The Legend of La Mariposa by James Lawrence
La Mariposa is a luchadora, a legendary one at that. What, you may ask, is a luchadora? A female luchador obviously – a luchador being a masked Mexican wrestler. The flashy antics and crazy storylines of WWE owe a lot to the Mexican version of the sport – lucha libre. Mexican wrestlers are closer to superheroes, wearing masks, capes and flashy costumes. If you have read the Los Bros Hernandez epic Love and Rockets at some point over the past few decades you will have come across awesome luchadoras like Rena Titañon.
The luchadores have an interesting relationship with comics. They look like superheroes, they act like superheroes, they even have superhero names. But they are real. They are just normal people without powers. A strange and fascinating connection between fantasy and reality.
La Mariposa – the butterfly – is one such luchadora. She is hired by a rather unpleasant businessman to scale a tall Mesa or rock column in the desert in search of a legendary treasure. Using her strength and agility she braves the many dangers of the rock and successfully climbs to the top. But the chupacabra she meets there is the least of her concerns as the prize of the quest turns out to be beyond anything she might have imagined.
Lucha libre brings hope and excitement to ordinary people in Mexico and can even provide heroes and role models. La Mariposa is a heroine from the streets who fights for the poor against the wealthy, powerful and corrupt. Her efforts on behalf of an orphanage echo real life luchadores like Fray Tormenta, a Mexican priest who had a 23 year career as a wrestler and used the proceeds to support an orphanage “La Casa Hogar de los Cachorros de Fray Tormenta“, inspiring several movies.
The art style of La Mariposa is wonderfully rounded with a soft-edged flowing style. James Lawrence portrays the physical strength and power of La Mariposa without showing rippling muscles. Legendary beasts of the Americas are portrayed in a style which is often cartoony but can also depict their awesome aspect.
I really enjoyed this comic and will certainly be looking out for more of James’ tales from the world of lucha libre.
La Mariposa and other characters from the lucha libre world have been depicted in a long running webcomic as well as several printed volumes. Check them out at https://longlivelamariposa.com/ and meet the author on Twitter – https://twitter.com/Kingfridayjoe