Review: Punks Not Dead #1

Darryll Robson Darryll Robson
Expert Contributor
February 20th, 2018

Lifetime reader of comics and fan of Planet of the Apes. When the two combine I can barely contain myself. Image, Boom and Titan comics fight for shelf space with Doctor Who DVDs.

Review: Punks Not Dead #1
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0
Price:
Rock 'n' Roll

Reviewed by:
Rating:
3
On February 20, 2018
Last modified:February 20, 2018

Summary:

Capturing the essence of Punk Rock, this comic is an excellent opening to a series with exceptional art and an intriguing script. Comedy and horror are mixed with hilarious results.

Price:
Rock 'n' Roll

Reviewed by:
Rating:

3
On February 20, 2018
Last modified:February 20, 2018

Summary:

Capturing the essence of Punk Rock, this comic is an excellent opening to a series with exceptional art and an intriguing script. Comedy and horror are mixed with hilarious results.

MORE NEWS FROM THE WEB

IDW’s new title, Punks Not Dead, mixes the 70’s Punk rock ethos with a modern supernatural story. Our contributor, Darryll Robson, takes a look at the first issue to see how well the two aspects merge together.

The Punk is dead, Long live the Punk.

What would you do if you were a foul mouthed, anti-social anarchist and dead, at that?  Haunt an airport waiting for that one soul with whom to make an otherworldly connection? If so then you will identify with Punks Not Dead, the new comic from IDW’s Black Crown imprint. Written by David Barnett and illustrated by Martin Simmonds, it introduces 70’s anarchy to the modern world with all the craziness you would expect.

Synopsis

Feargal Ferguson has an interesting life. Many fake versions of this life are paraded on chat shows and in reality magazines but it’s all lies orchestrated by his over bearing mother.

Meanwhile in his real life his rebellious nature is being provoked by the spirit of Sid Vicious, a spirit only he can see, and that’s only the start of the craziness that’s about to change his destiny.

Story continues below

Watch out world because Punk is not Dead!

Credit: IDW Publishing

Analysis

This comic starts with a school yard brawl between the massive school bully and the hero of the piece. The first page is an amazing establishing page which introduces Feargal Ferguson in a very simple but massively affective way. A close up of Feargal’s eyes in the first panel instantly makes a connection between the character and the reader. From the very beginning it’s up close and personal so that as the reader is taken back, away from Feargal, and shown the bully, we are already routing for the underdog.

This initial connection is important because, it’s fair to say, that a lot of what happens afterwards is difficult to believe. David Barnett deliberately makes Feargal’s memory of his father unbelievable and then leads the story into the fake chat show appearances. By the middle of the story it’s difficult to know what is true. In turn this makes it easier to accept the ridiculous course of events that follow. After seeing the ghost of Sid Vicious egging on a school yard brawl, everything else becomes business as usual.

Credit: IDW Publishing

There are two things that stand out about the art work throughout Punk is Dead. The first is the static quality of the central characters and the second are the background colours. Both of these things are related and used to produce a similar affect.

The central cast, Feargal and his mother, are for the most part down to earth, unremarkable people, despite the web of lies surrounding them. Simmonds depicts them in this way, making them stand like rocks within the panels or supports, holding up the scenery. He then contrasts this with the action surrounding them, notably the crowd scenes. In the opening school yard and the Talk Show audience, the crowds are animated, rowdy, everything the figures in the centre of it all are not. This reflects the punk era, especially the reporting of it in the media; The bland reporter jostled by screeching punk rock fans. This image is reproduced in several moments showing how far Feargal is from the Punk life style that is about to infect his life.

The colouring is used for the same affect. Pastel blues and oranges coat the walls of the backgrounds while the outlandish elements are contrasted with sweeping reds, such as the audience at the talk show, or the black of Sid Vicious. There is a moment in a public toilet that is a prime example of this and the amazing quality of the contrasting colour schemes produces some stunning artwork. It is in this moment where the title Punks Not Dead really strikes home.

The only complaint you can make about this comic is that there is a familiarity to elements of the story that are difficult to place. Somewhere in the back of my mind I have the sense I have seen it before, kind of like Deja vu. Elements of it remind me of the movie True Romance, with Sid cast in the Elvis roll, and there is a touch of Purple Days, the Jimi Hendrix based comic by Charles Shaar Murray and Floyd Hughes. But that isn’t enough to spoil the story, in fact the way it is written makes you start to believe that this was the intention, as if the narration wants you to think that you have lived this before. A kind of historical cycle which involves the reoccurrence of Punk to shake the foundations and rattle the old bones.

Story continues below

The essence of Punk runs through this comic; it challenges the establishment and mocks the government; it makes heroes out of the underclass; and it has a destructive quality tinged with the hope of freedom. The narrative and the art both embody the ethos of the 70’s movement and the anarchy surrounding it. Every fan of Punk music and beautifully crafted comics should have this on their pull list.

Darryll Robson is a Contributor to ComiConverse. Occasionally he remembers his Twitter account: @DarryllRobson, but he does remember to write more about comics on his website comiccutdown.com

Punks Not Dead #1

  • 3

Rock 'n' Roll

Capturing the essence of Punk Rock, this comic is an excellent opening to a series with exceptional art and an intriguing script. Comedy and horror are mixed with hilarious results.

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