A Review of Home #1
I thought I knew what I was getting into when I started reading Home #1 this week.
I knew what it was about, I knew the perspective it was gonna focus on.
I thought it’d be a solid read.
I didn’t think it would tear. my. Heart. Apart.
Home is the first issue in a limited 5-issue series telling the story of immigrants trying to cross the American border in modern times. It focuses on Mercedes Gomez and Juan Gomez, a mother-son duo seeking asylum from their home country of Guatemala. They’ve been told by others that, once they got to the American border, within a few days, they’d be free to go to live with Juan’s Aunt. It was supposed to be an easy journey, no problem. But with the former administration especially, this proves not to be the case, and what ensues is devastating.
Many of us have seen the cages on CNN, we’ve heard the stories of children taken from their parents- but very few forms of media (television, comics, movies, etc) go this in-depth, taking us every step through the horrors of what was- and still IS- happening to people who cross our border. Every. Single. Horrible. Step. that these people endure, and every single terrible step that we as American’s impose onto them. Every single step that we pay tax dollars into.
That’s the biggest thing that got me here- the guilt I feel, knowing that this sh*t is happening because people like me aren’t screaming constantly and consistently at the government to stop this. I’ve known about what’s been happening at the border. I’m vehemently against it, I’m ashamed of what our country has been doing- but my god I haven’t felt this guilty about it since I first learned this was happening to immigrants. This book doesn’t seem to exist solely to reveal the horrors people endure when they try to cross our border, but rather to get people to realize why these horrors are so bad, to break through the numbness many of us feel towards these issues. And it’s working. I can’t unsee the pain in each immigrants’ eyes in this issue. And none of us should- we, myself included, NEED to see this pain so we get off our as*es and do something to stop it. None of us should be saying “it’s their problem, they can handle it”- because WE ARE THE PROBLEM.
Furthermore, the writers (Julio Anta, Bryan Valenza, and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou) and artist (Anna Wieszczyk) show how important the collaboration of writer and artist is, even in the simplest of ways- the writers overlay text of bullsh*t Trump and his administration said about these immigrants- calling them criminals, rapists (yes, REAL words they said) on top of images of Mercedes and Juan innocently just trying to get to safety along with others. By using real words, it juxtaposes what we heard in real life with what is actually happening on these pages, and in reality- innocent people just wanting to get to safety. It forces us to see how ridiculous and heinous the American government’s perspective is, especially if we didn’t see it before. I imagine there are people that could pick up this book, agreeing with the American government about all these people being “criminals”, and by the time they finish this book, it’s -possible- that their perspective may be changed. That’s what’s so great about the comic medium- its use of imagery forces us to see things we may not have seen or wanted to see, before. Additionally, if you, much like me, already agree how f*cking stupid the American government was/is with these “policies”, then this does what it’s intended to do for us- make us hurt, angry, and want to fight back, make us what to help those who need it.
Wieszczyk’s art delivers one of the most emotional experiences possible, focusing greatly on the faces of each person in this issue. The facial expressions on each immigrants’ face are gut-wrenching beyond all admission. In addition, it’s interesting how important facial expressions are not only for the immigrants we empathize with but for the bast*rds we despise too. It’s important we see how cruel the people in the highest power are, how unremorseful they are, and it’s also crucial that we see how many of the government workers that aren’t in the highest power actually show remorse, pain, distress, guilt. These are the people who, while they work for the sh*t people, clearly don’t agree with what they are doing. They don’t want to separate families. They don’t want to treat immigrants poorly, but they feel for some reason they have to do what they are doing, whether it’s because they think they don’t have a choice or otherwise. It’s amazing how much detail Wieszczyk puts into making this as real and honest as possible.
Now, if you’re sitting here going “well, this is just political propaganda, I don’t like that in a comic” and you’re somehow still here, then 1) you need this book most, READ IT, 2) this book DOES have some fantastical elements to it too, and the fantastical elements seem to just add to the real-as-heck story they are telling. In all honesty, it’s not easy to add fantastical elements and make them work with realism, but the creators manage to do it! I won’t spoil what the fantastical elements are, but trust me when I say if you want a great, real story but still would appreciate a dash of the fantastical- it’s there.
In the end, I think this book serves 2 -main- purposes: to validate the horrific experience immigrants go through when crossing the border and to get those who don’t understand the experience (especially white people, like me) to give a sh*t (or, give a sh*t again) and (re)realize this is our issue too- especially because we created it! I hear you loud and clear, Julio Anta, Bryan Valenza, Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou and Anna Wieszczyk.
Pick up this book, pick up another 5 copies, then read your copy and give the other 5 to anyone else you know! EVERYONE needs to read this. Immediately. STAT. Throw it at your racist piece of sh*t uncle (Don’t actually throw the comic though, okay?). Ask your mom to read it, your co-worker! Show it to your Latinx friends who have no idea about it but would appreciate the validity this book offers to them. PICK. THIS. UP. This isn’t just “another comic”. This isn’t just “another comic trying to talk politics”. This is a comic being more real than I’ve ever seen. This is what comics were made for: getting us to get off our asses and care.
Your Friendly Neighborhood Bi gives this:
5 out of 5 Finger Guns
(because I'm bi)
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