Swine by Tyrone Finch and Alain Mauricet
Humanoids (October 2021)
144 pages; $19.99 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage
Tyrone Finch hails from Cleveland, Ohio. What? That’s not enough? Okay, his favorite color is blue, he’s not fond of green olives and he doesn’t understand maraschino cherries. He loves Earth, Wind and Fire and he will make you love them too. Tyrone likes to write all kinds of stuff. TV stuff. Movie stuff. Short story stuff. Shopping list stuff. For more info on the stuff Tyrone likes to write, just catch him on the street and ask him. His newest graphic novel is Swine, a revenge horror narrative based on a Biblical story that’s funny, clever, and really fun to read.
In Mark, Chapter 5, of the Bible, Jesus casts the demons from a madman into a herd of swine. The swine go mad and throw themselves off a cliff, presumably drowning. However, in Swine, written by Tyrone Finch and illustrated by Alain Mauricet, that’s not the end of the story. The swine live and wreak havoc on the world.
Two thousand years later, Ellis Rafferty has spent seven years in prison after being wrongly convicted for the murder of his wife, Becky. Now released, he seeks to avenge her death. Joining forces with Becky’s sister, Zoey, they hit the road to take on the swine demons. Ellis and Zoey travel the country to put a stop to the pigs’ murderous rampage, leaving carnage in their wake.
The premise of Swine is nothing new to horror. The idea of casting out demons and putting them into another body is a horror staple and is the driving plot behind such horror classics as The Exorcist, which even mentions the same tale. However, Finch takes the story and makes the pigs themselves the antagonist in a clever interpretation of the tale. The demon swine have been responsible for many of history’s great disasters — The Titanic, The Hindenburg, Chernobyl — and are now running rampant through the United States. Add to that plot a healthy dose of humor (the herd of piglet assassins in chapter three was particularly amusing) as well as some great scenes of blood and slaughter thanks to illustrator Mauricet, and readers have a really successful graphic novel on their hands.
Some might find the plot too far-fetched or silly; to be sure, Finch is working as much within the horror comedy genre as he is the religious horror and body horror genres. However, with a bit of suspension of disbelief, readers will be able to delve deep into this world where demon swine have plagued mankind for centuries and are finally meeting their match. There are enough twists and turns in the plot to keep people guessing, and while there are some graphic scenes of blood and guts, it’s pretty understated, so squeamish readers will not be too put off. Overall, Swine is a really fun and successful horror graphic novel with a unique and clever premise, and horror readers will enjoy this tale.