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LA VOZ DE M.A.Y.O. TATA RAMBO review: Tata Rambo breaks down the Brown Barrier in Comics

Writer: Henry Barajas, Artist: J. Gonzo, Editor: Claire Napier, Letter Artist: Bernardo Brice

Thanks to Top Cow Productions for providing a copy for review.


About: La Voz de M.A.Y.O.: Tata Rambo is based on the oral history of Ramon Jaurigue, an orphan and WWII veteran who co-founded the Mexican, American, Yaqui, and Others (M.A.Y.O.) organization, which successfully lobbied the Tucson City Council to improve living and working conditions for members of the Pascua Yaqui tribe—paving the way to their federal recognition. Meanwhile, Ramon’s home life suffered as his focus was pulled from his family to the wider community, and from domesticity to the adrenaline of the campaign. 

Thoughts: As a child the majority of representation for me came from the same four Latinx actors inserted as various villains in the same contrived stereotypes. Representation in the comic book world is less sparse and more rooted in the same 1D perceptions of the Latin world as a whole, so to be given a comic centered in the Latinx world to review is some what equivalent to finding good pan dulce in a gentrified part of town. 

Tata Rambo highlights one of the stories of Latinx resistance, giving us a historical base for how many went from oppressed to activists during a time that set a precedence for the brown activists of today. It’s evident that Ramon Jaurigue was committed to his cause, as we follow the loss he takes personally to achieve his goals. The story introduces us not only to racial levels of power that have pushed the Natives off U.S. land, but the role fellow Latinx played in that colonization. 

The storyline doesn’t portray Tata Rambo as a patriotic saint, or a machismo super hero, which inspires a true sense of pride, even if it’s marred. 

And this is the part it pains me to acknowledge, but I find it important as a Latinx woman. As most historical stories based in patriarchal societies it is not shocking that the women are background characters. Women’s voices were not allowed to project like men’s but it is still disappointing that after multiple references to Jaurigue putting his family needs far below his political fight, that the two female characters are painted in such a stereotypical light. His assistant, who remains ambiguous, seems lacking in self control once inebriated. His wife fares far worse, originally seemingly a strong women, only to be warped into a nag that seemingly does not share Ramon’s bravery enough to continue with him. 

The truth is that as happy as I am for a Latinx based story, I am disheartened that it didn’t uplift the women involved as well. It’s not far fetched to assume that Mrs. Jaurigue left out of a sense of self care versus frustration with his efforts. 

That and a disjointed timeline that left me having to backtrack a few times to understand what was happening at that moment, seemingly keep this much needed book from becoming a must have for this Latinx. 

Worth it? Yes, if anything to understand the close ties between the native and Latin culture, and the constructs of it. It brought a bit of enlightenment even if it fell short on inclusivity. Having a solid base gives it the opportunity to correct those aspects, along with timeline flow, to become the comic us melanin gifted kids need. 

LA VOZ DE M.A.Y.O. TATA RAMBO is now available at comic book shops and online.

Have you read the title? What are your thoughts? Want to talk to me about this title? Feel free to chat with me on Twitter or leave a comment below!

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