Redneck #1 (Image Comics)
The best kinds of comics are the ones that sneak up on you; giving you a premise that you are sure has been done before, only to then realize that amazingly, no, no one has thought of this idea until now. Redneck is one of these comics. Focusing on a family of vampires in Texas, the Donny Cates and Lisandro Estherren Image series is a thrilling jolt of creativity that is engrossing from the first page.
The Bowmans live in Sulphur Springs, Texas. In fact, they’ve lived in the area for so long, they remember before it was even a town. JV, Bartlett, and Grandpa head up the clan, and they’ve lived a pretty quiet life in the Lone Star state. They live in a simple house, drinking a special cow blood and paint thinner concoction to keep their hunger at bay, and generally stay out of the business of the townspeople. But when some of the younger vampires decide to go into town to let off some steam, it sets off a dangerous chain of events for Bartlett and his family that could have disastrous results for their small clan.
God Country writer Donny Cates has been on a creative hot streak lately, and Redneck is no exception. Through Bartlett, Cates is able to express the world weariness of a creature that has lived for thousands of years in a new way. It could’ve been very easy for Cates to fall into the usual clichés when writing immortal beings, but amazingly he’s able to present the same ideas we’ve always heard in a new and fresh way. His characterizations of the other members of the Bowman vampire clan is great, and does a fantastic job of giving us enough information about the Bowmans without falling into the over-exposition trap that a lot of first issues fall into.
I’ve never seen Lisandro Estherren’s art before now, but it’s a perfect fit for this type of book. A lot of the pages here remind me of Moonshine, the werewolves meets gangsters book from Image. There’s no shortage of mood and darkness in these pages, and Estherren does a great job of presenting each member of the Bowman clan with their own distinct visual look. There isn’t a single member that looks the same.
Redneck is an awesome debut issue, and looks to be the start of another great Image series. If you’re a fan of Donny Cates’ God Country, American Vampire, or wished that True Blood was more about vampires than…everything else it was about, then you should totally pick this book up. This is definitely the start of something very, very cool, and is sure to be a comic book that will be highly sought after in years to come.