with a number of them, mainly because the majority of the covers include references to food. Pictures of a reported new variant that's being shared on social media is being met with an extraordinary amount of negative feedback: A Green Lantern cover showing the superhero holding a bag of tamales.

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The artist behind the cover, Jorge Molina, spoke out about the image in a message posted to Twitter on Saturday, saying that the image being circulated now is not his original creation.

"HAAAAAAARD to keep my mouth shut....all I can say is one has my signature and the other one doesn't, go figure," he tweeted.

A spokesperson for DC Comics told Newsweek that the image showing the Green Lantern with tamales was incorrectly reported to be the official DC cover for the upcoming issue going sale September 20 and that Molina's original vision will be used.

"It is part of DC's internal creative process to receive and develop multiple versions of comic artwork from our artists," the spokesperson said in an email. "Some are released as variant covers, others are never used."

Green Lantern has a special significance among the Hispanic community. The superhero's real name is Kyle Rayner, though he later discovers that his last name was assumed by his father as an alias. His father, Gabriel Vasquez, was Mexican-American and a CIA agent.

Molina wrote on Twitter that this history is what drew him to the Green Lantern project. Molina, who is Mexican, wrote in June how "it was a great honor to have the opportunity to pay tribute to my country and roots."

His original cover paid homage to artwork created by Jorge González Camarena, a famous Mexican muralist.

Molina's original features the Mexican flag and an apparition-like image of an eagle eating a snake, which appears on Mexico's coat of arms. The freelance illustrator wrote that his submission was held up "due to some legal issues."

The altered image recently seen on social media shows a bag of tamales was added to Molina's illustration. The changes didn't stop there. The superhero is not holding a Mexican flag in the updated version, but he instead has a green flag with the message "Viva Mexico!!" emblazoned on it. Proper Spanish punctuation was also ignored on the flag, which should have read "¡Viva Mexico!"

Fans have been voicing their displeasure about the Hispanic Heritage Month variants on Twitter.

"Did DC really put out a series of Hispanic heritage covers where literally all of them except one has the characters eating Mexican street food?..." Twitter user @DemonRin wrote. "And then the ONE that didn't, they went behind the artist's back & had it modified to include Tamales?..."

Meanwhile, Twitter user @JoseYoungs said: "What are we doing here DC? This is the cover you're going with for Hispanic Heritage Month? A floating bag of tamales in space?"

Molina on Monday wrote that he's appreciative to hear DC fans speak out about the covers.

"Thanks to everyone who has showed their support on the original cover. I'm not mad or sad about it, the fact the everyone got to see and hear my original vision gives me some gratification and that version will live on the web for ever....for now," he tweeted.

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