So last month, when I bought and read the first issue of Punks: The Comic, I bought it stone cold sober, went out for my own-going away party in Cincinnati and then read the issue in a bubbly drunk afterwards. I am so glad that in the harsh light of sobriety, this comic is still every bit as fun and wonked-out as it could possibly be. Punks is the kind of book that doesn’t really need much of an issue-to-issue synopsis, because you’re going to get a lot more of the same. Dog pees on things and is the saddest, Fist says quippy things with his signs, Abe fancies himself ruler of the known universe, and Skull has firebreath and an inferiority complex. If it’s your thing, it’s pretty damn fun to tune in every month and check out—it’s probably a large part of why it was so successful as a webcomic. If it’s not your thing, well, enjoy being an old fart. Anyway, you’ll find out by the end of the first, maybe the second page if it’s not your thing and you can leave this delightful mess for the rest of us to wallow in.
As a guy who didn’t know of/read the webcomic, I dove into this book based on a fondness for the time in my life when I thought I was punk, and the fact that the cast of characters was ridiculous. I have yet to be disappointed. Fialkov is a very capable writer, who is usually working the other end of the spectrum on his series The Bunker, but that’s not to say that he lets Punks slide. There’s structure here, it’s just the farcical nature of the beast where these characters have very normal goals (get this peeing dog out of our house), they just go about it in very crazy ways (let’s drown in the piss and then nut-punch each other).
The real star of this show, for me, is Kody Chamberlain’s art. In a comic where so much zany nonsense happens, anything that he’s actually drawn gets subsumed into the collage, slapdash cut-and-paste aesthetic of it all, and then covered in sepia tone. It makes the whole thing feel like it’s some sort of relic from the past of an alternate timeline where all these things actually happened, and for as disorienting as it can be, generally it sells the deadpan weirdness of the comedy.
It’s generally assumed that being punk is a young man’s game. You have to be mad at authority, you have to have this set of ideals that you basically stole from Joe Strummer, and you have to have, at one point, picked up a guitar with the intent of learning how to play it and then only learned how to play “Blitzkrieg Bop” before you quit. Not so, friends. Fialkov and Chamberlain are making the most punk comic out there at one of the biggest, not-quite-mainstream-but-basically-mainstream publishers in the world, and they’re doing it at a stage in their lives where most people would feel cheated out of the promises of punk. Remember, dear readers, being punk isn’t about being angry (although it certainly can help):
Being punk is about not giving a shit.
Writer: Joshua Fale Fialkov Artist: Kody Chamberlain Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 11/5/14 Format: Print/Digital