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Long before Superman or Batman made their first appearances, there was Zorro. Born on the pages of the pulps in 1919, Zorro fenced his way through the American popular imagination, carving his signature letter Z into the flesh of evildoers in Old Spanish California. Zorro is the original caped crusader, the first masked avenger, and the character who laid the blueprint for the modern American superhero. Zorro’s Shadow unmasks the legends behind Zorro, showing that the origins of America’s first superhero lie in Latinx history and experience. And by revealing the length of Zorro’s shadow over the superhero genre, it is a reclamation of the legend of Zorro for a multiethnic and multicultural America.
About the Author
Stephen J. C. Andes is an associate professor of history at Louisiana State University. He is the author of The Mysterious Sofía and The Vatican & Catholic Activism in Mexico & Chile.
“SADDLE UP! Andes takes us on an exhilarating, dust-kicking ride through the actual origins and history of the first hemispheric Latinx superhero: Zorro. Washing off proverbial monochromatic whites to reveal beautiful browns, we deep-dive into hemispheric Latinx histories that precede Johnston McCulley’s 1919 pulp along with the blitz of Euro-Anglo makeovers in TV, film, and mainstream comic books. In this swashbuckler of a ride, Andes powerfully excavates the true significance of that swish-slash Z: the super-symbol that signifies the strength, struggle, and spirit of Latinx folx yesterday, today, and tomorrow.” —Frederick Luis Aldama, editor of Tales from la Vida: A Latinx
“Zorro’s Shadow is a wonderfully fascinating account of a pop specter that has long haunted North America: Zorro, a settler-colonial avenger brought to life by Stephen J. C. Andes’s dogged archival research and sharp interpretation.” —Greg Grandin, author of Fordlandia and The End of the Myth