Donny Cates Puts His East Texas Spin On Vampire Lore – Redneck Vol. 1

by Brendan M. Allen

The Bowmans are VAMPIRES who have quietly run the local barbecue joint in their small town for years, living off cows’ blood. Their peaceful coexistence ends as generations of hate, fear, and bad blood bubble to the surface—making it impossible to separate man from monster! Critically acclaimed writer Donny Cates (God Country, Babyteeth, Buzzkill) and artist Lisandro Estherren serve up the tale of a DIFFERENT kind of family just trying to get by, deep in the heart of Texas.  

In an age when literary and cinematic vampires are all sparkly and full of teen angst, Redneck Vol. 1: Deep in the Heart takes the classic set of vampire mythos and applies them to a gritty isolationist family in East Texas. The Bowman clan owns and runs the local BBQ joint in a small town called Sulphur Springs. Secretly a clutch of vampires, the family survives on cow’s blood and keeps to themselves as much as possible.

Everything would be aces, except there’s one other family in Sulfur Springs, Father Landry and his brood, that recognize the Bowmans’ true nature. Landrys and Bowmans have literally been at each other’s throats for generations. Things have been pretty quiet for a spell, but the dam is about to break. A night out for a couple drunk kids is just about all it takes to start an all out war.

Redneck is a deeply personal story for writer Donny Cates:

It started out with me looking at the word REDNECK and wondering if anyone had ever done a vampire book with that name…because come on, right? It started as simply as that. But then when I started digging into the story I wanted to tell it kind of…came alive. I found myself writing about my own family, my own history. And then the history of Texas and the idea of bad blood and the sins of the past.

Lisandro Estherren’s art is ridiculous. It perfectly captures the East Texas grit and visceral emotion of Cates’ script. Estherren has a unique ability to layer beauty over gruesome imagery that’s perfect for Redneck. Color by Dee Cunniffe heightens the tension with a dark, brooding palette. Cool blues and reds dominate the night, with harsh, angry yellows and oranges taking over in the light. Shadows also play a huge role in the daytime, because, you know, vampires.

Redneck is a brilliant and refreshing take on the vampire genre. It has all the hallmarks of a legendary vampire story, but it’s also pure East Texas, with deep pit BBQ and horses, guns, beer, and deep generational feuds.

Redneck, Vol. 1: Deep in the Heart releases on the 25th of October 2017 and collects chapters 1-6 of Image Comics’ Redneck series. Written by Donny Cates, art by Lisandro Estherren, color by Dee Cunniffe. Order from your local shop using Diamond ID: AUG170579.

Brendan M. Allen

Brendan Allen has probably had more jobs than you would reasonably believe. Dog trainer? He’s done it. Flooring contractor? You bet! EMT? Army NBC specialist? Road dog for a Celtic rock band? Yes, yes, and och aye! Now he reads comics and writes about them. It’s a rough gig. You can follow Brendan on Twitter @SaintAmish where he mostly tweets about comic books and cystic fibrosis awareness.