Hopeless Savages: B-Sides: The Origin of the Dusted Bunnies

Written by Jen Van Meter
Art by Vera Brosgol, Becky Cloonan, and Mike Norton
32 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

After the unfortunate publishing delays in the last Hopeless Savages mini-series, it’s nice to see the new Hopeless Savages: B-Sides one-shot. Not only is it good because it’s a single-issue story, but it’s a good refresher on why I’ve enjoyed Jen Van Meter’s series about the best punk rock family ever.

As readers of the earlier Hopeless Savages mini-series know, Zero Savage has her own band called the Dusted Bunnies. Now it’s time to flashback to when Zero first met Flora in 1995 so they could found the band… or maybe 1989 when Zero and Emma first became friends… or should that be 1984 and Toby?

Van Meter has fun playing with the structure of the Hopeless Savages: B-Sides one-shot, refusing to take the easy way out by presenting a linear set of flashbacks explaining how Zero met all of her friends. Instead we start with the most recent event, which then leads into the earlier one, and so on. It’s a smart writing style, letting the story actually flow naturally from one event to the next, as pieces of Zero’s life are placed onto the metaphorical board. The introduction of the other members of the Dusted Bunnies also works well as three different vignettes, showing Zero and her family’s interactions with her classmates, with each other, and with the neighbors. It’s a very different set of reactions and interpersonal relationships with each group of people, and Van Meter makes sure to never fall into any familiar sort of pattern between the different stories. As far as flashback stories go, Van Meter’s found a way to keep it fun and interesting.

Having three different artists working on the one-shot could have been disastrous, but the end result is anything but. The big revelation for me was seeing Vera Brosgol’s innocent little versions of the Hopeless Savages cast. They’re absolutely adorable, using a very specific style while still making sure they all maintain their original look. Emma’s wide-eyed glasses-wearing face will all but melt your heart, but Brosgol does more than just draw “cute”. You can really see Emma’s phobias and worries cross her face as she meets Zero, for instance, and Arsenal’s sunglasses-and-school-uniform look has never been so fantastic. The other two artists do a nice job as well, mind you; Mike Norton has a nice smooth line that makes the very-young-Zero and Nikki’s visit to the next door neighbors look very classic and well done, while Becky Cloonan tackling Zero in high school has just the right level of sass and alternative edge to it. Each artist was perfectly matched to their story, and the end result is probably the nicest-looking Hopeless Savages comic to date.

Hopeless Savages: B-Sides: The Origin of the Dusted Bunnies is probably my favorite Hopeless Savages comic to date; it’s got a nice mix of the family’s internal and external interactions, and seeing them collide with both each other and the outside world is the best thing about the series. I’d love to see more Hopeless Savages: B-Sides one-shots down the line; this is a great way to give some backstory on the characters in the series as well as to entertain the readers. Lots of fun, but keep in mind that you’ll want to rush out and buy the collections of the rest of the series once you’ve read this. Forget “B-Side”, this is an “A-Side” track all the way.

1 comment to Hopeless Savages: B-Sides: The Origin of the Dusted Bunnies

  • Miki Moto

    I sooo wish I was born into the Savage – Hopeless clan…when I discovered punk at age 11 it was like being reborn, I can only wonder how coo-well! it’d be to be born into it – listening to the Wasps or the ‘Pistols as a toddler instead of the effing Beat-dull’s Flabby Road!!