Anime-Influenced Graphic Novel Brings Twin Magic Swords to ‘Battle of Puebla’

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What the creator dubs “Mexicans with Swords Meet Aztec Mythology” is back with a new Kickstarter and over 44 stunningly illustrated pages. This time, the twin sisters (Catalina and Joaquina Pérez) bring their magic and conflict to the Battle of Puebla (aka Cinco de Mayo) as their stories intertwine through larger historical and narrative elements. This series about the magical twin blades is inspired by (Japanese) anime, Aztec mythology and the Wu-Tang Clan.

Throughout Mexico’s history, the Twin Blades have been present. Passing hands from bearer to bearer, sometimes in the open air and sometimes quietly passing through darkened rooms. However, there are few wearers with the aura that surrounds them quite like Catalina and Joaquina Pérez. This is their legendary story, built on blood and obsidian.

Although there is another Twin Blades graphic novel that predates this one, Jarred Luján wrote on the Kickstarter page that you can just start with this one. The first book dwells more on Aztec-inspired mythology (which the campaign page gives a lot of information on), but these two books are separate stories. The creative team is made up entirely of Latinx artists and writers. Writer Luján and artists Julio Sanchez and Rocco Langg return from the first novel. Joining the project is a letter Gabiela Downie (Batman ’89). The logos were created by designers Andrea Rosales and Lucas Gattoni.

Importance for the United States

One of the most bastardized cultural holidays in the United States is Cinco de Mayo. Despite year after year of saying, “It’s not Mexico’s independence day; it is the day marking the Battle of Puebla”, people and big business fail to recognize the vital importance of this day. Mexico essentially experienced a years-long internal civil conflict and had to suspend payment of its debt to the United States and a number of European powers. While many (including the United States, Spain and the United Kingdom) planned to invade, only France went, and instead of being able to take control of a country in turmoil, the Mexicans united against a common colonial enemy.

This matters to the United States because the French supported the Confederacy financially, and the Confederacy was not a fan of Mexico’s role as an arrival route in the Underground Railroad. Mexico was a more convenient escape from slavery for many than the United States (where the Runaway Patrol was supported) or Canada. France having a military presence in so much of North America was not a good idea for the end of slavery. From the Haitian Revolution to the Louisiana Purchase and the Battle of Puebla, France’s foreign policy has always been important to American politics.

This part of the history of the United States does not seem to be part of the project, but it is important to remember it, in addition to learning more about the history of a border country and the history shared by many Mexican Americans (especially those from Mexico’s fifth largest city). Shows like HBO’s watchmen (regarding the Tulsa Massacre) and many others have reminded us of the power of science fiction and fantasy as great vehicles for sharing very real but lesser known (or very misunderstood) parts of the story. This graphic novel is the continuing legacy of the Chicanx as they establish themselves as an integral and ubiquitous part of American culture.

(featured image: Julio Suarez and Jarred Luján)

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