Rebelde (Rebellious) is a Mexican comic book series first published in April 2006 by ¡Ka-Boom! Estudio. Based on the successful Mexican telenovela (soap opera) of the same title, Rebelde tells the adventures and struggles of teenaged students at Elite Way School—a prestigious private boarding school in Mexico City.

The story’s main plot line revolves around a group of students forming a pop band and the struggle for popularity. In the meantime, there are plenty of romances and confrontations between rival groups of students. Bullying is common as some students try to gain and maintain a privileged place in the social pecking order. There are other subplots that involve the school’s teachers as well as some parents. For example, at some point the principal must struggle to save the school from bankruptcy and protect his own reputation. The comic’s title refers to the types of protagonists featured in the story: those who rebel for a purpose and those who are simply rebels without a cause.

In adapting the telenovela to the comic book format, ¡Ka-Boom! Estudio sought to delve a little deeper into the original storyline, providing more substance and depth to television characterizations that were generally frivolous. Rebelde follows a rich tradition of genre adaptation in Latin American comics that dates back to the 1940s, when fotonovelas based on films became popular among readers.

The Rebelde franchise is also an excellent example of adaptation and multimodality in Latin American popular culture. The Mexican telenovela, produced by Televisa and airing between March 21, 2005 and December 15, 2006, was in turn based on the famous Argentine series Rebelde Way, which ran between 2002 and 2003. A common feature present in both telenovelas and the comic is the random use of English words and phrases, typically by “fresa” (preppy) students.

When ¡Ka-Boom! Estudio announced the creation of the series, it indicated its art would be based on the style of Japanese manga. However, the comic’s art style, format, or structure do not follow the manga tradition, but it’s rather a combination of American-style comic art and some elements from manga—particularly the way popular female students are drawn with voluptuous bodies, very short skirts, and tight school uniform shirts.

Rebelde’s artistic team includes Rebeca Soriano, writing; Jorge Reséndiz and Horacio Sandoval, art; Eridan Zumaya, inks; Guillermo Piña, color; Susana Romero, writing direction; Oscar González Guerrero, art direction; and Oscar González Loyo, project direction and editing.

— Mauricio Espinoza

Further Reading

  • Campbell, Bruce. ¡Viva La Historieta! Mexican Comics, NAFTA, and the Politics of Globalization. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2009.
  • Guerrero, Manuel Alejandro. Empowering Citizenship Through Journalism, Information, and Entertainment in Iberoamerica. Mexico City: Universidad Iberoamericana, 2009.
  • Meza Escorza, Tania. “Rebelde: Breaking Old Paradigms and Building New Stereotypes of Fat Young Women in Mexican Soap Operas.” A Comparison of Popular TV in English and Spanish Speaking Societies: Soaps, Sci-fi, Sitcoms, Adult Cartoons, and Cult Series. Ed. Marta Fernández Morales and José Igor PrietoArranz. Lewiston, NY: The Edwin Mellen Press, 2010.