Why Disney/Pixar Hired One of Its Biggest Critics to Work on Its New Movie

Illustration for article titled Why Disney/Pixar Hired One of Its Biggest Critics to Work on Its New Movie

Cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz just announced that he’s joining the crew of Pixar’s Coco, an upcoming movie inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead. Why is this news? Well, in addition to being a fantastic artist and the creator of the syndicated comic strip La Cucaracha, Alcaraz is a political cartoonist who’s been sharply critical of Disney/Pixar’s treatment of Latinos and Latino culture.

Alcaraz often lampoons Disney in his editorial cartoons, most notably creating “Migra Mouse” to criticize Disney’s support of anti-immigration politician Pete Wilson. In 2013, when Disney attempted to trademark the phrase “Día de los Muertos,” or “Day of the Dead,” as part of the legal preparations for Coco, Alcaraz led the outcry against the idea of trademarking a holiday with a cartoon of a rampaging calavera Mickey:

Illustration for article titled Why Disney/Pixar Hired One of Its Biggest Critics to Work on Its New Movie
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Other critics have expressed concern about the Coco crew’s ability to portray Mexican traditions accurately, especially compared to the serious Latino cred of 2014’s similarly-themed The Book of Life, which was produced by Guillermo del Toro and directed by animator Jorge Gutierrez. Judging from Alcaraz’s Tweets, his role on Coco will be at least partly as a cultural watchdog. He’s also been cheerfully burning anyone on Twitter who accuses him of selling out to Big Mouse:

If a Mexican shares good news, and your immediate reaction is anger... Congratulations! YOU ARE PROBABLY MEXICAN.

Meanwhile, the few teaser images released for Coco at D23 look very, very pretty.

Illustration for article titled Why Disney/Pixar Hired One of Its Biggest Critics to Work on Its New Movie
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DISCUSSION

miguelvaldezlopez
Miguel Valdez Lopez

Real happy to see Pixar tackling this story / niche / opportunity to churn out a great film.

Geared specifically to Latinos or not, I’m glad the story is being told.

And as far as Hollywood goes, I’m happy that the studio behind the movie is taking its time / precautions / creative “locks” to try to make it as culturally sound as possible.

It’s a fun tradition that will easily lend itself to a (hopefully) cool, animated movie

(P.S.: That thing about Alcaraz cheerfully burning everyone accusing him of selling out is awesome... (us) Mexicans will cry out loud if we’re not represented and we’ll also cry out loud if we are... that’s why we can’t have nice things)