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Comic: Alien Pig Farm

08.23.2007

Despite maybe having the best title ever, ALIEN PIG FARM 3000 has some very cool parents: Overseeing the concept was actor Thomas Jane (THE PUNISHER, DEEP BLUE SEA) and graphic-novel god Steve Niles (30 DAYS OF NIGHT), while screenwriter Todd Farmer (JASON X, THE MESSENGERS) handled the writing, and illustrator Don Marquez (CARTUNE LAND) gave colorful life to the twisted story - think MARS ATTACKS! meets THE DUKES OF HAZZARD.

PLOT: We begin with an interplanetary chase between two spacecrafts - one small and fleet, the other large and tank-like (guess who’s chasing the other) - that culminates in both crafts arriving on a dinosaur-inhabited Earth. When the smaller of the two crafts is shot down, they assume correctly that they are doomed - so they self-destruct themselves PREDATOR-style. The escape of their enemies is seriously mucked up as and the evil spaceship plummets to the ground and is buried there. (Also mucked up is the existence of the dinosaurs, so that mystery’s finally been solved.) Surely, it will be a while until we see them again.

Cut to hundreds of millions of years later - we’re in Horton County, Kentucky: “Pig Farming capitol of the world.” We meet half-brothers Johnny Ray and Elvis at a most inconvenient time for them - they’re on the run from the law. Quickly their roles are established - Johnny Ray is the charming, masculine rogue while Elvis is the dim-bulb ne’er do well: “Lenny” to Johnny’s “George.” After they’ve (narrowly and cleverly) escaped their pursuers, they go about destroying their source of trouble: a vat of hellacious moonshine only available in such parts of the country (or so I’m told).

With Elvis in charge of the disposal (about 10 crates of TNT ought to do it) things go to hell quickly - the explosion results in the discovery of a certain submerged spacecraft. Before you can say “this idiot thinks a cryogenic chamber is a beer-packed refrigerator,” Elvis has released a bevy of hostile, hairy, six-eyed alien beasts - and Horton County is promptly f*cked. (Especially when we discover there are even deadlier aliens to come).

REVIEW: Done with tongue firmly in cheek, ALIEN PIG FARM 3000 (Issues 1-4) is a hoot for fans of brash, goofy, violent sci-fi comics. The story wastes absolutely no time getting started, (all we really need to know about the characters is gleaned within their first 2 pages anyway) and it doesn’t stop for a breath until its bizarre conclusion. In fact, the narrative has a real-time quality, as almost the entire tale unfolds over the course of a single day.

The characters are quirky in the extreme - Johnny - remember, our hero - is sleeping with his busty step-sister (this IS Kentucky, after all); his father ("Papa Dad" - love that) is a shotgun-toting loon who stole weapons during WWII (of course, they’ll come in handy later); the big lug of a sheriff turns out to be a perv AND a coward - hell, even the villainous aliens are revealed to have some WAY out there inclinations in their own right (a proclivity for pigflesh being just one of them).

Don Marquez’s artwork is exceptional: bright, consistently busy, and rife with sight gags - you’ll have to look closely to catch them all. His most um, flavorful creation might be Cindy, the smart-mouthed gal who is the object of her brother’s AND the alien overlord’s affection. Cindy is the epitome of the top-heavy babe who’s clothes look as if they’re held on by invisible tape - when they're not being ripped off at any given moment (not that I get kicks out of such things). Yes, the book frequently gets perverse, but there's an underlying - dare I say - sweetness to the preceedings. Liquor-swilling rednecks never seemed so lovable.

Ultimately it’s the characters and lighthearted tone of the piece that makes it a worthwhile read. Farmer correctly focuses on the dysfunctional family almost the entire time - and gives them many amusing bits of quibbling and bickering. The most entertaining passage is probably when an array of revelations are blurted out among the principles ("Your mama's never done a day's charity work her whole life! She shoots noodie pictures!").

Even when someone is being disintegrated or split in two, this is a jaunty romp that proudly exhibits the maturity of a teenage boy and the exuberance of a cackling hillbilly driving 100 miles an hour down a dirt road while firing a gun out the window and slugging back a quart of whiskey. Yes, it's that much fun.

RATING: 4 out of 4

VISIT THE OFFICIAL ALIEN PIG FARM 3000 SITE HERE

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