Anime-Influenced Graphic Novel Brings Twin Magical Swords to ‘Battle of Puebla’

The Twin Blades: BLOOD & OBSIDIAN cover by Julio Suarez and Rocco Langg.  Image: Jarred Lujan.

What the creator dubs “Mexicans-with-swords meets Aztec mythology” is back with a new Kickstarter and 44+ more stunningly illustrated pages. This time, the twin sisters (Catalina and Joaquina Pérez) are bringing their magic and conflict to the Battle of Puebla (aka Cinco de Mayo) as their stories get intertwined through the larger historical and narrative elements. This series about magical twin blades is inspired by anime (Japanese), Aztec mythology, and Wu-Tang Clan.

Throughout the history of Mexico, the Twin Blades have been present. Passing hands from wielders to wielders, sometimes in the open and sometimes in whispers passing in darkened rooms. However, there are few wielders with the aura surrounding them quite like Catalina and Joaquina Pérez. This is their legendary tale, one built on blood and obsidian.

While there is another Twin Blades graphic novel that comes before this, Jarred Luján wrote on the Kickstarter page that you can just start with this one. The first book goes more into the Aztec-inspired mythology (which the campaign page gives lots of info on), but these two books are separate stories. The team of creatives is entirely made up of Latinx artist and writers. Writer Luján, and artists Julio Sanchez and Rocco Langg, are returning from the first novel. Joining the project is letter Gabriela Downie (Batman ’89). The logos were created by designers Andrea Rosales and Lucas Gattonic.

The importance to the United States

One of the most bastardized cultural holidays in the United States is Cinco de Mayo. Despite year after year of saying, “This is not Mexican Independence Day; it’s the day marking The Battle of Puebla,” people and large businesses fail to recognize just the vital importance of this day. Mexico essentially had an internal multi-year civil conflict and had to pause debt payments to the United States and a number of European powers. While several (including the US, Spain, and the UK) planned on invading, only France went, and instead of being able to take over a country in turmoil, Mexicans united against a common colonial enemy.

This matters to the US because the French financially supported the Confederacy, and the Confederacy was not a fan of Mexico’s role as an end route in the underground railroad. Mexico was a more feasible way to escape slavery to many than the US (where the runaway patrol was supported) or Canada. France having a military presence in such a large part of North America was not a great look for the end of slavery. From the Haitian Revolution to the Louisiana Purchase and Battle of Puebla, France’s foreign policy was always important to American politics.

This bit of the history regarding the US doesn’t seem to be a part of the project, but it is important to remember, in addition to just learning about a bordering country’s history and the history shared by many Mexican Americans (particularly those from Mexico’s fifth largest city). Shows like HBOs watchmen (regarding Tulsa Massacre) and more have reminded us of the power of even science-fiction and fantasy being great vehicles for sharing some very real but lesser known (or very misunderstood) parts of history. This graphic novel is the continued legacy of the Chicanx making space for themselves as an integral and ever-present part of American culture.

(featured image: Julio Suarez & Jarred Lujan)

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