Imagine a world, not populated by zombies and survivors battling the horrors of the post-apocalypse, but rednecks running wild and hipsters holed up in an enclave. Imagine no more as this one-shot from Wes Locher (Unit 44) and Tyler Kelting (My Friend Death) presents this unlikely yet entertaining scenario in full colour comic-book glory.
Following the apocalypse, two factions remain: the hipsters, who live in New Brooklyn, the last known city, and the rednecks, who will do anything to get inside. When an outsider finds herself caught in the middle of an ongoing war, she must take a stand if she hopes to make it out of New Brooklyn alive.
The story is a simple one. With cannibal rednecks running wild, a small band of hipster-types are surviving, just, in New Brooklyn. Our heroine escapes attack and joins the pale, Arcade Fire loving trendies as a caravan of rednecks looking for food draws closer. But this comic book isn’t about story, this is a social commentary with gags and violence. The characters, of course, are drawn – both literally and metaphorically – with broad strokes, to underline the humour. Pete is the main protagonist: beard, check; green jacket, check; tie and scarf combo, check. You get the picture. Sloan, the outsider, is more sympathetic. Despite being forced to wear a poncho in order to fit it. She represents us of course; scowling at the pathetic-ness of the hipster philosophy. When a meeting is called to discuss the impending invasion, for example, no-one turns up because everyone is supposed to be turning up.
The rednecks don’t get off lightly either. While not the main focus of the book, they get to hurl empty beer cans, yell “yeeeeeehaw!” and be distracted by mud; just as you’d expect. They are called Bubba Ray or Jim Bob and enjoy a “Larry the Cable Guy TV Special”.
Locher hits all of the obvious targets: Morrissey, Arcade Fire and other musicians; coffee-shop lifestyle and the ludicrous mochas they offer; the inability to commit to anything; trying to be cool by knowing about things first and then pretending not to care. While there might seem to be plenty of clichés in this comic – and there are – you don’t mind because it has wit and verve and you read the dialogue with a wry smile – unless you happen to be an actual hipster or redneck.
The art is fine, with a charming roughness. It really brings you into the world Locher has created. Some of the characters look very similar, especially the hipsters, but I assume that’s the point. Panelling is fairly straight-forward and backgrounds are simple. But this isn’t a book to admire a story, it’s not really a book to admire the artwork either. This is a gag-fest, underlined by Locher’s narration: “One MGMT song later”, “Three Vampire Weekend Jams Later”, and suchlike.
So, fun then. Short and to the point. Obvious but effective. Hitting all the right notes both visually and with Locher’s words. Worth a moment of your time if you fancy an insubstantial read with a knowing smile.
Title: Hipsters vs Rednecks
Publisher: Primary Target Press
Reviewer: Ian J Simpson