Laitinx comic book writer Eric M. Esquivel, who is due to appear at San Diego Comic-Con 2018 next week, recently became the victim of racist harassment and death threats, due to the subject matter of his upcoming series Border Town - the first new series to kick off DC Comics' revival of their mature readers imprint, Vertigo Comics. Esquivel has chosen to respond to hate with love, however, and is now using the publicity inspired by the threats on his life to promote other Latino comic creators.
Set in the fictional town of Devil's Fork, Arizona, Border Town tells the story of how a boundary between realities breaks down, allowing fey creatures from Mexican folklore to enter our world. The usual supernatural shenanigans - including gruesome livestock mutilations and shared nightmares - ensue and the local authorities are quick to blame "God-dang illegals," as racial tensions in the town (already in a miserable state) are further exacerbated. Much as in Stranger Things and IT, it will fall to a group of young misfits to save their city from the real menace and heal the bad blood between their elders.
Esquivel revealed on Twitter that he received death threats regarding Border Town by people who are apparently threatened by the idea of a comic book stating racism exists and that a group of young people can effect positive change. In keeping with that spirit, Esquivel has turned his social media into an outlet for promoting other small-press Latino comic creators. A post on Esquivel's Twitter account regarding the effort can be viewed below, as can his original tweet on the matter.
I woke up to death threats ("We're not sending I.C.E. to Comic Con, we're sending exterminators").— Ξric M. Ξsquivel (@ericMesquivel) July 11, 2018
Received my copies of BORDER TOWN #1 about an hour later.
No matter what, there is nothing anyone can do to me that will unmake this comic. If I die, I'll die with a smile. pic.twitter.com/AbZ4FgPWVO
Since media parasites are reporting about my tweets: YOUNG LATINX COMIC CREATORS, send me images of your work & a link to where people can buy it.— Ξric M. Ξsquivel (@ericMesquivel) July 12, 2018
I'll RT, and share some of this media attention.
You deserve the press more than these hatemongering weirdos.
There is some irony that many of Esquivel's detractors have attacked him as a "social-justice warrior" out to destroy American comics, apparently ignorant of the long history that social justice and American comics share. Many of the founding fathers of the medium - including Superman co-creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster and Captain America co-creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby - were the children of immigrants, who used their stories to make a statement about various social ills and the dangers posed by Nazis before the United States officially entered World War II. Even before the invention of the comic book, 19th century artists such as Thomas Nast used political cartoons to attack corrupt politicians and comment on social issues.
It is a credit to Esquivel's generous spirit that he is seeking to bring something positive about through this experience. Many would have responded in kind to hateful attacks or threats on their life or sought to turn the situation wholly to their advantage in a bid to sell some more books. Instead, Esquivel is flipping the script and using his platform and the recent turmoil to help others. Even so, it seems a safe bet that his panels at San Diego Comic-Con will be packed with readers out to show that the vocal minority are just that: a minority.
Border Town #1 releases on September 5, 2018 by DC Comics.
Source: Eric M. Esquivel