The Humans is a Image Comics limited series, written by Keenan Marshall Keller, and illustrated by Tom Neely.
It takes place In a World... where apes and monkeys are a the dominant species, and humans are treated as pets, beasts of burden or something similar. Outside that fact, it's exactly like our Earth in The '70s.
The titular humans aren't actual humans (those are usually Living Props), but rather a biker gang who chose that moniker to present themselves as wild and violent. The series follows the bikers' conflicts with the law, rival gangs and a few Corrupt Corporate Executives who like to walk on the wrong track sometimes. It also centers on gang members' personal lives, particularly leader Tommy and his brother Johnny, a Shell-Shocked Veteran who just returned from a tour of duty in Vietnam.
It's basically an homage to Planet of the Apes and 1970s biker culture, but it can get pretty freaky and violent sometimes.
This series provides examples of:
- Affably Evil: Most of the Humans are pretty nice apes when they aren't killing others and they genuinely care for each other as a family.
- All Asians Wear Conical Straw Hats: Almost all of the Viet Cong wear them.
- All Bikers Are Hells Angels: The Humans and many rival gangs have appeared, all of them are wanton criminals.
- A Party, Also Known as an Orgy: A fairly regular occurrence.
- Cartoon Bomb: The Madfückers patch is a globe shaped like one of these.
- Cigar Chomper: Abe Simian is rarely seen without a cigar.
- Corrupt Corporate Executive: Abe Simian uses his trucking company to smuggle all sort of illegal goods, making him a rare blue collar example.
- Dirty Old Man: Doc almost always wears a T-shirt with an oral sex joke on it.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: A biker story starring talking monkeys. Many reviewers have stated the ape gimmick is what drew them to the comic in the first place, only to find that the story ws pretty interesting too.
- Fantastic Drug: The development of a hybrid of meth and LSD is a major plot point.
- Flashback: Johnny suffers from war flashbacks, which often happen at mundane times.
- Flipping the Bird: The Humans patch is a severed human hand doing this.
- Formerly Sapient Species: Humans (or "skins", due to their hairlessness) are animals used as manual labor, lab rats, pets, and so on by the sapient apes.
- From Camouflage to Criminal: Johnny has just returned from Vietnam, somewhat subverted as he was a gang member before joining and even wore his colors in Vietnam. The club is implied to have been founded by WW2 veterans.
- Gang of Hats: While the Humans, Skabbs, and Madfückers are all generic outlaw bikers, many of the other gangs have gimmicks:
- Flex Trucking is a mob like organization with the cover of a legitimate shipping business.
- The Thrill Killers are stereotypical hippies.
- The Haterz are an all gorilla gang, they are politically active and wear Black Panther Party style outfits.
- Los Muertos M.C. are bikers with cholo / greaser fashion, many of them wear sugar skull makeup.
- Finally there are Satan's Minions, Mad Max looking Satanists with Viking undertones.
- Genre Throwback: To the Planet of the Apes films, underground comix and exploitation films (particularly the biker film subgenre), all of which peaked in the 70's.
- Gladiator Games: Humans are used in death fights at Abe Simian's compound.
- Heävy Mëtal Ümlaut: The Madfückers MC.
- Hollywood California: Very much averted as the series takes place mostly in the Bakersfield area, though the Madfückers are based in LA.
- Gonzo Journalism: Its mentioned briefly that the Madfückers have a "weirdo journalist" traveling with them, almost certainly a reference to Hunter S. Thompson's time with Hells Angels.
- Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Most of the named characters don't wear helmets, not surprising since they weren't mandatory in the 70's.
- Human Pet: Humans are used for a wide range of tasks.
- Humans Are Warriors: Skins are used in barehanded death matches.
- Killer Gorilla: Many of the characters are gorillas and The Haterz are all gorillas.
- Playing with Syringes: The Skabbs have two crossed syringes as their patch.
- Pulp Magazine: The overall art style mimics an underground 70's magazine, down to having bonus pages presented as a Humans newsletter.
- Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll: The Humans spend their free time doing drugs, having sex, and attending rock concerts. The writers even got several indie rock bands to record original songs in order to create a soundtrack for the comic.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Johnny is this in spades.
- Smoking Is Cool: Most of the characters smoke, granted it was very normal in the 70's.
- Starts with Their Funeral: The funeral and burial of one of the Humans occurs early on.
- The "Fun" in "Funeral": Instead of a hearse the casket is moved on the deceased's motorcycle, giving him one last ride.
- Wearing a Flag on Your Head: The Skabbs have Confederate flag patches on their sleeves.