Savages: Ground Zero
loathe reality television with almost every fiber of my being.
Its only functioning purpose is to exist for big companies
like NBC, FOX, and CBS so they can avoid paying actors' and
writers' salaries, which means shows of quality like Buffy
the Vampire Slayer and Alias
(not to mention my much beloved, and sorely missed Firefly)
rarely get made because they aren't as cost effective to a
the public ends up with the choice of watching some silicone-laden
slattern-ette try bang every guy on Paradise's Temptation
Island Challenge or the news. And as pretty as Wolf Blitzer
is, he doesn't keep my attention as raptly as Joss Whedon
or J.J. Abrams does.
it comes to comics, almost anything can catch my interest
as long as the concept is treated well, and throwing in a
touch of "reality" TV into a comic to move the plot
along is actually pretty inspired, in at least as much as
it applies to Hopeless Savages: Ground Zero.
the second volume of Hopeless Savages, the comic by Jen Van
Meter published through Oni Press. In the first one, Van Meter
introduced the world to the Hopeless-Savage clan (parents,
Dirk Hopeless and Nikki Savage) which consists of Rat Bastard,
Arsenal Fierce, Twitch Strummer, and Skank Zero (it must have
been hard, but Van Meter actually found a way to make the
Zappa naming system seem logical). With their parents being
former rock-and-roll stars, the kids have lived interesting
and very public lives.
Zero, Van Meter places the spotlight on the youngest daughter
of the Hopeless-Savages, Zero, as she tries to stumble her
way through high school, love, and her own rock-and-roll aspirations,
all while under the probing camera lens of a reality TV show
similar to MTV's Diary or The Osbournes.
really managed to surprise me with this book. I came into
it with no prior knowledge of the series (not reading the
first volume will do that) and I simply assumed it was some
punk rock, slice-of-life book about a band and their troubles
that would ultimately end with some battle of the bands competition
or something equally innocuous.
my surprise when Van Meter sells me a believable story about
the love life of a teenage girl stuck in the public eye, with
only the barest hint of a band as a backdrop to the character
development. Zero is an incredibly easy character to like
and her troubles with Ginger Kinkaid (the boy she likes, that
likes her, both of which can't get it together long enough
to have a good talk) are an interesting twist on the usual
"friend who likes friend but doesn't want to ruin it"
plot device, having Ginger remark early on in the story that
he has no plans to be that guy.
more is that Van Meter also takes the time to flesh out the
other characters in the story wonderfully, which makes it
much easier on the reader who just picked up this volume and
has read no other. The Hopeless-Savage clan is a great family
that are realistically, albeit somewhat over-the-top in Osbourne
fashion, portrayed in the way they interact: the mother worries
about her youngest because Zero is just like her, the father
is the peacemaker and more down-to-earth of the two parents,
and the kids have found their own way as they grow up within
the strange confines of their lives (how does the son of rock-and-roll
royalty rebel? Corporate shillery of course).
is quite good and fits the story well. Bryan Lee O'Malley
handles the bulk of the art chores and his style is something
that reminds me of Jhonen Vasquez's Johnny The Homicidal
Maniac or Invader Zim, but less dark and creepy,
and no brains popping out of skulls. It's cartoonish but his
characters are discernible and even individually animate,
each having a style of movement key to the character (hard
to do in a comic book). It fits the tale of teenage love very
artists also lend great creditability to the book: Andi Watson
(Geisha, Breakfast Afternoon, Namor), Christine Norrie
(Cheat), and Chynna Clugston-Major (Blue
Monday) all jump onboard to drawn several flashback
sequences, which helps to demonstrate that they are in fact
flashbacks, not to mention making the comic more visually
dynamic. And Terry Dodson's cover work for the series is sprinkled
sparsely throughout the book, which is great to look at. Who
doesn't like Terry Dodson art? Only those wacky communists,
is a great little story that hits all the high points of a
teen love story, without taking itself too seriously. At $11.95,
you get the main story, a sketch and pin-up section, and an
introduction by Andrew Wheeler of The Ninth Art website (www.ninthart.com).
Which just goes to show you, some people actually read reviews
like these. People just like YOU! MUHAHAHAHAHA!
Note: As always, the opinions expressed by Mr. Sparling are
not necessarily those of Fanboy Planet. We're not sure what
he's laughing about, nor why he seems to be unaware the Cold