Written by: Laura Hong-Tuason, CC2K Comics Editor
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.
Story & Letters: Wes Locher
Art: Tyler Kelting
Yes, there is actually a comic about hipsters and rednecks! When writer Wes Locher reached out to me to potentially review the comic, I chuckled. Having previously reviewed Locher’s comedy sci-fi miniseries, Unit 44, which I enjoyed, I thought I’d see what shenanigans Locher was up to this time.
The one-shot follows Sloane Marin, an outsider who finds refuge within the walls of New Brooklyn after the events of an apocalypse. When she discovers the city is populated by hipsters, she rather take her chances outside with the cannibalistic rednecks. However, hipster Pete convinces her to stay. That’s when Sloane warns Pete about the upcoming redneck assault, ushering in the battle to come.
So, is Hipsters vs. Rednecks good? For a comedy, it’s just okay. It has an amusing and fruitful concept with potential, but overall, is uninspiring. The story relies heavily on simple stereotypes and one-liners to push the story forward, therefore lacking substance. While I like a wacky, outlier of a story to brighten up my day, especially against a pile of morose and gritty comics, Hipsters vs. Rednecks did not do the trick.
To compare, Hipsters vs. Rednecks lacks the spark that Unit 44 has. I only bring up the comparison because Locher writes both and the comics share a similar style of humor. The difference in success is mainly attributed to the fact that Unit 44 is a miniseries, having more space to explore its characters and world.
Readers are never made to understand the world of Hipsters vs. Rednecks. The apocalypse that precedes the main event is ambiguous. We don’t necessarily have to know how the world went to hell, but we do need to understand the state in which both the hipsters and rednecks are in and why they’re at war. What happened to everyone else in the world? Why, for all intents and purposes of this comic, is Sloane the only “normal” person? And why did she leave her previous communities behind? I get that this is supposed to be a funny story, but it could be that and more. If we can understand how the world ended up splitting into two of the most random factions, we can better salute Sloane’s determination to conform to neither side because well, they’re ridiculous.
On a similar note, readers are meant to experience the events though Sloane’s eyes. She represents the majority, control group, and voice of reason in an absurd world. Yet she comes off rather mean and condescending with her constant on-the-nose dialogue and cheap remarks against the hipsters. Sure, she’s better than them, but she doesn’t need to be portrayed as snooty to bring the jokes home. Dialogues of confusion and disbelief at how passively idiotic the hipsters and how crazily aggressive the rednecks are, would have sufficed.
The comedic success of Hipsters vs. Rednecks, therefore, rests on character development. Readers don’t connect with Sloane, and they definitely don’t connect with Pete, who didn’t have any rationale behind why he did things. Surprisingly, the presence of rednecks was also kept at a minimum. There were no clear transitions of events, just fluffy jokes. But again, most of the flaws are due to the restraint of the comic being a one-shot. If it was a miniseries, it may have fared better. This is Locher’s first experience with a one-shot, so to that end, the attempt is commendable.
In terms of the jokes, the one-liners would have landed better if there were a build up. And this is possibly my own fault, but I am either too old or too young to understand some of the references, making the jokes a bit niche. However, good laughs were still had. What I really appreciated from Hipsters vs. Rednecks is Locher’s ability to poke fun at everything throughout the book. By that, I mean the subtle jokes he makes in the disclaimer and the fake quotes he has at the end of the book. They’re unexpected and funny.
The art by Tyler Kelting is enjoyable enough, yet it reminds me more of what I would see in a Sunday funny than your average comic. It’s not a bad thing. It’s just different. However, the details do get lazy when it comes to panel backgrounds, where Kelting relies on solid colors to get by. Regardless, I still appreciated the raw illustrations and I love the colors, which look like a blend of watercolors and marker of sorts. It’s an interesting technique. Though what really makes the art and writing work well together and more fun is the music playlist Locher provides. The beats really get the comic rolling and it accentuates how the panels move effortlessly from one panel to the next. It truly brings the art alive and moves the story along.
Hipsters vs. Rednecks wasn’t what I expected and it falls short of being as entertaining as Locher’s Unit 44. However, the potential is there and it can still be amazing if the creators decide to do an ongoing that goes a different direction. This isn’t my type of comic, but maybe it’s yours.
Hipsters vs. Rednecks is out today from Primary Target Press. It is available in print ($3.99) and digital ($1.99) exclusively at www.hipstersvsrednecks.com.
Author: Laura Hong-Tuason, CC2K Comics Editor
Laura is a writer from the San Francisco Bay Area, but currently resides in Southern California. She drinks too much milk tea, talks too much about Green Lantern, and would marry Barry Allen if he were real.