Latinos Doing Their Thing Series Presents…
Legal Aliens (www.dontarrestus.com)
You’ve seen their posting on “Being Latino” Facebook page almost every day. Some may raise an eyebrow (or uni-brow lol) at the comic strip name “Legal Aliens” with a “¿qué es esto? “under their breath and that’s okay. Most people just bust out laughing when they read the website name out loud “Don’t arrest us.com” and we encourage that! We love to laugh its goes deep in our Latino- Puerto Rican heritage. When brothers Mel & Frencci Rivera came up with Legal Aliens they knew they had a hit! But when we took it to the mainstream outlets of newspaper syndication they were shot down, too ethnic, too Latino or we can’t print that.” So their little green Latino Aliens went on a siesta for a few years.
Story from Mel Rivera:
Now they have awakened them and told them they can invade “el Internet” They now have a home on the earthling’s world wide web. But the challenge still remains “how are we to get a Latino audience as our majority of readers?” Gerald Haynes said “let’s put up a Facebook page and get a fan page started” well okay. I must admit I was the last of the three to join the Facebook family. But that is exactly how I found the Being Latino page, my niece joined and it showed on my page that she became a “fan of Being Latino.” I clicked the link and saw about 800 hundred fans at the time and I said “woo-hoo!” 800 hundred Latino’s the demographic I’ve been looking for!
Several months have past since then and thousands of Being Latino fans later. You can still find us pitching the antics of our Spanglish-speaking, wise-cracking Legal Aliens, crossing the borders of the universe in their inter-galactic Low Glider. Six visitors (and one cucaracha they can’t seem to kill) fleeing from their home planeta “Prubaxico” escaping its evil dictator Gen. Juan Catastro. Trying to find a place to live work and apply for a galactic green card!”
Mel RiveraMel Rivera – Born in the Bronx, now living South Carolina. Is the co-creator of Legal Aliens with his brother Frencci.
“I think Latinos are some of the funniest people on our planet. But much of our humor can get lost in the translation i.e. if I say “quiere un poquito de bacalao” real fast; I smile just because it sounds funny. But if I say it in English “Do you want a little bit of cod fish?” No matter how fast I say it I don’t smile or laugh! So we’ll try to bridge the gap with a funny dichotomy of Spanish-English. Why do our aliens speak Spanglish!? The same bloody reason every alien on TV spoke perfect English?!” – Mel Rivera
I think little green men from deep espacio, speaking Spanglish has got to strike a cord with the billion Latinos that grew up having parents that spoke only Spanish (at home) and they learn English in school and on the street. And it clogged our brains, bent our tongues to the point where almost every sentence is seasoned with this “Spanglish Sazon!”
I like to laugh and “Legal Aliens” makes me laugh and hungry…Quiere un poquito de bacalao? -MR
Frencci Rivera Conceptual artist and creative writer, Frencci -Growing up in the rough inner city streets of New York, I was heavily influenced by Urban Pop Graffiti Culture of the 70’s and 80’s, which triggered my desire to pursue a unique style in the way I designed the unimaginable, depicted in my craft of illustration and story telling. My dad, Abednego Rivera was a great influence on us as well. Being an artist and along with mother Margarita, raising 9 kids in the BRONX- you have to expect a legacy of humor to spawn from such an environment. My brother Mel and I throughout the years have collaborated on many character concepts. We felt with Legal Aliens there was a wealth of endless jokes and puns to incorporate into these strips, beginning with how we were raised, the music, and the foods we ate. I think about how we, Mel and I, fought tooth and nail for the free surprise in the Cap’n Crunch cereal box and boom–right then my mind will translate that as an idea for the next LA comic strip. We hope in these serious times our nation faces that you along with my brother and I can escape on an adventure, a journey that will take you on a comical mission.
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