Comic Book Hero

Written by: 
Jessica DeLeĆ³n

Hector Rodriguez ('14 M.Ed.) (Photo by Ranjani Groth)Hector Rodriguez ('14 M.Ed.) is a teacher by day and a superhero by night.

Rodriguez earned his master's degree in educational leadership from UNT and teaches fifth-grade bilingual reading at McKinney ISD. During the evenings and weekends, he writes the comic book El Peso Hero, about a Mexican man with super strength who gives voice to those who are disenfranchised on the border.

El Peso Hero has been featured on Telemundo and Univision, as well as media outlets in Mexico, Italy and Spain. El Peso Hero: La Patrona is in production and Rodriguez is raising funds for El Peso Hero Amazing Border Stories. He also is co-founder of Texas Latino Comic Con, the first comic book convention for Latino artists, which took place in Dallas last summer.

The need for more Hispanic representation inspired Rodriguez to create El Peso Hero.

"Comic books are a universal medium that can cross borders and languages," he says. "A comic book series like El Peso Hero brings attention to important issues and helps bridge the gap of representation in the media."

Rodriguez, who began drawing when he was in elementary school and has taken art courses in high school and college, says the idea for El Peso Hero came to him gradually. The comic book began as a biweekly webcomic in July 2011, and the first print issue came out in May 2012.

"I always wanted a greater-than-life hero who was culturally relevant and grounded," he says. "So instead of waiting for one, I created my own with cross-cultural, universal concepts."

The comic books also provide valuable inspiration for his students. Rodriguez, who has been a teacher for eight years, uses the books to hook their interests and improve comprehension skills.

"My students feel inspired and motivated to be authors themselves," he says. "In this time of anxiety and uncertainty, it is important for them to have a positive role model that speaks out for them."