Photo by: toastycakes

What is a “Hipster?”

You could ask 10 different people and probably get 11 different

Merriam-Webster defines a “Hipster” as:

A person who is unusually aware of and interested in
new and unconventional patterns (as in jazz or fashion).

Wikipedia defines a “Hipster” as:

Hipster is a slang term that first appeared in the1940s, and was revived in the 1990s and 2000s often to describe types of young, recently-settled urban middle class adults and older teenagers with interests in non-mainstream fashion and culture, particularly
alternative music, indie rock, independent film, magazines such as Vice and Clash, and websites like Pitchfork Media. In some contexts, hipsters are also referred to as “scenesters”.
“Hipster” has been used in sometimes contradictory ways, making it difficult to precisely define “hipster culture” because it is a “mutating, trans-Atlantic melting pot of styles,  tastes and behavior[s].” One commentator argues that “hipsterism fetishizes the authentic” elements of all of the “fringe movements of the postwar era—beat, hippie, punk, even grunge,” and draws on the “cultural stores of every unmelted ethnicity” and “gay style”, and “regurgitates it with a winking inauthenticity.”

Urban Dictionary defines a “Hipster” as:

One who possesses tastes, social attitudes, and opinions deemed cool by the cool. (Note: it is no longer recommended that one use the term “cool”; a Hipster would instead say “deck.”) The Hipster walks among the masses in daily life but is not a part of them and shuns or reduces to kitsch anything held dear by the mainstream. A Hipster ideally possesses no more than 2% body fat.

Atomic Comics Speed Pass Nuclear Subscriber Nick M. defines “Hipsters” as:

Douches! But not the New Jersey Kind.

So there you go.

Now you know what a Hipster is. But why do you care to know that? Well, Hipsters are becoming a HUGE comic buying part of today’s culture. I see this each and every day in the store. Some floppy-haired kid comes in with a Belle and Sebastian t-shirt and picks up Walking Dead, Invincible, Thunderbolts and the latest Scott Pilgrim. Then walks out the door to go listen to some band I will never hear about. But they are spending money and they are helping to change and grow the comic book world.

No book is more evident of this than the aforementioned Scott Pilgrim. First released in 2004 by Bryan Lee O’Malley, Scott Pilgrim was an amazing, smart, witty and completely under-rated book. It was in a format that at the time, hard core comic readers, for the most part ignored – digest sized. To them it was a manga, not a comic. Unfortunately, to the anime kids it wasn’t a manga because it was written by a Canadian, not someone from Japan or Korea. This was surprising since Bryan is Asian, but anime kids can be fickle.

For several years the book just flew under the radar. Sales were good enough to keep in print but it wasn’t a giant hit…yet! Five years later the “Hipster” culture is going strong, and more and more people are hearing about this great little unknown book called Scott Pilgrim. It’s even printed in a cool digest size! But it’s not really a manga. Then the movie is announced and HOLY SHIT this book blew up.

But you wanna know what the coolest thing about all this is? Bryan Lee O’Malley deserves this. He created something amazing, which deserves to be honored as part of comic book history. And he has, in part, the Hipsters to thank for that. Now, I in no way want to take anything away from Bryan with that last comment. It was his vision and creativity that brought Scott Pilgrim to life in a way that people could relate to. But you need to realize that you no longer need to be a Hipster to enjoy Scott Pilgrim. It is mainstream now. So now if you don’t pick it up because it looks too much like a manga, you’re just an idiot for passing up a great comic that you should be reading. Not all comics have to be about underwear perverts! Please remember that.

-Thomas Healy