"The Humans #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Keenan Marshall Keller
Illustrated by Tom Neely
2014, 32 Pages, $2.99
Comic released on November 5th, 2014
Sit down, kids. Let me tell you the story of the Humans. No, not those humans. I'm talking about the badass ape biker gang. Duh. Here's the thing. I read a lot of comics. There are super heroes and dystopian futures and all kinds of crazy shit. The idea of an exploitation-era biker gang book consisting solely of apes was never something that I thought I'd read or write about, but Keenan Marshall Keller and Tom Neely have made that a reality and the world is a better place for it.
Picture every sleazy film from the 1970s. Now make all the main characters monkeys. Aren't they better now? This debut issue starts out with the gang taking a fallen member around for one last ride. The guy's coffin is strapped to the front of a motorcycle and driven to his grave. I now know what I'm going to put in my last will and testament regarding my request for burial. While the group is celebrating and reminiscing, the rival gang Skabbs show up and a rumble ensues. This is everything you've imagined and then some.
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All of the gang members get some time in the spotlight, but there is not much info about each of them just yet. This is definitely an ensemble cast. There's no main character. The gang is the character and its members are the different aspects of its personality. There's the wild orangutan Clyde (a reference to Every Which Way But Loose), the laid back Doc, the poet Marra, the resigned leader Bobby, and more. Together they're a group you do not want to screw with.
The fun set up of The Humans reminds me a bit of the indie comic Fight Frogs by Jimmy Giegerich. Both are fun and totally insane and feature anthropomorphized animal gangs. I would love to see the two gangs get together to rumble or party or both because I feel like they'd get along or tear each other apart.
Neely's artwork is a perfect fit for The Humans. There is an awesome two page spread that I want as a poster that instantly encapsulates everything there is to love about this comic. It features the Humans logo in the center (a hand giving the middle finger) with the words "For Life Till Deth" (yes, it's spelled that way). Surrounding the image are many shots of the gang members getting involved in all kinds of hijinks; partying, running from the cops, riding a bull, and snorting lines of coke off of a woman's back.
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The rumble with the Skabbs is broken up into a number of odd shaped panels, each with a different shade of color. It's a great effect that works very well with the overall book. It adds a level of frenetic energy to the fight scene, like anything can happen.
Also, it should be noted that Neely makes ape women look sexy. Did I just make this weird? Oh, I definitely just made this weird.
The Humans is a balls-out (literally...there are quite a few ape penises in these pages), drug-fueled, psychedelic ride through exploitation-era cinema. The book has an old school look to it, like it was just discovered in the most awesome time capsule ever. Plus, where else are you going to find the sound effects Butt, Schwing, and my personal favorite "KA-FUCKIN-BOOM"?