On Thursday, November 30th we’re hosting an event with José Alaniz, author of the new book “Puro Pinche True Fictions” (FlowerSong Press).
Author/cartoonist José Alaniz has released a new prose/comics collection titled Puro Pinche True Fictions. The hybrid book collects short stories and comics, mostly set in the Rio Grande Valley along the Texas/Mexico border. The stories reflect the author’s upbringing in this region as a second-generation Mexican-American, at times fusing folk beliefs with Bradbury-style science fiction. For example, “Tamales” sets the immigration narrative on Mars in 2063, when a migrant family makes the crossing in search of work via (malfunctioning) rocket.
Other stories, like “Genoveva” and “Where You Stop the Story,” retell painful family episodes going back years and generations. The comics section, “Electric Youth,” recounts incidents from Alaniz’s childhood in South Texas, some of them told in Spanglish. These range from nostalgic (like one showing how common and pleasant it used to be to cross the river to Reynosa, Mexico for family outings) to funny/gross (the author’s memory of stepping on a nail) to self-flagellating (the reimagining of ethnic self-loathing through a Star Wars metaphor). This collection will appeal to readers with an interest in contemporary Chicano fiction and comics.
About the author
José Alaniz was born in Edinburg, TX, in the Rio Grande Valley along the US/Mexico border. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1993 with dual degrees in Radio-Television-Film Production and Russian Studies. He worked in Moscow, Russia as a journalist from 1993-1994. In 2003 he earned a PhD in Comparative Literature at the University of California, Berkeley.
Since 2003 he has worked as a comics scholar and professor at the University of Washington, Seattle, in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures and the Department of Cinema & Media Studies. He has published three monographs: Komiks: Comic Art in Russia (2010, University Press of Mississippi); Death, Disability and the Superhero: The Silver Age and Beyond (UPM, 2014) and Resurrection: Comics in Post-Soviet Russia (Ohio State University Press, 2022). He has also co-edited two essay collections, Comics of the New Europe: Reflections and Intersections (with Martha Kuhlman, Leuven University Press, 2020) and Uncanny Bodies: Disability and Superhero Comics (with Scott T. Smith, Penn State University Press, 2019). He formerly chaired the Executive Committee of the International Comic Arts Forum (ICAF) and was a founding board member of the Comics Studies Society.
He has released three comics/prose collections: The Phantom Zone and Other Stories (2020) and The Compleat Moscow Calling (2023), both from Amatl Comix, and Puro Pinche True Fictions (2023, FlowerSong Press). His comics have also appeared in The Stranger, the Seattle anthology Dune, Tales From La Vida: A Latinx Comics Anthology (2018), BorderX: A Crisis in Graphic Detail (2020) and SCARFFF.