Mucho Mango is a graphic novel adaptation of Papel Machete’s 2010 tabletop puppet play El Barrio del Mangó Bajito (see below to learn more). In the story, four cousins fight gentrification when their late grandmother’s house is destroyed to make room for a tropical-hip mango-flavored drink franchise, Mucho Mango®. To win, they must uncover the histories of the neighborhood and, in the process, inherit a lifelong lesson left by their grandmother: el barrio –and its people– are not for sale.
Julia, a young Afro-Diasporican, moves to the Mangó Bajito neighborhood in Santurce, Puerto Rico, one year after Hurricane María hit the Caribbean. Her grandmother passed away after the hurricane, and her aunt Lola is now in charge of the caretaking of Julia’s cousins and struggles to find time for herself and to properly grieve her mother’s loss. Meanwhile, a wealthy American family arrives on the island to build their Mucho Mango® franchise. Lola, who works in housekeeping at the hotel hosting the family, discovers their plot to buy her mother’s house, home of the neighborhood’s last fruit-bearing mango tree.
The story depicts the community’s perseverance after Hurricane María and highlights the struggle to hold onto cultural heritage and identity in the face of gentrification and loss.
Currently, we’re finalizing Mucho Mango’s pitch package which includes character designs, synopsis, and sample pages that we’ll share with potential editors and publishers, taking this project one step closer to completion.