Welcome to Hell……er, I imply…welcome to Devil’s Fork, Arizona, the house of DC Vertigo’s latest comedian guide collection, BORDER TOWN.
Writer Eric M. Esquivel and artist Ramon Villalobos excellently mix Mexican-American tradition, present societal points and spooky Mexican mythology on this distinctive and supernatural teen horror collection.
BORDER TOWN #1, which landed in shops earlier this month, is all about introductions. We are first launched to Frank Dominguez, a younger teenage boy who’s moved throughout the nation to start out a recent new life in Devil’s Fork. Aside from by chance befriending a Nazi skinhead on his first day of highschool, he meets buddies like Aimi, Julietta and Quinteh, who all expertise the unusual occurrences happening of their city collectively.
We’re additionally launched to Devil’s Fork, and this city is way from atypical. It’s situated proper alongside the United States and Mexican border the place racial rigidity is thru the roof and the place a rift between worlds lies, permitting bloodthirsty monsters from the Aztec underworld to unleash their wrath on nearly anybody. What might probably go mistaken?
Look, I’m simply going to start out off by saying that this needs to be one of many dopest, most enjoyable and superbly crafted comedian books I’ve ever learn. No exaggeration by any means. It’s actually that cool.
The first three pages of this situation had me immediately hooked and in addition had me in full shock. In these pages, we meet one of many many murderous interdimensional monsters scattered all through the story. They’re the sort of monsters that come straight out of your nightmares. I imply that actually—they really mould themselves to the form of their victims’ biggest fears (so pay attention to how every one seems to be within the context of every panel as you proceed studying the collection).
The darkish humor, grownup themes and goriness type of stability out with the innocence and naivete that the group of misfit youngsters possess. It permits the story to be each enjoyable and adventurous and darkish and twisted on the similar time. While I’m very keen on the mystic lore, humor and blood and guts on this problem, I like the Latinx illustration in Border Town probably the most.
I really feel like my tradition is being represented in a method that hasn’t been completed earlier than, and that’s primarily as a result of Eric Esquivel is telling a narrative from his perspective as a member of the Latinx group. The mini character arc the place Frank involves phrases with his personal multicultural id is a really highly effective theme, particularly for Latinx readers throughout due to how troublesome it may be to make sense of 1’s id. That’s the type of illustration that issues and makes a distinction.
Border Town additionally celebrates and honors Mexican-American tradition and folklore in a means that basically hits near house for me, all whereas telling an efficient and fascinating supernatural story. As somebody who grew up obsessing over scary tales about La Llorona and El Cucuy, Mexican mythology was all the time a serious a part of my childhood. And after studying this situation, I’ve by no means needed a pet chupacabra extra in my whole life.
Another admirable facet of Border Town is that it attracts from actual life societal points, like racism, bigotry and xenophobia, that exist in our current day. These points exist each in our actual world and within the Border Town world, however by no means is it a political manifesto meant to maneuver ahead any type of agenda as some individuals on Twitter have angrily theorized—it’s actually not that deep, guys.
While there admittedly are some controversial subjects at play just like the Nazi skinhead highschool youngsters and the yeehaw MAGA militiamen patrolling the border with their weapons, the story isn’t actually about that. I imply, you’d anticipate dealing with that may be the worst half for Francisco having to maneuver to a brand new state, nevertheless it’s truly the racial rigidity AND these nightmare-inducing monsters which might be going round killing individuals.
Aside from the story, the artwork and coloring of this concern is so beautiful and superbly wealthy. I really like how saturated the colours are, particularly the extreme yellow and orange colours used to depict the radiating Arizona warmth from the daytime sky. Huge shout out to Tamra Bonvillain for her superb work on this. Same goes for Ramon Villalobos’ intricately gritty artwork type and nice consideration to element in each single panel. He additionally throws in some actually enjoyable Easter eggs right here and there, so undoubtedly hold your eyes out for them.
All in all, Border Town’s power lies in its distinctive tackle incorporating Mexican mythology and horror and mixing it with on a regular basis life. It has grow to be a beacon of hope for extra Latinx illustration and resides proof that DC Vertigo is pushing boundaries with its newest relaunch.
Lissete Gonzalez writes about movie, TV and comics for DCComics.com. Look for her on Twitter at @lissete74.