Comic Meta · media commentary

Does the New Black Canary Fix All Arrows Problems?

Firstly, as an almost disclaimer of sorts, I’ve never been a fan of Arrow. Even in the shows hayday of seasons one and two when it was praised and lauded as a great show and comic book adaption. Though it bares moderate similarities to Green Arrow: Year One overall it just wasn’t for me. However I can look back on the shows beginning seasons and see a clear pattern of storytelling including character arcs that were leading to a greater picture. A picture that would create an adapted vision of the classic Green Arrow comics mythology. Needless to say, that from season three onward, Arrow did not only continuously strive away from that proposed picture, but did so almost gleefully. It often felt at times that the show was more interested in using the brand names of Green Arrow and the original materials (or should I say Batman’s original materials) for the sake of hallowed out Easter eggs, than truly adapting them in interesting and creative ways. One of the best examples of this is the shows depiction and mishandling of the Black Canary aka Dinah Laurel Lance.

See I can handle change; when it comes to adaptions you have to be able to handle some level of change and flexibility towards the source material.

I could handle Oliver being moody, because he was suffering from PTSD. I could handle Mia Dearden being changed to Thea Queen because it was a play on the name and they operated in a similar manner as Oliver’s little sister whether foster or blood related. As much as I didn’t like Laurel’s origin as a lawyer (clearly more of an inspiration off Rachel in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight saga than Dinah Laurel Lance’s comic history) I did feel that Laurel embodied key aspects of her comic counterpart; namely her compassion and strong sense of justice.

So while not particularly a fan of the changes, or the show itself, I could ultimately see where it was all going.

Oliver would eventually learn to live with both his failures as a vigilante, friend, and romantic partner, cope – note not “fix” but cope – with his PTSD, and rise up as a people’s champion. Slowly coming to embody more of the fun and righteous characteristics of his comic counterpart. Thea would become Speedy, Roy would become Red Arrow, and Laurel would become the Black Canary. The writing was on the wall but the point was watching how everyone would get there.

I was ready for the long haul.

Continue reading “Does the New Black Canary Fix All Arrows Problems?”

Writers Life

Three Things Every Freelancer Needs to Have

So one aspect of one of my current jobs is scouting new talent. Some things I’ve noticed while scouting have been areas in which freelancers could improve. This also comes from personal experience as a current freelancer myself and a Social Media Manager. This isn’t an end-all-be-all of social media advice for freelancers just some thoughts I had that are potential areas of improvement for freelancers.

So first, there are three things I think every freelancer needs to have:

  1. Central Homepage
  2. Available Contact Information
  3. Accessible Portfolio

Notice I didn’t put “social media/twitter/facebook” on here. I’ll get to that in a minute.

Continue reading “Three Things Every Freelancer Needs to Have”

#BeingLatinxInComics Chat

#BeingLatinxInComics – Independent Comics, Books, & Zines

#BeingLatinInComics Network: Writers | Artists | Journalists/Bloggers | MultiMedia | Independents


Diablo Comics | Youtube | Facebook | Google+ | Twitter

Diablo Comics. was founded in 2005 by filmmaker Scott “Diablo” Marcano.  Before he became “Diablo,” Scott was famous (infamous?) for writing the comedy cult classic Bio-Dome.  One day, Diablo got the bright idea of following his childhood dream and started selling comic books at a little table at Comic Con in San Diego.  His first book took off and became the popular horror graphic novel “The Unwanted” which begat the sci-fy epic “Hum,” and the wickedly terrifying “Nancy Hernandez and the Black Widows,” among many other terrific titles. 

Bien Vestido Press | Twitter

Bien Vestido Press is a small press based out of Tampa, Florida. BVP publishes comics, zines, and other image-text work by Latinx artists and writers. BVP is run by Jarod Rosellό, a Cuban American cartoonist, writer, and teacher, originally from Miami, Florida. BVP prints hand-made mini-comics, zines, and chapbooks on a Risograph printer. BVP is housed in the English department at University of South Florida.

Tragic Hero Comics | Twitter

Presenting the Tragic Hero Comics Universe! Don’t expect too many capes and tights. This is not your Grandpa’s comics or even your Dad’s! This is a whole new spin on super heroes, in a much darker world than most are used to seeing. In the real world lines get blurred; it’s not always as simple as right and wrong, so why should it be an different in the Tragic Hero Universe? Come witness the epic events unfold and watch as the most unlikely of us rise up and become the world’s biggest heroes and the least likely of us fall to become the world’s worst nightmares…

The “Tragic Hero Universe” is an independent labor of love and work in progress that stemmed from a love of comic books at an early age and many distractions during unproductive school days. Since then, Ray Zepeda has been working tirelessly to bring his “comic-verse” to life with the help of Ryan Scales (Iron Lion Studios) and Alexis Villanueva (House of Doodle). Our focus is to bring a new spin on Super Heroes, Antiheroes, and Villains to a broader audience and a new generation of comic book lovers! Now thanks to the support of amazing friends and family, Tragic Hero Comics is up and running and ready to show the world what we’re made of!

Brownywood Entertainment

Brownywood Entertainment will be at Latino Comics Expo. October 11th & 12th at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library@ San Jose State University, San Jose CA. This is an amazing comicon that showcases the work of comic book creators that are inspired and influenced by Latino culture. It is sponsored by the Casetllano Family Foundation, Cesar Chavez Foundation, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library, Heritage Auctions and the San Jose State University. Organized by the wonderful Ricardo Padilla  and Javier Hernandez.

Chunky Girl Comics | Twitter

Comic Book Superheroes with curves who want the world to know that superheroes don’t have to be skinny! Superheroes, motivational speakers and plus models! Chunky Girl Comics is breaking down barriers and introducing the world of comics to Rosie, Sage, Sweet Pea and Candy, a group of ladies with curves in all of the right places that are determined to break the standards of what a typical superhero should look like.

RioBravoComics | Twitter

Rio Bravo Comics is an independent comic book publisher based in Dallas, TX that was founded by artist-creator Hector Rodriguez. The company’s first publication was EL PESO HERO #1. Created by Hector Rodriguez, El Peso Hero is a comic book heavily influenced by the modern-day challenges people from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border currently face. The main story is centered on El Peso Hero, a rogue hero who is standing up against Mexico’s cartels, corrupt officials and human traffickers. With modern social issues such immigration, human trafficking and border corruption, El Peso Hero has garnered attention and praise from the Latino community and been featured on Univision, CNN, Telemundo, Fusion, TV Azteca and countless other media sites worldwide. El Peso Hero is now considered the company’s flagship series. We hope you enjoy the site and read all the amazing stories we have!

SodaPopComics | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Soda Pop Comics was created in 2007 by Carla Rodríguez (Writer) and Rosa Colón (illustrator). It is the first female-run comics studio in Puerto Rico. Their philosophy is to focus on well crafted and colorful, interesting sequential art. They’ve self published more than 60 individual publications, from series, one-shots, mini comics, art zines, and anthologies.

EtSpirituDivino | Twitter

Et Spiritus Divino is a horror adventure, set in the far-off future. A post-apocalyptic, ruined world, ridden with demons and other creatures of lore.

POWER & MAGIC PRESS | Tumblr | Twitter | Newsletter

Magic, wisdom, community, and misbehavior.

For many people across the world, the witch is a symbol of feminine strength and complexity. Power & Magic collects fifteen original comics about queer witches of color as they master their abilities, discover their traditions, and navigate love as beings with incredible power. Featuring the work of seventeen women, demigirls, and bigender creators of color, this queer witch comics anthology is as rich an experience as womanhood itself.

Power & Magic Press is an independent comics publisher in Portland, OR. Our mission is the creative and economic empowerment of queer creators, creators of color, and creators at the intersections.

El Verde | Facebook

El Verde is an original action-packed comedy that brings the exciting world of superheroes to the stage.

As an avid fan of superheroes, writer, Anthony Aguilar, wanted to see a series that strongly reflected his Latin American culture while keeping that comic book feel. So, Aguilar developed El Verde to counter the lack of Latinos represented in mainstream world of superheroes.

Continue reading “#BeingLatinxInComics – Independent Comics, Books, & Zines”

#BeingLatinxInComics Chat

#BeingLatinxInComics – Podcasts & Blogs

#BeingLatinInComics Network: Writers | Artists | Journalists/Bloggers | MultiMedia | Independents


Yamina Nater-Otero | Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Works Include: Geekend Legion, Co-writes podcast episodes for Geekend Amazons.

Puerto Rican queer intersectional feminist: co-writes, co-hosts, edits and produces Geekend Amazons, a podcast dedicated to all things pop culture and intersectional feminism. Currently getting her masters in Environmental Studies, wants to grow up to be queer, latinx Leslie Knope. 

Leani Lopez | Take Back the Night | Twitter

Works Include: BLOOD, Slip of the Hand

Leani is a Puerto Rican writer and podcaster. She’s been a fangirl all her life, and has been writing since she was ten years old. She has self published a horror, young adult novel, and recently completed work on a screenplay and pilot. Along with her two best friends, she hopes to create a production company some day. She and her best friend put out a weekly podcast where they discuss writing tips and the role of women in geek culture, particularly queer women of color.

Comadres Y Comics | Instagram | Facebook

A biweekly podcast of three latinx women (Sara, Kristen, and Jennifer) talking about comics & pop culture

LatinaGeek

Artist. Philanthropist. Gamer. Youtuber. Cheerleader

The Geekend Amazons Podcast | Facebook | Twitter | Tumblr

Welcome to the Geekend Amazons Podcast page! Twice a month, your hosts Mina and Bella, will discuss feminist issues with a nerdverse tie-in

Latinx Geeks | Website

Twitter community for Latinxs who love all things nerdy and geeky. Currently geeking out over One Day at a Time Info@latinxgeeks.com

Latinx Nerds | Website

Mission Statement – To promote Latinx nerds and our contributions to geekdom

 Latino Toons | Twitter

Latin American Comic Artists Association

Latino Jason Todd

Blog dedicated to archieving the headcanons of Latino Jason Todd

FYEAH LATINX REPRESENTATION ON US TELEVISION

An appreciation blog for all Latinx characters on US television shows. We appreciate Latinx of all sizes, shapes, genders, races, and orientations.

Latinx Heroes

A fansite dedicated to characters that are latinx, of latinx descent, or portrayed by latinx actors in any media.   You can tag us in your edits/art with #latinxheroes!


Do you know a Latinx podcast that talks about comics, and/or pop culture? Are you a Latinx journalist that writers about comic books, and pop culture? A Latinx artist working on self-publishing comic books, graphic novels, webcomics, or working for any major publishers? Maybe you run a Latinx blog that discusses comics and pop culture? Where ever you fit, there’s a place for you in #BeingLatinxInComics! Simply submit your information below to be added to the list and I’ll update as soon as possible.

The only requirements are that you must be Latinx, report or have reported on anything pop culture or comic book related, be a journalist and/or blogger! If you fit both of those criteria fill out the form below and I’ll add you to the list.

If you’re already on the list and would like your mini-profile updated (or removed) just fill out the “Other” comment box below with your request. This will be an every growing list that will change and develop to include more information (and a prettier layout) as time goes on. For now, enjoy!

Submission Form

 

#BeingLatinxInComics Chat

#BeingLatinxInComics – The Artists

#BeingLatinInComics Network: Writers | Artists | Journalists/Bloggers | MultiMedia | Independents


Carrie Salazar | Pinterest | Instagram | Facebook 

Works Published: H is for Houston is a nonfiction alphabet children’s picture book with fun facts about Houston, Texas. Joy and Mary Save Christmas – Christmas book for 4-6 graders. New Leaf for Lyle – Lyle’s heart is in the right place, but he lies about everything!

Carrie is a Latina illustrator working in traditional and digital media. Raised in southeastern Louisiana, she now lives with her family in Berkeley, CA. She creates portraits paintings but most enjoys creating webcomics and illustrating for children.

Alexis Ziritt | Twitter

Works Published: Image, Dark Horse, Black Mask, Heavy Metal, IDW, Fantagraphics, BOOM! Studios

Alexis is originally from Venezuela but has lived in Florida for the past decade. He’s been published in Complex Magazine, Heavy Metal, BOOM! Studios and Dark Horse Comics among others. His kung fu is strong.

BadApple | Facebook

I am a multi-faceted artist that pushes to become better everyday. Graduating with a Bachelors Degree in Media Arts & Animation at The Art Institute of California-Los Angeles, I have expanded my knowledge as an artist and now have a greater understanding of how to achieve my life goals in the creative field. I dedicate myself everyday in pushing my skill set to the next level and become a driving force in the art industry.

Ninoska Arte

We are Jacqueline Ortiz & Hannibal Garcia, an artist couple currently living in Los Angeles CA. We began Ninoska Arte as a way to pay tribute to Jacqueline’s little sister Ninoska thus the strong influence of Dia De Los Muertos in our work. Day of The Dead allows us to express our likes, grief & nostalgia as evident in our characters. We have a huge catalogue of drawings to choose from , check back in for weekly updates.

Yehudi Mercado | Twitter | Facebook

Writer-illustrator Hero Hotel/ Pantalones, TX/ Buffalo Speedway/ Rocket Salvage/ Sci-Fu/ Guardians of the Galaxy mobile game.

Sabrina Cintron | Twitter | Tumblr

Illustrator, concept and comic artist with a passion for storytelling.

Vanesa R. Del Rey | Website

Illustrator/Concept artist making comics

Alejandra E. Gámez

Mexican comic artist / Illustrator. In constant pursuit of motivation. Author of The mountain with teeth.

Virus Visal

I make comics and websites || Comic artist and front-end-developer.

Eliana Falcón | Cosmic Fish | Facebook 

Puerto Rican that tries to do stuff. Like, say, a webcomic!

MJ Barros | Twitter | Facebook 

Comic Artist. Character Designer. Author of “The Order of Belfry” and “Corazon de Obsidiana”

Samuel Blanco | Facebook

Cartoonino Latino. Freelance comics illustrator, and graphic designer.

Jennifer Hernandez | DA

I’m Jen, comic artist for Archie’s Sonic the Hedgehog series. When I’m not drawing speedy blue hedgehogs, I doodle magical girls and update my Twitter icons.

Danilo Beyruth

Danilo Beyruth is a professional illustrator and comic book creator from deep in the jungles of Brazil.

Eva Cabrera | Twitter | Facebook

Graphic Novel Author & Illustrator of many colors ★ I love comics, travel, books, videogames, I’m coffee addict ☕️ Continue reading “#BeingLatinxInComics – The Artists”

#BeingLatinxInComics Chat

#BeingLatinxInComics – The Journalists & Bloggers

#BeingLatinInComics Network: Writers | Artists | Journalists/Bloggers | MultiMedia | Independents


Enrique ReaTwitter | Facebook | Instagram

Find Work On: Spartantown

Mexican-American geek culture blogger from Los Angeles that covers comic books, television, movies, cosplay, and art. Owner and editor of Spartantown.net

 

Andrea | Twitter

Full time retail worker and translation student, complaining about mainstream media on my spare time. Aspiring writer. Opinionated as fuck. Bisexual, biracial, bilingüe, bitch.

Sylvia Monreal | Twitter | Geek Girl Con | GeekWire | FemHype | Not Your Mama’s Gamer | Fresh Out Of Tokens | The Heroine’s Journey Podcast  | Group Date | ¿Cómo se Dice Nerd?

Mestiza nerd. M.Ed. Clark Kent’ing in the nonprofit sector. Alum of Princeton, AmeriCorps & VONA/Voices. She/her.

Ahmad Childress | IGN

Ahmad Childress is the Editorial Manager for Entertainment Content at IGN Entertainment. Ahmad has previously worked for Machinima and CraveOnline.

Jose Figuero | Geeks of Color

AfroIndigenous Boricua 🇵🇷. Darth Vader’s illegitimate child. .

Marco Lopez Pimentel | Twitter | Facebook

Home of Marco Lopez Indie Comic Book Creator, contributing writer for Bleeding Cool and screenwriter/producer

 | Twitter

Nerdess Extraordinaire. Pop Culture Junkie. Uber Tomboy. FILA. Unapologetically Afro-Latina. Social Media Curator for and . Panel Coordinator.

Rodrigo Sanchez | Twitter

Rodrigo Sanchez-Chavarria is a writer and spoken word poet of Peruvian heritage heavily involved with Palabristas, a local Latin@ poets collective. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and an involved activist in the Latin@ community. He writes about fatherhood, the duality of two cultures in English, Spanglish and Spanish, and issues pertaining to his community and life experiences.

Arturo R. Garcia | Twitter

Team . Editor-At-Large , Alum . Progressive w/geeky interests. Tweets are always mine. ‘Notorious anti-white racist.’ — Breitbart

Eric Silva Brenneman | Twitter

Contributor , . Musician/performing artist (). Teacher, polyglot, futebol, bjj, former tear gas magnet.

Sergio Alexis | Twitter | Website

Your Enby friend who writes comics, is latnix, consults for diversity and rants a lot. Contributes to

Kat Overland | Twitter 

Works Published: Women Write About Comics

Small press editor & copyeditor for Women Write About Comics. A displaced Texan now living in Washington, DC, she is perpetually behind on reading her pull list. She’s a millennial Latina, who can be seen casually cosplaying America Chavez and interrogating texts via queer & disability theory.

Osvaldo Oyola | Twitter | Facebook

Dr. Osvaldo Oyola successfully defended his dissertation, “(Re)Collecting Identity: Popular Culture and Narratives of Authentic Self in Transnational American Literature” in April 2014, securing his PhD in English from Binghamton University. In it, he explores how popular culture and collection practices are put to use as framework for positioning identity in a transnational American literary context, including memoir, comics and literary fiction. Osvaldo posts his thoughts (and those of guest writers) on popular culture, race, and gender on his own blog, The Middle Spaces, focusing on popular music and comic books. He serves on the Executive Committee for the International Comics Art Forum, lives in Brooklyn, NY, where he grew up, and is currently a lecturer in the New York University Expository Writing Program.


Do you know a Latinx podcast that talks about comics, and/or pop culture? Are you a Latinx journalist that writers about comic books, and pop culture? A Latinx artist working on self-publishing comic books, graphic novels, webcomics, or working for any major publishers? Maybe you run a Latinx blog that discusses comics and pop culture? Where ever you fit, there’s a place for you in #BeingLatinxInComics! Simply submit your information below to be added to the list and I’ll update as soon as possible.

The only requirements are that you must be Latinx, report or have reported on anything pop culture or comic book related, be a journalist and/or blogger! If you fit both of those criteria fill out the form below and I’ll add you to the list.

If you’re already on the list and would like your mini-profile updated (or removed) just fill out the “Other” comment box below with your request. This will be an every growing list that will change and develop to include more information (and a prettier layout) as time goes on. For now, enjoy!

Submission Form

#BeingLatinxInComics Chat

#BeingLatinxInComics: The Writers

Jai Nitz | Twitter

Works Include: El Diablo, Sucide Squad Most Wanted: El Diablo, Green Hornet

George Perez | Twitter | Comic Vine Bio

Works Include: Wonder Woman, Avengers, New Teen Titans, Tales of Teen Titans

The Hernandez Brothers | Facebook

Works Include: Love and Rockets

Terry Blas | Twitter | Facebook

Works Include: Briar Hollow, You Say Latino, Ghetto Swirl, Morbid Obesity, The Amazing World of Gumball

Stephanie Barros | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram

Works Include: Art Trade, Fantasma

Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez | Twitter | Facebook | Vimeo | Instagram

Works Include: La Borinqueña, Guardians of the Infinity

Barbara Perez Marquez | Twitter

Works Include: Heiresses of Atalanta, Buff Babe Zine Vol. 2 (Strength, and Awakening), The Order of Belfry

Liz Mayorga | Tumblr | Facebook | Twitter

Works Include: Tallulah’s Daily Growl, The Nature of the Beast

Jules Rivera | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

Works Include: Valkyrie Squadron, Misfourtune High, Headlocked, Working Holiday, Vampires on Mars, The Merry Adventures of Prince Ashe

Frederick Luis Aldama

Works Include: Graphic Borders: Latino Comic Books Past, Present, and Future (World Comics and Graphic Nonfiction), Multicultural Comics: From Zap to Blue Beetle (Cognitive Approaches to Literature and Culture), Your Brain on Latino Comics: From Gus Arriola to Los Bros Hernandez (Cognitive Approaches to Literature and Culture)

Alejandro Bruzzese | Twitter | Tumblr | Instagram

Works Include: Proxy (from La Raza Anthology), God Hates Astronauts

Carolina Dalia Gonzalez

Works Include: It’s All About The “r” (from La Raza Anthology)

Continue reading “#BeingLatinxInComics: The Writers”

media commentary

What I Watched This Week: One Day at a Time, Legends of Tomorrow, Constantine

After beginning to readjust myself to non-holiday hours and get up before 10:00AM and back to 8:30AM like I’m suppose to I’m beginning to hash out an after work schedule. This mainly means writing article ideas in my notebook, or catching up on movies and television I’ve missed. Or playing on my 3DS and beating Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (I will win!). Or catching up on comics; see why I need an after work schedule?

Anyway, this week I watched three shows mainly: Legends of Tomorrow, Constantine, and One Day at a Time. I’ll break them down into parts.

Constantine – Episodes 1 – 3

Property of DC Comics and NBC
Property of DC Comics and NBC – this cover alone is grossly cheesy

Okay so I know I’m a year or two late for this show but I was given this as an assignment for a project happening next week (more details to come I’m just a huge tease). So I finally sat down, and began watching the season on Amazon.

Boy was the first episode awful. I mean there’s rough-around-the-edges and then there’s just sloppiness. The Constantine Pilot was outright sloppy. The opening scene was hard to get through given the choppy cuts, and exposition dumping they did on the audience off the bat. The rest of the episode wasn’t as bad but it didn’t get much better either.

The lead female character was boring and predictable which is why I guess the reason they wrote her out. That was one of the episodes main issues, the very obvious rewrites. The original female lead was written out in such a sloppy way it was near laughable. The action was poorly done, with little scares and cliched horror elements. Overall it felt neutered in a lot of ways. The best part of the episode was the ending. It had a completely different feel than the rest of the episode. Constantine walking down a dark alley, setting his hands on fire ready to spit and punch demons in the face, transposed into an image of a lone woman drawing iconic images of Hellblazer? That was fantastic. It felt comic book-y without being forced or campy.

That being said, the next two episodes were an improvement on the Pilot. Zed is a much more interesting and engaging leading lady than the Pilot’s character. She’s also Latina which is always a win for me. Matt Ryan felt much more at home in his role than in the Pilot and I like Charles Halford as Chas so much more than the film version (I actually don’t loathe the film it’s just a terrible adaption of Hellblazer). I also really enjoyed Harold Perrineau as Manny the Angel. I hope he plays a bigger role in future episodes.

There were some actual genuine scares in these two episodes even if they follow a rather formulaic process. I hate to say Constantine is similar to Supernatural but you can tell Supernatural took a lot of cues from Hellblazer comics than just Castiel’s coat. What’s a shame is I think Constantine could be a fantastic horror film, but only if it’s rated R. Constantine just seems like the type of character that works best and pushes the boundaries when restrictions are lifted off his canon.

Still, the show isn’t terrible (except for that god awful Pilot). I like Ryan in the role of Constantine, I can see why he’s such a fan favorite and I’m glad to see he has such an attachment to the character.

Things that bothered me were some standard sexism, and racism in the show. I thought the Evil Mystical Romani (or in the show G**sy woman cause “there’s nothing darker than g**sy magic” really show?) was unnecessary. Especially when earlier in the episode the character had some clear coding as a domestic violence victim. I wasn’t in love with how Papa Midnite was portrayed either. I didn’t like how the show demonized voodoo and of course Papa Midnite is a drug dealer with no morals? And his two henchmen are also moral-less thugs? That all was really bothersome and unneeded.

Hoping the rest of the season avoids these aspects and continues to improve in quality.

Continue reading “What I Watched This Week: One Day at a Time, Legends of Tomorrow, Constantine”

Writers Life

2016 Year in Review: The Passing of a Loved One

One of the biggest occurrences that happened this year is an extremely personal one. My Papi – grandfather – passed away this summer. Just a few days ago my familia and I celebrated our first Christmas without him. My abuela – grandmother – who is in the hospital and we’re all praying for her. I don’t share this information lightly, as I tend to keep family matters private. But this small piece is something I wanted to share. I dearly loved my Papi. He meant the world to me. He was a constant source of warmth and love in my life from childhood. I remember fondly the times he could gently hug me, cradle my face, and say to me, “ay mami, you so beautiful, que linda” and shower my cheeks with kisses.

My papi was always a solid source of love, warmth, and comfort to not only myself but many of my siblings and cousins growing up. I think of him, even months after his passing, and have to stop myself from crying. Yet, I know I am lucky to have had him in my life. I am lucky to have been able to know him, have him love me, to have been able to cook with him – fries and huevos in the morning, arroz con gandules in the afternoon for dinner with pork chops always seasoned with sazon and pan fried – to watch the Animal Planet with him, or Tom and Jerry, listen to him yell at the news, walk with him and his tiny dog BonBon, or to Wawa or the local Spanish market for little odds and ends. He always drank coffee. We used to take the train together and he’d lie about my age so we could get cheaper tickets. Pop always knew how to save a buck.

I didn’t get to see him before he passed. He passed the very night before I came up to see him. I didn’t get to see him for almost two years after I moved down south. It’s one of the biggest regrets I have in my life. It’s a regret I’ll carry like a chain around my neck, weighted and real, for the rest of my life. Platitudes of how it’s “not my fault” and “he went peacefully” and “you wouldn’t have wanted to see him so sick” will never open that lock and release the regret I carry. What lessens the weight, just a bit, is his memory. Beautiful, soft and carrying such warmth in his smile, his laugh, the silly way he’s comb over his hair.

I’ll never hear him call me “Mami” or “beautiful girl” again. I’ll never hear his laugh, his complaints, his singing; I’ll never dance with him again, and we’ll never eat together again. But he’s still with me.

In my memories, my heart, in my tears and prayers. He’s in the rosary hanging in my mother’s room, in the candles next to his picture, he sits right next to my Uncle who passed many years ago. He sits underneath dirt, and grass topped with a shiny slab of stone but I refuse to let him be gone.

My Papi is with me. Every day, every moment and with every accomplishment I achieve he is with me. I carry him in my memories, in my prayers, in my love for him, in my pursuit of happiness. I refuse to let him simply be a soft, fading photograph in the timeline of my life. Instead, he will be sewn into everything I do.

I know I won’t think of him every day. The idea alone is romantic and near impossible. But every night he will be and has been in my prayers. Cause he was our angel. He is my angel. And I’ll work hard to be deserving of that every day I have left.

Thank you for listening.