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José Alaniz for “Puro Pinche True Fictions”
October 7 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pmFree
José Alaniz, professor in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and the Department of Cinema and Media Studies (adjunct) at the University of Washington, Seattle, has published academic books on Russian/Eastern European comics, disability in comics and superheroes. He also makes comics, including for the collections The Phantom Zone and Other Stories (Amatl Comix, 2020), The Compleat Moscow Calling (Amatl, 2023) and Puro Pinche True Fictions (2023, FlowerSong Press).
The hybrid book collects short stories and comics, mostly set in the Rio Grande Valley along the Texas/Mexico border. The stories reflect the author’s upbringing in this region as a second-generation Mexican-American, at times fusing folk beliefs with Bradbury-style science fiction. For example, “Tamales” sets the immigration narrative on Mars in 2063, when a migrant family makes the crossing in search of work via (malfunctioning) rocket.
Other stories, like “Genoveva” and “Where You Stop the Story,” retell painful family episodes going back years and generations. The comics section, “Electric Youth,” recounts incidents from Alaniz’s childhood in South Texas, some of them told in Spanglish. These range from nostalgic (like one showing how common and pleasant it used to be to cross the river to Reynosa, Mexico for family outings) to funny/gross (the author’s memory of stepping on a nail) to self-flagellating (the reimagining of ethnic self-loathing through a Star Wars metaphor). This collection will appeal to readers with an interest in contemporary Chicano fiction and comics.