Cassie’s Archaia Comics Review: FEEDING GROUND
Published: September 28, 2011 - 7:12am
Diego has an incredibly dangerous job: leading Mexican immigrants across the border to Arizona. It soon becomes apparent when his friends start turning up in several pieces that something much more dangerous than Border Patrol is hunting people trying to enter the United States.
Feeding Ground is inspired by true stories that author Swifty Lang collected about the Devil’s Highway (formerly U.S. Route 666) and the death that follows Mexican immigrants seeking a better life for themselves and their families. The monsters in this story serve as a counterpoint to the human monsters, Border Patrol that affects this journey every day. When Diego and his family seek to escape Mexico after a disastrous fight, they must choose who to trust, the inhuman creatures who seek their blood, or the government men whose job is to squelch their freedom.
I was a tad concerned that the overabundance of Spanish language would turn me off, but it was pretty elementary, and would have been covered in a first year Spanish course in Middle School. Or just by spending time with your Spanish compadres for a while.
One of the strengths of this graphic novel is the extremely vivid color palette, which put me in mind of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) skulls. There are bright yellows, pinks, blues, oranges and so much neon. It really is strikingly beautiful, and cannot help but put you in mind of the Mexican holiday, in which loved ones build altars for the dead. Much as this collection is a remembrance of the hundreds of immigrants who die taking the treacherous trip to America every year, the color work from Michael Lapinski is yet another reminder of this.
There are a lot of horrific scenes in this collection, from bodies turned inside out to heads speared on cacti to scenes in which humans transform into horrible beasts. These transformations further explore the metaphor of humans as being the true monsters. Much as a great deal of zombie fiction makes the distinction that sometimes human beings are worse than their undead counterparts, so too does this graphic novel, but with werewolves. We learn that humans are literally the real monsters, and that even people who seem innocent have that a base nature way down deep.
There are a lot of dangers in the trek from Mexico to Arizona, from dehydration to exhaustion, but it is humanity that poses the real threat. If you’re looking for a side of morality with your horror and don’t mind a little border hopping, this is the graphic novel for you. Just remember, we are the real monsters. We are the things that go bump in the night.
Story: Swifty Lang
Art: Michael Lapinski
Cover: Michael Lapinski
On Sale September 28, 2011!