By R. Stevens
Oni Press, 136 pages, $19.99
If you’ve listened to a vinyl record in the last six months, you’ll probably be able to relate to this collection from the Diesel Sweeties web-comic by R. Stevens. If not, then some of the humor might go over your head. And with a main character like “Indie Rock Pete,” that might be the point. He’s a music elitist, record collector, and hipster performer whose utter disdain for anything popular or mainstream provides pages and pages of comedic fodder. The 8-bit art style, while simple, adds nicely to the indie/retro theme being cultivated and helps make otherwise niche humor a little more accessible. However, things start to fall flat as the same type of joke occurs again and again, and almost no effort is made to either initiate readers who aren’t music snobs or to apologize for a lot of jokes at their own expense. Reading Diesel Sweeties: I’m a Rocker, I Rock Out is very much like having a guy like Indie Rock Pete for a friend. He’s fun if you both like the same stuff and a lot less fun if you disagree. Still, this collection has more than a few bright moments and will certainly please the underground scene it celebrates.
Reviewed by Michael Weingartner