The Two Gay Geeks received an email from our friends at Fanbase Press about the “super genius” edition of their hit Quince. I wanted to get the female perspective on this book and Erin was very excited when I approached her about doing a review of Quince. Erin has now had the opportunity to read and submit the review below.
We always want to be supportive of independent creators especially Fanbase Press who inspires and works with so many talented folks.
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QUINCE: THE DEFINITIVE BILINGUAL EDITION
Writer: Kit Steinkellner (Facebook Watch’s Sorry for Your Loss)
Artist: Emma Steinkellner (The Okay Witch)
Creator: Sebastian Kadlecik (Penguins vs. Possums)
Translator: Valeria Tranier (The Maze Runner)
Publisher: Fanbase Press
$39.99 | 344 pages | Fanbase Press | On Sale January 15, 2020
Quince follows a year in the life of Lupe, a 15-year-old girl who discovers that her quinceañera brings with it a super cool party . . . and superpowers. Her quince powers only last as long as she’s fifteen, so over the course of this rollercoaster year, we follow the adventures of Lupe as she figures out what it really means to be a hero.
A foreword by Peter Murrieta (Executive Producer/Showrunner/Writer, Mr. Igleasias)
An academic essay by Frederick Luis Aldama (Distinguished University Professor and Eisner Award-winning author of Latinx Superheroes in Mainstream Comics)
A study guide by Dr. Theresa Rojas (Professor, Modesto Junior College)
An art gallery by artists/cartoonists Javier Hernandez (El Muerto), Sabrina Cintron (The Witches’ Grimoire, La Borinqueña), Malena Bonilla (Twitter: @Malbondesigns, Instagram: @malbondesigns), and Jose Cabrera
A heartfelt letter to the reader by creator Sebastian Kadlecik
Quince, at the surface, is a superhero comic in 15 volumes. Simple enough, you’d think. Maybe even average. Before the completion of the first page, it becomes abundantly clear: Quince, at its core, is anything but average.
Quinceanera is a right of passage. It’s the move from childhood to beyond. It’s at an age (15) when most humans feel weird, fairly alone, pretty awkward, growing too fast, thinking too slow, feeling too many stupid, huge, ugly, amazing, vibrant things. At that age, the only normal thing about all the weirdness is that all the weirdness is normal. But that’s not a thing anyone seems to ever understand until far later.
Lupe Veracruz is on that familiar path, but the scenery of Quince is distinct from its genre predecessors. By Lupe’s own estimation, she’s so normal that she’s invisible. She deals with middle-kid-syndrome. She feels plain, confused, and appears to question whether an amazing Quinceanera is even possible for someone like her.
“Amazing” is such an understatement. Abuela sees something remarkable in Lupe and helps Lupe start to see it in herself. The story arc is compelling: Lupe represents a place in the world of graphic novels that confounds her as a character, a place that has frustrated readers for decades, she is the forgotten, the diverse, the minority, still important and deeply heroic in presence and action.
Lupe’s hero journey is a hard one. Her grades slip, leading to her crush becoming her tutor. Training is difficult, fighting crime is exhausting. Her alter-ego is viewed as supercool by the very peers that consistently overlook her. Beyond all of these slings and arrows, our hero overcomes. Even after the introduction of the gut-punch character of the self proclaimed “Anti-Hero,” our hero, Q, in all of her glorious goodness, stands strong.
Quince is the right book at the right time. While tackling the monster of becoming oneself, all that Lupe encounters feels so alive and familiar. The art & writing are in perfect step along this delicate dance of self discovery. This is a must-read without question.
The most beautiful irony in the whole of the piece is that our hero Lupe longs to see young brown faces in the role of the superhero for a change, that very thing we need to see as readers.
She becomes that for herself.
She becomes that for us.