So, I just finished reading Spider-Gwen. *puts book down slowly, and looks up seriously*
Is it just me, or is there now some convention for making comic book characters/superheroes hipsters? This isn’t a review of the book (although, I did like it), more of a general observation of this recurring trend that…unsettles me.
Or, maybe, I’m not actually bothered by it at all–I’m just noticing it.
I’m also noticing that I’m very here for the slightly hipster-y artwork. As a writer, I am usually paying more attention the narrative than the art in a graphic novel, but the few books that are extremely aesthetically pleasing to me are the ones that emit a serious hipster vibe. Spider-Gwen is the most recent offender I’ve noticed, as a lot of her personal story as Gwen Stacy revolves around her involvement in the very scene, very 1990s grunge band the Mary Janes. Her haircut is choppy, her clothes reek of thrift store finds and her general air of nonchalance are staples for one of the incarnations of the modern day vintage obsessed hipster. Gwen probably only owns vinyls.
The new Archie reboot is not as bad, only certain characters drank the water. Instead of being a sweet, lovable, goofy sort-of-geek that he was in the classic comics, with his astonishingly vast collection of argyle sweater vests and bow ties, he’s now a sweet, lovable, goofy sort-of-hipster. Archie instead the classic white shirt, the flannel, the cute fitted jean jacket with grey hoodie attached (see left.)
The way he slouches around Riverdale with his guitar attached to his back, you could slap a coffee in his hand from good old Starbucks and have him say, “I’m not a hipster; I’m an artist.” and call it a day. (Also note the hair. Do not forget the hair.
Even Jughead, the grade A goof, gets to be an alternative hipster, too– an Urban Outfitter wearing hipster with brooding dark eyes and floppy hair. I know you know somebody who looks like this.
My current favorite graphic novel run is the Cameron Stewart/Babs Tarr Batgirl. To be honest, I’m not usually a huge fan of Batgirl because I like my comics like I like my life: light-hearted, cut-and-dry heroes and villains, and a superhero that will save the day without compromising any of his morals. Snicker all you want, but because life isn’t like that, I like to escape into my own fantasy somehow. Anyway, because of that, I like Superman and the Flash better than Batman. (I mean, marginally. I still love Batman.) But I was scrolling through tumblr when I saw the cover of the revamped Batgirl.
It. was. beautiful.
It was fun, it was modern, it was chic–it’s a hipster’s dream. Barbara Gordon and her friend, Frankie, are a living in the college district of Gotham in this write up. Burnside, to be honest, sounds like what I’ve heard about Brooklyn, but considering I’ve never been to New York. Unlike most versions of Batgirl, in this reboot, Barbara spends a lot of time kicking around in her apartment, with her friends and at the university, so we see more of her in her every day clothes than usual. Babs and Frankie both are style icons–if they had Instagram accounts, they’d both have thousands of followers for style and beauty tips. Babs is good for frequenting coffee shops for fancy caffeinated beverages for her and her friends, while looking effortlessly put together in her cute flannels, shorts, and Chuck Taylors. Frankie has the most stylish hair cuts and styles I’ve ever seen: her shaved sides and carefully arranged dreads scream “art student.”
It’s basically one of the most aesthetically pleasing comic books I’ve ever read.
Personal preferences for these styles and types of characters aside, I still want to know why this is even a thing. Why is everyone suddenly a hipster?
I think I’m slightly troubled by this because in the last year or so, I think I unwittingly turned into a hipster. My friend and I were making fun of hipsters and we found this ridiculous article on different types of hipsters, then stopped laughing when we realized we both fit a few of the categories.
I guess it’s just part of the point I’ve been making about comics for the last six months: comics are a time capsule. If you really want to get a look at every day culture from any time period, take a look at the texts said culture is producing. They’re nothing but a reflection of the time and, currently, we exist in a time of hipster, alternative Millennials. It’s probably why I enjoy these comics the most; they look like my every day life. It’s familiar, recognizable. I see myself and my friends in these types of comics more so than any other style.
When you think about it, it’s actually pretty cool.
I guess being a hipster is the new mainstream.
Just know that we were into this movement before it was popular.