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Comic Book / Welcome to Hoxford

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Welcome to Hoxford is a 4-issue miniseries by Ben Templesmith that follows Ray Delgado - an utter psychopath who's considered a major threat even when on his anti-psychotic medications, as he's transferred to the titular Hoxford penitentiary, a private prison owned by the Russian-based Usmanov Corporation along with other irredeemable prisoners.

His psychiatrist, Dr. Jessica Ainley, tries to make sure that her former patient isn't being abused and is given the medications he desperately needs but is constantly rebuffed and treated as a nuisance by Gordon Baker, Hoxford's warden. Her persistence bears fruit after a day or two, when the Warden allows her to meet with Ray, but this confirms her suspicions that Ray is off his meds, as he is now proclaiming himself to be a god. When she goes back to his office to complain about the prison not following protocol, the Warden, rather than kicking her out, locks her in his office with plans to "save her 'til last".

And then things go to hell.

Due to the brief nature of the story, basic plot spoilers will be unmarked.

This inspired a 15-minute fan-film that, while largely faithful to the source material, centers solely around the first two issues, ending after Ray kills the werewolf entering his cell.

This series contains the following tropes

  • Abusive Parents: A lot of the inmates suffered from this.
    • Bill's mother told him that Jesus said he had to have sex with her, and when he heard otherwise from Jesus, he cut off her head.
    • Ray's father and uncle sexually abused him.
  • Affably Evil: Ray is usually very soft-spoken and calm even while dwelling in the depths of insanity.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: The final issue gives us a doozy regarding Ray's mental state.
    Pack Alpha: Are you insane? Oh, right.
  • Attempted Rape: Dr. Ainley has to contend with this twice. Such are the hazards of being trapped in a building filled with the worst psychopaths imaginable.
  • Badass Boast: Ray gets a handful of these throughout the comics.
    Ray: I've learned that when Death stares right at you, and smiles its big ol' toothy grin- the best thing to do is smile right back at the fucker.
  • Bald of Evil: Baker is pure evil and has a very shiny head. Ray is just as hairless, and a homicidal nutjob as well.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: The best explanation as to why Ray doesn't do to Dr. Ainley what he's done to everyone else that's gotten close to him over his life.
    Ray: You're special, doc. I like you. I'll speak to the other Gods and we'll make sure you get favors. Favors from the Gods. You'll like that.
  • Bedlam House/Hellhole Prison: Hoxford's a prison for the criminally insane.
  • Black Comedy: What few jokes there are in this are very dark, such as Ray calling Morton a "diaper sniper".
  • Compressed Adaptation: The fan film completely excises Dr. Ainley and her role in the story, as it covers pretty much exclusively the events of the first issue and so her character wasn't needed to drive the plot forward.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Ray, while under the delusion that he's Cronos, believes that he's meant to do battle with the beasts - naturally, he's right.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Ray, by virtue of his being absolutely insane.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Gravy's reaction to one of Ray's A God Am I moments.
      Gravy: You don't say? I know I eat people, but fucking hell.
    • Ray may be a murderous lunatic, but he absolutely despises Morton for his pedophilia.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: Dr. Ainley and Ray, though it's given only ambiguous hinting as she mourns how much progress he'd lost by not being on his medication.
  • Freudian Excuse: Ray suffers from both of these, as he'd killed his mother by pushing her over (accidentally, according to him), and then suffered sexual abuse at the hands of his father and uncle.
  • A God Am I: Ray believes himself to be Cronos, Lord of the Titans; though his first fight against a werewolf causes him to start thinking he's one of them, instead.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Ray alludes to this trope in the final issue.
    Ray: I must either fight the beasts - or become one. If I'm not already.
  • Hearing Voices: One of Ray's many, many psychological ailments.
  • I Am a Humanitarian: "Gravy", one of the fellow inmates, is in jail for this crime. He's later given a Karmic Death when Ray, now convinced he's a werewolf, accepts Baker's invitation to chow down on the still-living Gravy, a fact that Warden Baker notes is deliciously ironic.
  • I Love the Dead: Skunty, who is in prison for killing people so that he could enact this trope on them - this eventually costs him his life, as he does this with a werewolf's corpse while the others are still on the hunt.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: In spades, as the protagonist is the criminally-insane Ray Delgado, but the antagonists are a pack of werewolves using the prison as a People Farm.
  • Man Bites Wolf: Ray rips a werewolf's tongue out of its mouth using this method, and it tends to be his preferred method of murder when he doesn't have a weapon handy.
  • Morality Pet: Dr. Ainley serves as one to Ray, and at the finale he dismisses her from the prison after becoming the Alpha werewolf, rather than simply killing her.
  • More Teeth than the Osmond Family: The werewolves sport this type of design, as shown above.
  • Oedipus Complex: One of the inmates, "Burly Bill", was a serial rapist/murderer because the women he killed reminded him of his mother.
  • Offing the Offspring: the Alpha rips out his son's heart and crushes it in revenge for Baker's betrayal.
  • Only Sane Woman: Dr. Ainley in the most literal sense, as everyone else at Hoxford is either criminally-insane or a werewolf.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: While fitting with most depictions of werewolves in medieval myth, these versions have More Teeth than the Osmond Family and are vulnerable to more conventional methods of death than silver bullets.
  • Pedophile Priest: Morton used to be a Catholic priest, and is in jail for life for engaging in this and murdering his victims to cover it up.
  • People Farms: The werewolves have an agreement with the US government - they get a supply of people to hunt, while the US is able to get rid of the most irredeemable prisoners they've got.
  • Power Born of Madness: Ray Delgado achieves what he does because he's just that disconnected from reality. Who else would come up with the idea of biting off a werewolf's tongue as it's snarling at you? He even finishes the series by challenging the Alpha to a Duel to the Death and wins, effectively becoming the packleader without actually being a werewolf.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Ray when a werewolf first enters his cell at the end of issue two.
    Ray: The monsters come. And I will do battle.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Georgie is described as "a child in a 7-foot ape's body", and starts crying when he thinks another inmate is going to eat him.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Ray sports a pair that he never removes, even when in the showers. His eyes are visible once, as he spares Dr. Ainley from being devoured.
  • Shellshocked Veteran: How Ray even got past mental screenings to get into the military is left unanswered, but his experiences in combat did not help his mental state.
  • Spoiler Cover: See the page image, as the fact that the prison's staff are all werewolves is kept a secret until the second issue. However, it also acts as some subtle foreshadowing due to Ray becoming convinced he's a werewolf, too.
  • The Starscream: Baker had overthrown his father, the original alpha, and keeps him locked in a cell while leading the werewolves.
  • There Are No Therapists: Strictly averted, as Dr. Ainley is hellbent on making sure that even those that society's written off as lost causes are still treated like people.
  • Through the Eyes of Madness: Most of the scenes where Ray is either on his own or the central character has the reader see aspects of what he does through his demented psyche.
  • Title Drop: Warden Gordon Baker says "Welcome to Hoxford" in the first issue.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Again, Ray. After all, one of the scenes at Hoxford has him talking to his mother via a rat in his cell... before eating it because he doesn't like anyone else in his cell.
  • Villain Protagonist: Ray Delgado is a serial killer, but he's A Lighter Shade of Black compared to the werewolves.
  • Villainous Rescue: Dr. Ainley runs into a group of prisoners fleeing from the werewolves, who quickly forget about that in favor of something else. Luckily, the werewolf they were running from wasn't too far behind.
  • You Will Be Spared: The old man that Dr. Ainley frees makes the "I'll kill you last" promise.
    • Ray makes a similar promise to Morton, and follows through on it in the last pages.