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Yes, of course I know now that his name is Sven and he’s not Mexican, but when I was seven, I wouldn’t have questioned anything my cousin Greg told me about Voltron. He was the one who introduced me to it in the first place and was my ambassador to shape-changing robots, evil fish-headed Kings and courageous princesses.
Eventually, my older cousin Marisol claimed the role of Princess Allura, Greg came around to the idea that being daredevil Lance was better than being Sven, and I took the role of Princess Romelle, who didn’t pilot a lion but did lead a rebellion against Prince Lotor — plus, she had horses. So it all worked out.
Those old Voltron cartoons are silly and simple to me now (though still hold a lot of nostalgic appeal), but they inspired my cousins and me, in our make-believe games, to re-enact and invent stories involving teamwork and bravery — and a little melodrama. Voltron has since become a comic published by Devil’s Due, but, honestly, I don’t think anything can compare to the Voltron stories my cousins and I made up in our family rooms and backyards.
And my cousin Greg? He’s the one who became the real pilot. He’s a captain in the Air Force and currently serving in Iraq, where he’s helping to train the Iraqi Army. This Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now is dedicated to him.