The “Soda Pop Anthology” is a collection of comics illustrated and written by a large group of Puerto Rican women, in turn created and published independently by the studio of female comics writers, Soda Pop Comics.
The anthology was born as a vehicle to document this growing community of artists and is concerned mainly with establishing greater visibility and acceptance for its female creators. Beyond the world of comics, few volumes published on the island share such a noble (and difficult) task — and within it, a similar effort simply does not exist. As such, it is important to address the “Soda Pop Anthology” as the beginning, although it is certainly a culmination of sorts.
After founding Soda Pop Comics in 2007, Rosa Colón and Carla Rodríguez searched for a way to push other women to create their own comics. These initial efforts resulted in six collections of work under the stamp of “Anthology,” and gave way to four additional ones that were digitally distributed in 2013. “The Soda Pop Anthology,” which you can now have in your hands, gathers the best material from last year in 152 color pages and also includes stories created specifically for this print edition.
A total of 26 collectives and artists are participating in the effort, from beginners to more established and experienced voices, offering a fairly comprehensive and complete panorama of the current comic's production on the island. Beyond the central concept — Puerto Rican women creating comics — there is no forced narrative nor theme that structures the collection (as was the case with “Ehpoty,” an anthology also published by Soda Pop Comics).
Each pair of pages takes the reader down a different path — from Rosaura Rodríguez's semantic games in watercolor to Mónica Parada's raw absurdity, from the light and playful spirit that characterizes Soda Pop's work, to Ivia E. Pantoja's sci-fi imagination with a Japanese influence. These works are complemented by an assortment of interviews, articles on the history of comics, and tutorials.
The “Soda Pop Anthology” is an essential document for collectors of Puerto Rican comics and the hope is that it results in a greater appreciation of the medium, as with the publication of “DÍAS” in 2013 (by Rosaura Rodríguez and Omar Banuchi) through the Libros AC editorial. Those who know Soda Pop Comics's work know very well that the anthology is more than a link in the grand chain of initiatives — between exhibits, art classes, festivals, scholarship opportunities, and other social activities — aimed at promoting the production of comics on the island. But it is an important link, because it will introduce the work of new artists — and beyond that, it's an invitation to join and participate.