“Zorro’s Shadow” is a first person journey to find the origins of Zorro, the prototype of the superheroes who followed. It explores the fact and fiction surrounding “Zorro” the righter of wrongs, the enemy of the corrupt, and the champion of justice for all in old Spanish California. Zorro entered popular culture in 1957 in the Disney series, but Don Diego de la Vega, Zorro, The Fox, first appeared in 1919 in “The Curse of Capistrano” by Johnson McCulley. Print copies of Zorro books are difficult to access, and when studying California history in fourth grade, those interested in Zorro have to read the library’s copy in the research room rather than checking it out because so many previous copies have been “borrowed” and never returned.
Andes explores Zorro as the model for superheroes that follow. Zorro has no super power, no accidental acquisition of unhuman strength, no escape from outer space, and yet Zorro’s story is that of a true super hero, incorporating multiple cultures, regional conflicts, fighters for the underdog, independent determination, and above all justice. He shifts back and forth in his role as an unassuming common person to that of a resourceful avenger of the oppressed.
“Zorro’s Shadow” reintroduces Zorro to a multicultural America, looking at this prototype of today’s superheroes through fresh eyes and uncovering both the literary world of Zorro, and the historic facts upon which he is based. I received a review copy of “Zorro’s Shadow” from Stephen J.C. Andes and Chicago Review Press. It is an enlightening look into using fiction to tell the truth of historic tragedies.