Thursday, February 19, 2009

Punk Rock and Trailer Parks

The gentleman behind this fun coming-of-age story, telling the tale of a bouncer at a punk club in Akron in 1979-80, calls himself Derf, and he's an excellent artist. Like Peter Bagge, he's chosen to work in a visually repellent style, with remarkably ugly drawings of really ugly people, but once I got used to his quirks, I was completely blown away by how densely he packs his pages with detail, and how well he uses the format to tell his story.

The book's focus is a big, gawky band kid who calls himself the Baron, and he spends his senior year of high school working the door of The Bank, a legendary club that played host to Klaus Nomi, the Ramones, the Plasmatics and several of the era's underground stars. But really, it could be any kid in any American town at any time, struggling to get by, dealing with hormones and awkwardness and hoping there's something better out there somewhere, especially when all the idiots around you in high school listened to much worse music than you.

Slave Labor Graphics loses a point or two from me in their selection of the lousy, thin paper of the book, but the $16 price point is very reasonable for an original novel of this length. It's not a book for kids, but it gets a recommendation from me for anybody else, especially so if you're in your thirties and will enjoy all the musical references.

No comments: