My name is Marisa. I am a fiction writer, a blogger, and a freelance journalist.
Published June 4th 2018
Lupe's quinceañera transforms her into a super hero
Kit Steinkellner and Emma Steinkellne
Quince caught my eye on ComiXologly because of its front cover and its tagline "If you can survive being fifteen, you're a superhero."
Quince is the story of Lupe, an average Latina teenager who likes to binge Netflix and dream about living a more interesting life, who inherits superpowers upon turning fifteen and celebrating her quinceañera.
Her grandmother (or abuela as she calls her) tells her that it is a tradition in their family to gain superpowers once you celebrate your quinceañera, but the powers will only last for one year. Lupe must decide how she is going to use her gifts while she still has them.
Quince lasts for 15 issues and follows Lupe over the course of one amazing, super-powered year of her life. We follow her adventures and see how she decides to use her powers to help people.
Quince was created by Sebastian Kadlecik and written by Kit Steinkellner and illustrated by Emma Steinkellner. It was published digitally by Fanbase Press in 2016 in English and Spanish. A printed tradeback edition was released in October 2017.
Quince received critical acclaim. It was nominated for the 2018 Eisner Award (Digital Comic Book), the 2018 Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity, the 2018 Excellence in Graphic Novel Literature Award, the 2018 Mosaic Award for Diversity and it won the 2018 IPPY Award (Graphic Novel).
Quince was an utterly adorable graphic novel. It is just 146 pages long. I read the whole thing in one day. It is suitable for kids eight years and up. Lupe reminded me a lot of Kamala Khan (Ms Marvel). Like Kamala, who is Muslim and a Pakistani American, Lupe is a person of colour and comes from a family of immigrants.
Lupe is of Mexican descent and is a full figured girl. I love that diversity is becoming more common in comics. We need more superheroes of different races, colours, body shapes, cultures and religions. It makes people feel happy and inclusive when they read about people that remind them of themselves.
I personally loved that Lupe was short and had a pear-shaped figure. Comics do not have the best track record when it comes to illustrating women's bodies. Lupe is not paraded around as a sex symbol. She looks like a real girl. She isn't super glamorous. She sometimes dresses in daggy clothes and she doesn't always have makeup on or the best hair.
We all come in different shapes and sizes and that is reflected in Quince. One character even says to Lupe at one point, "And your body is fine. All bodies are bikini bodies or whatever. My sister just got back from college, and she's been teaching me about internalized misogyny."
I liked Quince's unique take on the coming-of-age story and the super hero origin tale. Lupe's abuela fills the role of her "Uncle Ben" who shows her how to use her powers and even hand makes her super hero out fit for her. With her abuela's help, Lupe becomes the super hero Q, who wears a pink outfit that resembles a Mexican wrestling outfit.
Q can fly and has super strength and can blast things with her hands. With the aid of a police scanner, Lupe starts fighting crime in her spare time.
Lupe is a reluctant superhero who finds balancing crime fighting with school work and family life exhausting. One scene that stood out to me as pretty funny was when Lupe was being driven to school by her dad.
He asks her if she is excited about going back to school. Lupe, who is sitting in the back seat of the car and looks petrified about what the day might bring, replies "If nobody kills me and I don't have to kill anyone, it will be a good day."
Quince was a fantastic little book. When I finished it I was sad that it was over and found myself wishing that it had gone on for a few more books. I think Quince would make a fantastic Netflix show or movie and that Lupe/Q could become an inspirational figure to many young girls.