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.”
Written by Lang, and co-created along with series designer and layout artist Chris Mangun, and illustrator Michael Lapinski, the series was born through the crucible of collaboration, with the trio “duking out the beats,” according to Lang. “We literally have ‘kill cards’ in which we shoot down each others’ ideas; there is a pretty intense vetting process.”
The art style, by Lapinski, is somewhat photo-realistic utilizing a monochromatic color scheme. The look brings to mind a grounded version of Jaime Hernandez–Love and Rockets for the fur and fangs set. Lang describes Lapinski as a “conductor, laying out these moments and making sure they fit in the right places visually.” Working with his collaborator, the writer says the artist usually blows his mind once an issue. It’s hard to disagree, with the semi-classical version of the story’s werewolves–bipedal with lanky bodies–loping about in the Southwestern landscape, menacing the cast. Meanwhile, Chris Mangun’s designs work towards creating the “sound” of the book, as Lang credits him with being the one who makes sure that the dialog “sings.”