With waves of social, political, and environmental turmoil consistently washing ashore, the future feels impossible at times, but sci-fi can help us have a taste of hope for what’s to come. This is the aim of Mañana: Latinx Comics From the 25th Century—a comic anthology showcasing 50 different Latine creators and their poignant and unique visions for what Latin America could look like 1,000 years after its birth. It’s an enticing and exciting concept, so it’s no wonder the initial Kickstarter goals for the project were funded in just 2 weeks! We wouldn’t expect anything less from the good folks at Power & Magic Press.
The opening dedication of the anthology offers gratitude and sets the tone for the rest of the anthology: “To our parents, grandparents, and every ancestor, for the blessings and burdens they laid at our feet, making us who we are.”
From tales of what Dia de los Muertos could look like in the 2490s—with holograms and data merging with memories to help us spend time with our loved ones for at least a day (Día de la Vida)—to tales of space travel and restarting stars (A Dream of a Thousand Stars), to inhabitants of an underwater Cuba navigating the complications of queer love and space travel (Yemayá Take the Wheel, co-created by our own POMEmag Staff Editor Ashley Gallagher), there is something here for whatever your preferred flavor of sci-fi is.
The stunning art and fully-realized worldbuilding make the experience deeply immersive. All of the tales in this anthology are imbued with profound love and reverence for various Latine cultures without feeling heavy-handed—nuance here is a precious, rare gift that is worth holding onto in a media landscape that often rewards shallow representation.
Indeed, it’s just really cool to see more Space Latines (outside of a certain blockbuster franchise) who all have their own complex stories and characterizations. The series’ loving marriage of sci-fi and Latinx heritage raises thoughtful questions, and we get a glimpse of what might happen to islands like Puerto Rico and Cuba post-climate crises. However, like all great sci-fi, these stories also offer slivers of humanity and our ability to endure through whatever the universe throws at us.
The creators in this anthology deftly handle the duality of an unknowable future and the potential for hope and humanity. Two standout stories that exemplify this are A Little Esperanza by Jamila Rowser & Maddi Gonzalez and Miami Story by Joamette Gil and Ashanti Fortson. Both of these tales offer different visions of life post-climate crises: Esperanza looks down below, where people are now living underground, forever sheltering from storms, while Miami Story examines what building upwards could look like if the partially underwater city of Miami moved into a tower. Even though these visions for the future are so diametrically opposed, they also both show us how humanity can thrive under even the most extreme conditions. In the midst of chaos, there is still time for love, birthday surprises, and acts of kindness.
To describe the stories much further would give them away, but suffice it to say that both of these stories highlight the best and most admirable skill all of the creators bring to their stories: the ability to build fully realized worlds in a few pages and panels.
For me, personally, this anthology scratched an itch I didn’t quite realize I had. But it was a profoundly moving and joyous experience seeing Latine-futurism alive and well in these pages. The stories are beautiful and ultimately human, crafting a future that is no longer unknowable (for a moment at least), but one where Latinx people endure and thrive. If that isn’t a future worth rooting for, I don’t know what is. The volume’s tagline says it best: “El futuro es nuestro. The future is ours.”