by Ernest Hogan
Enough of this political turmoil! Let's take a break an celebrate La Cultura, the real Latinoid stuff that's going to win over the world even with pendejos in the Casa Blanca are trying to shut us down! Like a book that is wildly entertaining, and will open up new worlds and bring us all together!
I'm talking about Lowriders to the Center of the Earth, a graphic novel (though being old school, I prefer the term “comic book”) written by Cathy Camper, and illustrated by Raúl the Third.
It's a sequel to Lowriders in Space, that I also thought was great. I'm happy to say this is one of those instances where the sequel is better than the original. They were just getting warmed up.
In a fantastic cartoon barrio – beyond magic realism! – Lupe Impala, El Chavo Flapjack, and Elirio Malaria shut down their garage because their gato, Genie, has disappeared. This takes them on an incredible, eye-frying (Raúl's art brings it all to phantasmagorical life) road trip to Mictlan – the Aztec underworld. Yup, this is more PreColumbian mythology than Jules Verne and Hollow Earth Theory. We also meet Coyote, La Llorna, the Corn Goddess Xilonen, and of course the Death God Michtlantechtuli! There's even a Hunter S. Thompson reference that was probably inspired by the ghost of Oscar Zeta Acosta. And it all goes raging lucha libre.
Santo, Blue Demon, and Mil Máscaras would be proud.
This is a dazzling celebration of La Cultura, for Latinoids of all pedigrees and recombinations, genders and ages, and also a fun introduction for those of you from other cultures.
If the authorities insist on an educational justification, there are footnotes, and a glossary explaining the Spanish, Spanglish, and Náhuatl. And even some basic geology for the more scientific-minded.
Look! Could those be the seeds of the new, improved Cultura of the future germinating? Do I hear walls being torn down, and bridges being built?
Will there be more books in this series?
I can still dream – can't I?
As for the pendejos? Just let them try to ban this!
Ernest Hogan's story in Latin@ Rising: An Anthology of Latin@ Science Fiction & Fantasy has been called “a comic gem” by the Texas Observer.