Sunday, April 8, 2018

Punks Not Dead #1 & 2 (BLACK CROWN)

(W) David Barnett (A) Martin Simmonds (CA) Annie Wu

Gotta love a title that throws in a nice Spinal Tap Reference. The title of the first story arc in this new series is Turn It Up To Eleven. BLACK CROWN editor Shelly Bond has been making all the right choices. PUNKS NOT DEAD is a unique new series on the imprint where David Barnett mixes reality with the supernatural. The story centers on  bullied youth "Fergie" who realizes he can see things other people cannot. He finds a new friend in the ghost of punk rock legend Sid Vicious. If that wasn't enough supernatural musings for you, we're also introduced to an eccentric lady who is head of the Department for Extra-Usual Affairs. That's a fictitious British department for taking care of haunting and dealing with things such as the occult. I actually wish it was real because I would be doing everything in my power to work there.

I have not previously seen any work from artist Martin Simmonds so this is my first time experiencing his talent. His work feels very fresh and modern. That's actually nearly the opposite of what typically catches my eye however I found myself becoming enamored with it as the pages carried me on. I will say that Sid looks exactly like the Sandman and he even has lovely black speech bubbles with white lettering. Familiar? Of course it feels familiar The Sandman can't claim ownership of this type of speech bubble. We've seen lots of supernatural characters being expressed this way. I suppose it's not of any real consequence. I can say that without the amazing coloring of Annie Wu, I likely wouldn't be nearly as enamored. I really hope Simmonds and Wu continue to work together for some time.

I'm curious as to why Sid Vicious was chosen as the ghostly companion. Of course a terrible role model and an awkward, trouble teen are a fun combo to witness. After only two issues however, Sid has actually made a somewhat positive impact. Although I can assume that the future of this story has some kerfuffle about to be unleashed involving Sid and the Department of Extra-Unusual Affairs, I wonder how it will all go down. It's a somewhat unusual story in general and none of the characters are particularly endearing or good in any way. Our main character Fergie is simply depressed and submissive to everyone around him which is the opposite of Vicious' care free, "fuck-it" attitude. I expect that their relationship will blossom with Fergie lashing out at the urging of Sid, but perhaps that all just too predictable. Regardless I will be reading on perhaps not so much for the story but for the art which has captured my attention so covertly. When you start out looking at page one thinking "this isn't really for me" and then manage to make it through two issues only to realize you've fallen in love with a new artist... that's a very silent take-over. That deserves everybody's attention.

PUNKS NOT DEAD hits a comic book shelf near you APRIL 18th.

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