Thursday, October 08, 2009

Superman Saves The Barrio For the United Farmworkers Union: Cesar Chavez's Buddy in Tights!

original posting: 9/26/07

Growing up in Laredo, ensconced in my room with Snoopy posters and UT Longhorn banners, I always thrilled to the wonders of Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson's Superman stories for DC comics. Little did I know that one of these wonders--January 1972, issue 247--featured the Man of Steel as a defender of Mexican Farm Workers. Small World.

A former student of mine and regular Tex[t]-Mex Galleryblog contributor, Professor Marc García-Martinez, of Hancock College, writes in with this comic book, blast-from-the-past, skinny:

At the end of the tumultuous 60’s decade TIME magazine featured Cesar Chavez on its famous cover and a timely story on “The Grapes of Wrath, 1969: Mexican-Americans on the March.”

At the beginning of 1980 National Geographic, that distinguished magazine devoted to all things natural and cultural, featured an honest piece on “Mexican-Americans: A People on the Move.”

Somewhere in between, circa 1972, DC comics contributed its own unique brand of homage to La Raza by presenting an peculiar tale in its Superman No. 247 that could have justly been called “Mexican-Americans: Idle Farm Workers on Attack.”

Featuring in the relative climax of the story an assortment of Mexican-[ergo geographically-laborious-American] farm workers in California’s central valley, the story is an ironic and curious little portrait of the Mexican, that seems to cut too close to the spineless, indolent, leech-off-the-government for aid portrayals we’ve seen all too often lately.

This is some strange verbal-visual caca here, carnal…perhaps inadvertent. Let’s chat about this some more!

En la lucha,


García-Martinez also forwarded cool scans from the story; I would appreciate it if anyone has issue 272, as it is, oddly, missing from my collection. I'll offer a free copy of Tex[t]-Mex to the first person to email me at to let me know you are willing to loan or give me this prized issue!


Professor García-Martinez just gave me the headsup on a Mexico City, Spanish-language edition of this story! I just bought it off ebay. Abrazos a mi amigo en Hancock College.

DON'T MISS IT!!!! Josh Kun | LAST EXIT USA | @ the Stever Turner Contemporary

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Midwest Tex[t]-Mex Correspondent Kristy Rawson with a Report on CineSeattle

Cineseattle, the first International Latino Film Festival, was a hastily organized, flying-by-seat-of-pantalones effort that nonetheless clearly indicated that we can anticipate a promising future for this annual event. The flying pants in question were those of a young set of Seattle Latinas/os (emphasis en “os”) who pulled together an impressive grass-roots organization managing to completely eschew cineaste high-hat aires.

The curator and artistic director, Jorge Enrique González-Pacheco, who hails from Cuba originally, put together an eclectic menu of films ranging from proven international festival fare to debuting student work. Forever Lupe (2007)--the Mexican mediometraje that initiated my curiosity about the festival--is an example of the latter. Also in the student category (San Francisco State this time) was Rafael Flores’s 10 minute film, Jale (2009), an earnest comment on the situation faced by Mexican migrant workers --- shot, says the director “in true guerilla fashion.”

The good news here is for aspiring filmmakers: this new come-as-you-are, democratic festival model means there might be space for young and up-and-coming creators to find an audience within a viable venue. Furthermore (for better or for worse) my Cineseattle experience would indicate that the unschooled filmmaker need not feel intimidated by her/his film-school-graduate counterpart.

In addition to the aforementioned, other Mexican, Mexico-centered, or border-related offerings included two terrific(!) documentaries, both shot on video: No Son Invisibles: Mayan Women and Microfinance (USA/Mex, 2008) and Hecho en Los Angeles (USA, 2008). The latter being a many-award winner about community/worker organization (not union exactly) in the LA garment district.

There was also one narrative short, Niña Quebrada (USA, 2008, directed by Seattle's own Diana Romero), about a Mexican girl sold into prostitution in the United States. Though well made, the fictionalized treatment here, of such deadly serious subject matter, erred on the side of sentimental/anecdotal.

Last, there was a major Mexican feature, El Viaje de Teo (2008), an immigration-themed IMCINE picture sporting high production values and an unsubtle “stay-at-home” massage. Here's a look:

Not that the Mexicanidad was a focalizing factor for Cineseattle. As articulated in the festival literature, González-Pacheco dedicated the festival to the booming domestic cinema industry in Columbia. And, indeed, some very satisfying Columbian films were shown (The festival opener, Te amo Ana Elisa, 2008, was a standout!).

But the pinnacle was the final screening: Uruguay's Gigante (Adrián Biniez, 2009), an understatedly brilliant film about love in the time of surveillance. Someday I’d love to see it projected...

...which brings us to what is, for me, the takeaway of the weekend: If this event is any indication, there’s a festival model afoot that is not about “film” at all, it’s about media and about communities coming together for a shared viewing experience. At Cineseattle we watched 35mm features on DVD, documentaries and features shot on video, digital amateur work..., we actually screened a DVD of a 35mm short film that, for reasons of expense, was never bought out of post-production: in other words a film that, as such, doesn’t actually exist yet and may never. My point being that the rarefied celluloid object is the least of concerns here. Is there a “genre” of grass-roots media festivals fitting this description?... Occasioned by an era of accessible technologies and transnational online networking? Can you bring people out to screen a DVD if primarily for the shared experience? Tell us about the democratic media festival near you!

Xicano/Chicano Photography: Gronk's Eyegiene

New, Hygienically-Sealed Copies of Tex[t]-Mex, Available from for $11.86

update: October 7, 2009

For some reason, is running a sale on Seductive Hallucinations of the "Mexican" in America!

Venta, Venta, Venga, Venga--it was $12.87, but is now going for $11.86--the cover price is $22.50! Gracias to Jeff Bezos at Amazon and UT Press for making this firesale available via the internets! If you are a regular Tex[t]-Mex Galleryblog visitor and want an autographed copy of the book (with a custom designed cartoon as well), just drop $16 (free shipping) in an envelope to w. nericcio, sdsu lit, mc 6020, SD, CA 92182.6020 with your name and return address and I will get a paperback copy of the book off to you in no time!

Always Wash Up! Practice Good Eyegiene! (Disney Style)

Monday, October 05, 2009

ChicanOsmosis/XicanOsmosis Jaime Hernandez Style: The Origins of a Graphic Narrative Genius in His Own Words

Gracias to Daniel Hernandez for tipping my eyes to this cool brief chat with Love and Rockets maestro Jaime Hernandez. Hit the image, left, for the linkaso.

High Fashion Chicana Metamorphosis: Eva Longoria in Citizen K Magazine

There are high-resolution scans of the fashion spread here (other versions are here). The most curious image for the purposes of Eyegiene is the one above. It is a montage of three shots of Eva, as "patient," "doctor/cinematographer (16mm, no less)/voyeur," and gurney attendant. Most of Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucination of the "Mexican" in America was a meditation on the history, consequences, and legacy of Mexican figuration in the mass media--Ruven Afanador, an illustrious fashion photographer from Bogotá, Colombia, has, with his brilliant lens and his equally compelling Mexican-American model/actress, said all I said there, and all I can hope to say in my next volume, Eyegiene, with a few snaps of his camera and maybe a quick session with photoshop.

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