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Book Review < Back

Hopeless Savages

Credits: Written by Jen Van Meter and Illustrated by Chynna Clugston-Major and Christine Norrie
Publisher: Oni Press


I'm usually late to every party worth going to, but in case of this particular author, I can say I saw the adulation coming well in advance. So there.

Couple years back, tying in with the quirky, culty Blair Witch film phenomenon, Oni Press published a four-issue mini-series expanding the scope of the story's most interesting facet; the faux mythology that provided the bulk of the dread in the film (shaky camera-work notwithstanding). Jen Van Meter was the author of the series, which was far, far better than one had any right to expect. When my husband saw me reading the collected edition, enraptured, I explained, "Some Dutch guy just re-invented horror comics."

Okay, so I got the gender wrong. But the name Jen Van Meter became one to remember, and when her upcoming mini, HOPELESS SAVAGES, was announced, it became an eagerly anticipated title in my household. Thankfully, the book, a great little family story in a romanticized punk background, was worth the wait.

Hopeless Savages is the story of the union of Dirk Hopeless and Nikki Savage, former punk stars turned adoring, capable parents, and their four take-no-shit-from-anyone kids. When the elders are kidnapped, the kids prove their resourcefulness to get them back in style. It's amusing and surprisingly touching, and all of it works.

Artistically, the book is a winner. Art chores are split (in a device that actually improves the storytelling and should be used more often) between Christine Norrie's elegant and insightful body language in the main story, and Chynna (Blue Monday) Clugston-Major's frenetic and charismatic character work in the flashbacks. Both of these artists are talented writers themselves, and it shows in the subtlety of expression the characters exhibit.

These are coolkids comics... dance party comics. This is a book you can give a friend who watches the Osbournes, listens to the Jam on vinyl, and plays bass on the weekends. But more than that, it's wildly entertaining, like discovering a great unknown band you can't wait to share with your friends. Highly recommended.

-- Gail Simone


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