Series – The Humans
Writer – Keenan Marshall Keller
Art – Tom Neely
Publisher – Image Comics
Summary from Comixology – “Apart, they are nothing…deemed by society as outcasts, misfits, losers, no good punks! But together, they are THE HUMANS! THE HUMANS is a high-octane, no-holds-barred, ape-biker-gang chopper ride into ’70s exploitation genre bliss. Follow Bobby, Johnny, and all The HUMANS as they fight and fly down the road to oblivion on a ride filled with chains, sex, leather, denim, hair, blood, bananas, and chrome.”
I had seen a few promos for The Humans before I picked it up at my comics shop, but I really didn’t know much about it. That’s how I like to read new comic though. I like not knowing what I’m getting into. I can say with absolute certainty I was totally surprised by this first issue. In fact, comic book or not, I feel like this is a whole new genre of storytelling. One that deserves it’s own name. I’m going to attempt to coin a new phrase here… APExploitation. I’ve done some minor research (*cough* Google *cough*) and I didn’t see that this term already exists, so if anyone is already aware of it being a term please let me know. Otherwise, give me credit and worship my genius.
Humans is weird. Not in a bad way. I guess it’s really only weird BECAUSE they characters are apes. It’s like Planet of the Apes meets Angels From Hell (1960’s Biker film). I really enjoy exploitation films so for me this was a big plus, and I can see how some of the more… salacious… moments are more palatable considering you’re not seeing people, or “humans”, depicted in them. I very much appreciate the fearlessness of Humans. Keenan Marshall Keller is crafting a really great vintage biker story and this first issue sets it up well. I promise when you finish it there will be no question as to what you can expect from future issues. That’s not to say that there’s no mystery whatsoever. To the contrary actually. The end definitely leaves you with some questions that will make you want to pick up the next issue.
The artwork here is so classic, and partners very well with the story and concept. It has a very retro cartoon feel, which makes sense considering that artist Tom Neely actually did some work in the past on Popeye comics for IDW Publishing. He does still have some great modern tricks up his sleeve that add a lot as well. Make sure to check out the back cover pin-up as well, by Ben Marra, which I felt like has a Robert Crumb-style influence to it.
There was nothing that I found to be a”low point” in Humans #1, but I will say that this is not the kind of book you want to pick up if you’re just looking for something new to read. There’s some pretty graphic stuff here that some people may be put off by. Not me. I freaking loved every panel of it. I’m just throwing this out there for those of you who are like, “Monkey’s riding motorcycles? I can dig that.” The bikes aren’t the only hogs getting worked on in this book…
The Final Say –
Humans #1 is great. It’s got so many crazy moments and if you dig exploitation films and comics then you will definitely like this. I’m giving it 4 out of 5 stars. I must also highly recommend that you check out the back commentary pages in this book. They’ve thrown in some crazy stuff like a mail-away Humans patch order form and even a Soundcloud link where you can download free Humans soundtrack songs. I actually jammed “Reap What You Sow” by Leather Lung while reading this first issue, but I’ll definitely be checking out these soundtrack tunes in the future.
If your life has severely been lacking in the drugged-drunk-and-sexually-deviant-biker-apes department, then allow me to introduce you to your knew favorite thing…