'Ricanstruction' brings together writers, artists, celebrities, and superheroes to help the island's recovery
Credit: Steve Zak Photography/FilmMagic; Illustrated by Ken Lashley, colored Lovern Kindzierski, artwork courtesy of Somos Arte, LLC

More than seven months after Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, the island’s inhabitants still haven’t fully recovered from the storm’s devastation. Just weeks after the hurricane hit, comic artist Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez was at New York Comic Con, commiserating with friends and peers about the island’s travails. There, Miranda-Rodriguez connected with DC co-publisher Dan Didio and came up with the idea of making a benefit comic for Puerto Rico. Miranda-Rodriguez had recently created his own superhero of Puerto Rican descent, La Borinqueña, so an idea took shape for a comic in which she would welcome other DC superheroes like Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman to the island. The result is Ricanstruction: Reminiscing & Rebuilding Puerto Rico. Though Ricanstruction borrows DC characters, it was created under Miranda-Rodriguez’s Somo Arte studio, and features contributions from 150 writers, artists, and celebrities, including Rosario Dawson.

“In my own comic book, La Borinqueña, I crafted a story to bring attention to the debt crisis affecting the 3.5 million Puerto Ricans on the island who are also American citizens,” Miranda-Rodriguez said in a statement. “When I debuted my first issue in December 2016, I chose to have my character face a massive hurricane that left the island in a blackout. I was set on releasing my second issue in 2017, until Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the island. I immediately stopped production on my second book as I overwhelmed worrying about my family, my island, my people.”

He added, “I recognized that my character La Borinqueña was the only comic book character that had a direct connection to what was happening in Puerto Rico right now. Via my character, I would bring Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, The Flash, Aquaman, Green Lantern, and so many other characters for the first time in their combined history to Puerto Rico with permission from DC Comics.”

One hundred percent of the proceeds from Ricanstruction will go to Puerto Rican relief efforts providing Americans living on the island with food, clothing, solar-powered lamps, and more.

Dawson was one of the celebrities inspired by Miranda-Rodriguez’s project; she created her own version of the La Borinqueña costume and even co-wrote a story for Ricanstruction with help from her uncle Gustavo Vazquez. The actress has also forged a friendship with comic legend Frank Miller over the years (dating back to her starring role in Miller and Robert Rodriguez’s 2005 film adaptation of Miller’s Sin City comic), so Miller contributed a cover image for her story that features Wonder Woman, La Borinqueña, and Miller’s own superhero Lara (the daughter of Wonder Woman and Superman in Miller’s Dark Knight III: The Master Race) flying in after a storm.

“The heroes are shown rising above the storm just as the people of Puerto Rico are doing right now,” Miller said in a statement. “I am happy to be part of helping in any way alongside Rosario, Edgardo, Juan, Dan, and everyone.”

Check out Miller’s image exclusively below, along with the cover of Ricanstruction. Ricanstruction will debut May 18 at the Puerto Rico Cómic Con in San Juan, where Miranda-Rodriguez will be a featured guest. It will make its official local release on May 23, and be available internationally May 29. Pre-order it here.

Credit: Frank Miller / Somos Arte
Credit: Somos Arte