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Redneck: Deep in the Heart (Image Comics, 2017; #1-6)

Redneck 1.jpg

The feud between the Bowmans and Landrys has gone on for years.  One stolen horse led to an endless cycle of vengeance and death.  Now, a Christmas Eve run-in between their youngest, hot-headed generation and Father Landry turns into war between the Bowmans and his disciples.

Oh, and the Bowmans are vampires.

Their vampirism is important to Redneck, but Donny Cates never relies on it to move his story forward.  That’s important: it lets him ground a fantastical story in mundane relationships and human grudges.  The only differences between the Bowmans and the Landrys is how much sun they get and the amount of iron in their diets.  They’re all trying to get by, and each is as capable as the next of making dumb decisions out of spite.  Cates builds his story around that capacity, letting tempers, mistakes, and misunderstandings drive his actions—not a monstrous thirst for blood, just a monstrous humanity.

Plus, he actually makes characters written in regional accents sound like real people and not charicatures, which very few people do well.

Lisandro Estherren’s linework is sketchy and exaggerated, giving the book’s environments and characters—Bowmans and Landrys alike—a roughness, a potential for monstressnous.  At the same time, the stylized figure work allows for strong expressions and, in rare cases, actual monsters that look completely at home in Redneck’s world.  Dee Cunniffe sets the book’s tone with cool tones, sticking close to blues, reds, and the occasional unnatural amber-tinged coral of encroaching sunlight.  Together, their work is moody and atmospheric, hiding monsters of all kinds and threatening doom for those who are dragged into the fiery light.

Redneck is a lot of fun to read and a successful blending of horror with human foibles.  I came to it with high expectations from Cates’s other works and word of mouth, and it exceeded those expectations.  It’s absolutely worth a read.

Collected in

  • Redneck, Vol. 1: Deep in the Heart (#1-6)

Credits

Writer: Donny Cates | Artist: Lisandro Estherren | Colorist: Dee Cunniffe | Letterer: Joe Sabino | Assistant Editor: Arielle Basich | Editor: Jon Moisan

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