THEY'RE NO LONGER SOMEONE NAMED ALEJANDRO LOPEZ OR HORACIO BALDERA.
THEY BECOME CHICANO POWER, THEY BECOME THE RED DEVIL.
Do you know what lucha libre is? Have you ever been to a lucha libre match and seen los technicos and los rudos—the good guys and the bad guys—dressed up in their wild costumes and crazy masks? How would you feel if the most famous luchador of all time actually stopped and smiled at you? Find out what happens to Carlitos when The Man in the Silver Mask—a man he’s never seen before in his whole life—turns and does that very thing to him.
Kids—of all ages—are drawn to the allure of lucha libre and its masked men and women. In Lucha Libre, young fans will see this fascinating world come alive: favorite heroes and much-feared villains, dressed in dazzling and outrageous costumes, strut and prance across the mat and bounce against the ropes, daring anyone to take them to the floor!
*STARRED REVIEW* As if going to a lucha libre (“wrestling”) match with his grandfather and uncle weren’t exciting enough, the young narrator of this engaging story buys a mask identical to the one worn by his favorite wrestler. Although Carlitos’ uncle can’t actually make it to the fight, a face-to-face encounter with his hero, the Man in the Silver, keeps the protagonist distracted. Astute readers will easily deduce the identity of the masked man, as they learn about Mexican wrestling. The fluid colloquial English and Spanish and grainy graphic-novel style illustrations executed in acrylics make for an attractive package with definite appeal for boys. An informative endnote in English presents a brief but engrossing history of lucha libre. This title is sure to become popular in both libraries and bookstores.
Carlitos and his father go to the arena in Mexico City to watch a bout of “lucha libre” (professional wrestling) with Carlitos’ uncle Vicente. Although this tale is set a half century ago, the wrestlers are divided, just like now, into bad guys (los rudos) and good guys(los technicos), and the audience loves booing los rudos and cheering for los tecnicos. Young readers will shiver along with Carlitos at the frightening costumes and manners of the bad guy—El Cucuy (the boogeyman), the evil caveman and the vampire—and thrill to the heroes—the Mighty Bull, the Masked Rooster and Carlito’s favorite, the Man in the Silver Mask.
While Carlitos (and younger readers) may not figure out why Vicente misses the bout, older readers will realize who the Man in the Silver Mask really is. Garza’s illustrations are oversized, wildly colored and presented in bold outlines, recalling both Mexican folk art and the rowdy spirit of the stylized sport. They are sure to draw in every wrestling fan under the age of 10. His afterword is a brief history of Mexican wrestling and especially El Santo—The Saint—its most popular hero and the original man in the silver mask.
School Library Journal
Going to a lucha libre in Mexico City with his grandfather is exciting in itself, but the young narrator of this engaging story is thrilled at being allowed to buy a mask like those worn by the luchadores.
Carlitos chooses a silver one just like that of his favorite wrestler. From their seats at ringside, the fights are exciting, including a face-to-face encounter with the boy’s hero, the Man in the Silver Mask. Astute readers will easily pick up on the identity of the masked man, and all will increase their knowledge of the Mexican version of the World Wrestling Federation.
Smoothly integrated information in fluid colloquial English and Spanish combines with grainy graphic-novel-style illustrations executed in acrylic to create an oddly compelling and sophisticated package. An informative endnote, in English only, presents a brief but engrossing history of lucha libre. Certain to be a popular choice.
This is a really fun book for little lucha libre fans.
The sport [lucha libre] became ‘‘a poor man’s theater,” according to Garza. The masked fighters, known as ‘‘luchadores,” are classified as either ‘‘tecnicos” (working-class heroes who play by the rules) or ‘‘rudos” (bad guys who use dirty tactics to get ahead). It’s the classic struggle between good and evil.
‘‘Somehow, in the nick of time, the good guy will triumph,” Garza said. ‘‘And if he doesn’t, it’s to set up a bigger match down the road.” Once a loser is determined, he’s unmasked, revealing his true identity.
"We'd go across the river to see lucha libre, and when we visited my uncles in Monterrey, we'd go there, too. It was the costumes mostly. It was like theater with fighting, but what I really liked were the costumes. To me, those guys were like superheroes and supervillains from the comics come to life." —Xavier Garza
Papá Lupe and grandson Carlitos have just arrived at the arena in Mexico City to watch the lucha libre (Mexican-style wrestling) match, but Tío Vicente, who was supposed to be there too, hasn’t shown up. Carlitos picks out a souvenir mask and decides to root for The Man in the Silver Mask, who, the vendor assures him, is “the greatest luchador of all time!” As three masked rudos (bad guys) enter the ring, Papá Lupe explains why the crowd erupts in derision, and when the trio of técnicos follows, Carlitos recognizes his newfound hero in the silver boots, tights, and mask. Tío Vicente shows up after the match, and, although Carlitos’ uncle is in fact the flashy wrestler who vanquished the rudos, to his nephew’s delight. Carlitos’ story, told in English and Spanish on facing pages, is a completely dispensable framework for the real appeal of the brawny comix-like paintings in vivid Mexican folkloric colors of hyper-muscular wrestlers in their superhero (and supervillain) garb and the cogent explanations of arena traditions and ritualized fighting style. A lengthy endnote offers background on lucha libre history, extending the interest of this title to readers who are too sophisticated to enjoy the paper-thin family story. Children familiar with the sport will welcome the vibrant visual paean, while fans of wrestling, comic-book superheroes, and all things pugilistic will wonder where lucha libre has been all their lives.
Do you love Mexican wrestling, but find yourself having trouble explaining the appeal of the mysterious masked musclemen to your young niece or nephew? Then perhaps you should let the words and paintings of artist Xavier Garza do the talking for you. His new children’s book Lucha Libre: The Man in the Silver Mask is a primer for kids and grownups into the south-of-the-border sport that provided pop-culture inspiration for surf rockers Los Straitjackets, cartoon Mucha Lucha and crazy B-movies like Santo Versus the Vampire Women.
For the kids is the main event, about a youngster whose father takes him to watch wrestling while visiting his big bicep-ed tio Vicente, who suspiciously is never there when the Man in the Silver Mask is. The boy learns about the rudos, the scary bad guys like El Cavernicola, The Evil Caveman who are willing to cheat to win, and the heroic técnico, who will “earn his victory fair and square by using his superior wrestling skills.”
For the grown-ups, the story is followed by “a brief but tremendously exciting history” of lucha libre. Both age groups should appreciate Garza’s paintings, with their folk art/street mural vibe, thick line strokes and white-warm colors—even if it’s for different reasons.
El Paso Times
Texas author unmasks intrigue of lucha libre
The classic battle inside and outside the ring in Mexican wrestling always pits good vs. evil—usually involving masked competitors.
Xavier Garza transforms this Mexican cultural icon into an entertaining illustrated bilingual cuento in "Lucha Libre: The Man in the Silver Mask". Garza honed his skills as an author, artist and storyteller growing up in the small border town of Rio Grande City, Texas.
In Garza's tale, Carlitos and his father, Lupe, wind up at the lucha libre matches, booing the bad guys, El Cucuy, El Vampiro, El Cavernicola and cheering for the good guys, El Gallo Enmascarado, El Toro Grande and everybody's hero, El Hombre de la Mascara Plateada. He keeps wondering why his Uncle Vicente isn't there. Garza throws in a bonus, a brief history of lucha libre. Countless Mexican boys grew up dreaming that they might be as brave as El Santo, Mexico's most famous masked wrestler.
Garza's excellent contribution to children's literature will definitely introduce new audiences to the fantastic world of lucha libre.
San Antonio Current
"Without resorting to the kitsch or comedy that plagues so many other pop portrayals of these masked men, Garza's hyper-exaggerated, vibrant illustrations spring to life from the book's pages and convey an aura of reverence and awe befitting his young protagonist. Carlitos has a blast and, chances are, you will, too. It's the next best thing to having front-row seats for the Friday-night match."
Narrated by a young lucha libre fan, The Man in the Silver Mask tells the story of a boy’s trip with his Papá Lupe to a match. The eye-popping illustrations, by author Xavier Garza, highlight the exciting world of Mexican wrestling where the action is brutal, the crowd goes wild, and real men wear masks.
Papá Lupe promises the narrator that he’ll see Tío Vicente at the event, but the boy’s uncle is nowhere to be found. The boy’s attentions turns to “the greatest luchador of all time: The Man in the Silver Mask.” Papá reminds him that a true luchador is never seen without his mask, “Anyone could be a masked luchador and you would never know it.” With Tío Vicente still missing, the match begins. Los Rudos, the cheaters come in first, booed loudly by the audience. Then, Los Técnicos, the heroes of the day, arrive. The fighting is brutal. In the middle of the action, The Man in the Silver Mask stops and stares right at the young narrator. The boy can hardly believe his eyes, “The Man in the Silver Mask smiles at me as if he knows me!”
More surprises are in store for the little boy when the match ends and his mysterious uncle finally shows up. A fun read for all ages, the real drama in this book lies in the gorgeous color illustrations. The Man in the Silver Mask is my hero.
Yellow Brick Road
Wrestling matches in Mexico feature good guys (los tecnicos) and bad guys (los rudos). At the match in Mexico City, Carlito wishes his Tio Vicente could be there, but the famous luchador The Man in the Iron Mask has eyes that look very familiar…Garza highlights the power of wrestling (Lucha libre) in Mexico, and the mythology of good and evil played out on the wrestling stage.
Xavier Garza tells the story of Lucha Libre, Mexico's freestyle wrestling sport, which mirrors a fight between good and evil. Favorite heroes and feared villains in outrageous costumes wrestle for victory in the wonderful Mexican tale.
Carlitos is on his first trip to Mexico City to see a Mexican wrestling match with his father and his uncle. The adventure begins when Carlitos gets to choose a mask as a souvenir of the event; after careful consideration, he chooses that of the Man in the Silver Mask. Putting on the mask makes Carlitos feel powerful and excited as he learns about the good vs. evil aspects of lucha libre and its roster of characters. But all this excitement makes Carlitos miss his uncle, who has not yet shown up, especially when the Man in the Silver Mask stops ringside and looks very intently at him. After the fight, in which the good guys win, Carlitos comes across his uncle who just happens to have a Silver Mask figurine for him. Though Carlitos does not confirm his uncle's identity as the Man in the Silver Mask, the possibility is awfully likely. This dramatic tension is subtle throughout the book, particularly in contrast to the bold illustrations and poster-style design, which are more exciting than the narrative. Garza includes a valuable addendum regarding the history of lucha libre, which is informative without being inaccessible to children.