AlbinoDarkBeast Reviews “Feeding Ground” And Rants About Hipsters.
So I’m a big sucker for underdogs. I love anything that diverts from the mainstream, because more often than not it changes my focus. I think it keeps my mind agile and my imagination flowing. The thirst for intellectual innovation and variety encompasses almost every aspect of my life, be it food, music, cinema or literature.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a hipster kind of thing. I don’t wear obscure band names on my t-shirts or feel like having that tiny edge on pop culture makes me better than you. In fact, I seldom wear t-shirts at all. And I bathe twice a day, shave every day and wear clothes that actually make me look like a decent, hard-working individual. I don’t smoke, and all that hard work makes me enough to buy good beers from different countries (no Pabst Blue Ribbon), which I enjoy greatly. Definitely not hipster.
This week I stumbled upon a very unusual title roaming the streets of Mexico City. It’s Archaia Comics’ “Feeding Ground”, featuring the talents of Swifty Lang, Michael Lapinski and Chris Mangun. It’s an ongoing mini-series, currently on issue #4.
What instantly caught my attention was the cover of issue #2. It depicts an illustration of a human heart that’s obviously influenced by Mexican “Lotería” cards. The fact that no Mexicans, or even latinos, were involved in its creation also spiked my interest.
The story circles around a stereotypically named Mexican family, the “Busquedas” (which actually makes no sense at all), living in a stereotypical Mexican border town, filled with stereotypical garbage and scorched under the stereotypical Sun from Mario Bros Desert World, to which the stereotypical stray dogs are impervious. Only it has werewolves. Nice. I guess one couldn’t expect any less from a Belgian writer. I bet all he knows about Mexico is Speedy Gonzalez and Taco Bell (by the way, guys THOSE ARE NOT MEXICAN).
Mangun’s art (who designs for a pharmaceutical company, go figure) is gritty and coarse, and it gives the perfect ambiance for a cliché of extreme poverty and violence. It has a court room illustration feel to it. The colors are a bit off sometimes, almost like a Mexican “Libro Vaquero”, but it does give it some degree of authenticity, and it adds to the creepiness and gore. And plenty of gore you will find!
The panels are evenly spaced, with adequately placed text balloons that contain a surprisingly scarce amount of text for a mini-series. That teaspoon of text is great, but it leaves the reader wanting a little more, if only to bring a little more humanity to the characters. The general plot flows nicely, yet somewhat simplistic for my taste.
The real bonus is that it’s published both in English and Spanish, in the same issue. I think it’s great that they go through that amount of effort to give readers a greater sense of immersion in the story. It did surprise me that there’s no Telemundo in there, but it has some references to authentic Mexican candies, clothes and customs, and I like that.
Overall, it’s a good book, well rounded and consistent, but in the end, It’s the dialogues that actually bother me. As suspected, the Spanish spelling is way off, and the profanity makes no sense at all. It’s like they just copied and pasted it on google translate a couple of times back and forth ‘til they found something they liked. I expected something more professional for the creator’s debut in the industry. I mean, Come on! These guys live in Brooklyn! They can walk up to a taco stand and tip the guy to get some real Mexican insults.
The story seems to go deeper, so I expect some degree of improvement for the last two issues (especially if they ask me to contribute to the phallic aphorisms). It’s good, but it could be better. I recommend you read it so I can spare me hipster jokes and we all contribute to the exposure of some great new artists.
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