The period of September 15th to October 15th marks Hispanic Heritage Month, a time to reflect on how Latin American heroes have been shaping America’s history and culture since before our country was even founded. Of course, it’s no wonder then that so many of DC’s heroes draw from a Hispanic background as well.
The value of growing up and being able to recognize oneself in the heroes among them cannot be understated. As the first Latinx DC hero with his own movie, Jaime Reyes has broken barriers as Blue Beetle. But there are a number of heroes who came before him that allowed this beetle to fly. Here are ten of DC’s first Latinx heroes. How many do you know?
1) El Gaucho
First Appearance: Detective Comics #215 (1955)
Recommended Reading: Batman Incorporated (2022)
El Gaucho was first introduced in the Silver Age as part of an international group of Batman’s allies called the Batmen of All Nations. In the ‘00s, he returned as part of Grant Morrison’s epic Batman run with an invitation to join Batman’s new international team, Batman Incorporated. El Gaucho initially rejected the offer, but now works as a member of the group under the new management of Ghost-Maker.
2) El Dorado
First Appearance: Super Friends, “The Alien Mummy” (1981)
Recommended Viewing: Young Justice
El Dorado was first introduced as an original member of the Super Friends, with the powers to teleport and cast illusions. Recently, we’ve seen Eduardo Dorado help metahuman teens at risk find their place in the world in Young Justice: Outsiders.
First Appearance: Justice League of America Annual #2 (1984)
Nationality: Colombian-Puerto Rican
Recommended Reading: Justice League of America’s Vibe
In the “Justice League Detroit” era of the ‘80s, the breakdancing Cisco Paco Ramone became the first Latinx member of the Justice League with his unique powers of sonic vibration. These days, he’s better known as a S.T.A.R. Labs technician, part-time superhero, and for many years on television, a founding member of Team Flash.
4) Wildcat (Yolanda Montez)
First Appearance: Infinity Inc. #12 (1985)
Recommended Reading: Justice Society of America (2022)
Yolanda Montez was the goddaughter of the original Wildcat and was born with both catlike agility and sharp retractable fingernails due to experiments performed on her mother by a mad doctor. As the new Wildcat, Yolanda initially fought alongside other legacy members of the JSA in Infinity Inc. Later, the New 52 reintroduced Yolanda in Earth 2 as her world’s counterpart to Animal Man and the Avatar of the Red. Today, with the Justice Society’s history restored to DC continuity, Yolanda is active as a modern-day member of the JSA.
First Appearance: The Adventures of Superman #428 (1987)
Recommended Reading: Trinity (2008)
Not every problem in Metropolis can be solved by Superman. Growing up in the city’s Suicide Slum, Jose Delgado does his best to combat gang violence and provide a positive example for the city’s troubled youth as Gangbuster. Though he lost the use of his legs saving Lois Lane’s life, he continued to operate as Gangbuster thanks to a cybernetic implant. He returned in the 2008 Trinity series as one of the world’s unlikely heroes when Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are erased from reality.
First Appearance: The New Titans #73 (1990)
Recommended Reading: The New Titans #73-114
As a very young child, Rosabelle Mendez was genetically enhanced by the Wildebeest Society with super strength and agility, enhanced senses and deadly claws. With no past of her own, Rosabelle joined the Titans as a difficult member to get along with, but found some grounding as a surrogate mother to Baby Wildebeest. Tragically, Pantha was killed by a rampant Superboy-Prime in 2005’s Infinite Crisis—but after 18 years, Pantha was very recently shown alive and well in Tales of the Titans #2 as a retired Titan and expectant mother herself under modern continuity.
7) Renee Montoya
First Appearance: Batman: The Animated Series, “Pretty Poison” (1992)
Recommended Reading: Gotham Central
Debuting in Batman: The Animated Series, Renee Montoya was always one of the most dedicated cops in Gotham, drawing contrast to her frequent disheveled partner Harvey Bullock. Montoya became a fan favorite as the lead character of Gotham Central, but after a disillusionment with the police system, she took up crimefighting as a protege of the Question, succeeding him as the wearer of the pseudoderm mask. Today, Renee has returned to the GCPD as police commissioner, discovering that reforming the system from the inside, even as a figure with power, isn’t so easy.
8) Kyle Rayner
First Appearance: Green Lantern #48 (1994)
Recommended Reading: Green Lantern: New Guardians (2011)
Kyle Rayner has a complicated relationship with his mixed Latine heritage, as his father abandoned his mother while she was pregnant. But as he grew into one of the most powerful Lantern Corps members of all time between his tenures as Ion and the White Lantern, Kyle learned to embrace his past and even forge new connections with his estranged father.
9) Aztek (Uno)
First Appearance: Aztek: The Ultimate Man #1 (1996)
Recommended Reading: Aztek: The Ultimate Man
This so-called “Ultimate Man” was raised by an ancient organization to be an agent in the millennia-long holy war for the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, against the dark adversary Tezcatlipoca. With a magical suit of armor capable of manipulating reality itself, the true scope of Aztek’s power was immeasurable. Aztek became a reserve member of the JLA through the ‘90s, but ultimately gave his life in the final battle against Tezcatlipoca.
10) Hawkgirl (Kendra Saunders)
First Appearance: JSA Secret Files #1 (1999)
Recommended Reading: Hawkgirl (2023)
As the endlessly reincarnating Hawkwoman, Shiera Hol has lived many lives—the life of young Hispanic-American woman Kendra Saunders is only one of the latest. Unlike most incarnations of Hawkgirl, however, Hawkgirl’s spirit only entered Kendra’s own prematurely, leaving her with a separate identity from the Hawkwoman continuum as Hawkgirl. Now as an entity somewhere between her own conflicted self and a time-and-space-spanning heroic legacy, Kendra is still defining what she means to herself beyond Hawkman’s wingspan in a new Hawkgirl series.
With Hawkgirl leading her own book alongside Jaime Reyes as Blue Beetle, El Gaucho in Batman Incorporated, Wildcat in Justice Society of America, and Renee Montoya across the Gotham City line, DC’s Latinx heroes continue to play an integral role throughout the DC Universe. It would be a far duller place without them in it.
Blue Beetle, directed by Angel Manuel Soto and starring Xolo Maridueña as Jaime Reyes, lands in theaters now. Visit our official Blue Beetle hub for more news, features and videos about our newest big-screen hero and share your thoughts on the film right now in the DC Community!
NOTE: The views and opinions expressed in this feature are solely those of Alex Jaffe and do not necessarily reflect those of DC Entertainment or Warner Bros., nor should they be read as confirmation or denial of future DC plans.