Thursday, March 10, 2011

Superman: America's Superhero Immigrant

Posted By on Thu, Mar 10, 2011 at 10:25 AM

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The Immigrant Archive Project collects video interviews on the immigrant experience of different folks, including this one below from comic book writer Swifty Lang, who came to the United States from Belgium when he was a toddler.

Lang proposes what most of us already know - Superman is an immigrant, although I suppose there's room for debate on his legal status.

Besides Lang's spin on the real identity of Clark Kent, Lang has a cool ongoing project that explores border politics, but instead of Sheriff Joe and Tea Bagger mentality, there are werewolves and the Devil's Highway in Feeding Ground, a comic series written by Lang and illustrated by Michael Lapinski.

In an interview on the blog MTV Geek that you can read here, Lang says his comic books on border crossing and werewolf horror came from the real life stories about people we know so well in Arizona who cross the border and sometimes go through their own hell.

What I thought was interesting was how author Luis Alberta Urea also figures into Lang's comic world:

According to writer Swifty Lang, the genesis of his border crossing turned werewolf horror comic, Feeding Ground were the real life harrowing tales of the men, women, and children who daily attempt to cross over into the United States from both the documentary of his friend Thomas Peyton, 3 Men From 3 Valleys as well as Luis Alberta Urea's book, The Devil's Highway, and certainly the frequent newspaper headlines about the issue. The concept was also born, obviously enough, from conversations about werewolves. Not only was Lang interested in moving the classic monster away from the old tropes and limitations of silver and full moons, but he was interested in the metaphorical aspects of the creatures.

The idea of transformation, the most integral part of the monster, struck me as something not only corollary but integral to the crosser’s journey of seeking out a new life... How does one survive and what is their reason to continue?

The story involves a coyote and family man—Diego Busqueda—who encounters one of these monsters out along the Arizona-Mexico border and the treacherous crossing he attempts with his family to escape threats both supernatural and criminal. Lang says that he feels Diego's story—the non-supernatural elements, at least—represent an American story, in that he and his collaborators on the series are "are attempting to tap into what is universal about sacrificing one’s identity to make a better life for their family."

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