Someone reminded me the other day of the first time I was called that in high school. I knew it was a precursor to an ass kicking if I didn't get the hell out of that hallway where it was said to me. But I was also kind of proud. Especially with the "punk" part. A few days later, someone even told me I looked a little like Joey Ramone. From my hair at the time, I'm pretty sure they meant Johnny, but as a fan, I tried my best not to be offended.
Recently BOOM! studios released a comic pretty simply titled "CBGB - OMFUG" under their BOOM! Town imprint. Pictured to the left, you can see the excellent cover by Jaime Hernandez, of "Love and Rockets" fame, and it lists the book as 1 of 4 issues due out in the next several months. Now, in a move that I'm sure will be shocking to most people, I don't follow sollicits or Previews as closely as a lot of my other comic-loving friends, which is probably a pretty serious sin for someone like me, with hopes to actually write comics someday. I guess we'll add it to the pile. I'm also not that up on BOOM!, other than knowing that Mark Waid [who wrote probably the best Captain America book ever, post-Heroes Reborn, beating Secret Invasion to the Skrull punch by literally years] will become their Editor-In-Chief next month, and that they apparently have a large selection of Muppet Comics which I should be reading.
But this. This is something different, and obviously so from their "Suggested for Mature Readers" tag over the bar code. And I have to say, it is just wonderful.
There are two stories inside issue #1, the first is "A NYC Punk Carol," written by Kieron Gillen, with Mike Ellerby on art. It's a pretty straightforward story, sort of a reliving of the history of punk via CBGBs, lighter on story, but with a lot of good information, and, what I found really impressive coming from Gillen [who, I will just say right up front, I know nothing else about], was the willingness to admit with punk rock, there are two histories -- what happened, what really happened, and why both the real and the outlandish are important to the history of a place. Which, is just brilliant. And Ellerby's art is exactly what a punk comic should be, with even the half-tone coloring making it scream "old school, upper-tier zine."
Second half is a story called "The Helsinki Syndrome," written by Sam Humphries, with art by Rob G [and let's not neglect its letterer -- James Dashiell]. Just as beautiful, little more mainstream looking, but still exactly what you want for the subject matter. I can't say much about it without giving more away, but it's absolutely wonderful, and the bartender character has a pair of the best lines ever.
This is the kind of comic book I've always wanted to read, it's one of the kinds that I hope to write one day. It is definitely a rarity in the industry, and if not for places like Newsarama or Bleeding Cool, I don't even know if I'd have heard about this coming out, and even Cheryl, of Cheryl's Comics in Kanawha City, wasn't entirely sure if it was actually going to be available -- it surprised her, when it popped up on her order form after I asked about it.
And that's the amazing thing to me. I mean, I certainly know my tastes don't run with the mainstream, but I just can't believe a book like this doesn't have a place in comics. This is the kind of comic that if it came out every single month, I would buy it every single month, no matter who was attached on the creative, hell, I'd even say no matter what the price is. If, somehow, BOOM! found a way to make this book come out weekly, or even every single day, I'd say I'd probably buy it up like it was comic book crack cocaine, until I was standing on 53rd and 3rd like Dee Dee Ramone just to pay for my habit.
Hyperbole aside, I just feel like this book, or a book like this, is such a cool idea, and even if you eventually exhausted the CBGBs subject matter, there's still the Roxy, the Astoria, Mabuhay Gardens... and there are so many knowledgeable writers and artists on the subject out there, that I can't believe you couldn't get someone like Mitch Clem as a semi-regular on the book, or Jenny Woolworth to cover the riot grrl movement. I mean, I don't know that you couldn't get someone like Donna Dresch or Marky Ramone involved in some way, or maybe even have something like a showcase for new and old bands, in genres other than just punk. I know, for instance, that Horror Rock outfit Calabrese has been working with our Modern Mythology guys on a Calabrese comic book.
All right, so maybe I'm volunteering some people for things they wouldn't necessarily be up for. But a guy can dream, right? And if there's a good writer out there who had an experience at a Leftover Crack concert who could be paired with an artist and tell a really cool story? Well, I'd pay for that. And I'm a broke-ass hippie punk faggot.
So, I guess in closing, what I'm asking, oh you few who read here, is that if Punk Rock interests you, if New York interests you, if you're into reading about the history of music, if you like comics that aren't necessarily about the things comics are about -- go to your local comic shop, and ask for a copy of this book. Right now, BOOM! proper is sold out, so lets get some demand for a reprint, or if you can't get issue #1, realize, this is an anthology book, so pickup #2 [if there is a #2... it says there's going to be a #2 on the cover], you've missed good stories, but there's no reason to miss the rest. Maybe if Waid sees the numbers up on this particular oddity, he'll put some of BOOM!'s mojo behind the book, and we can have a whole host of comics that, if nothing else, I will absolutely love.
You're all always trying to cheer me up, right?
CBGB's is edited by Ian Brill, and has a cover price $3.99. Absolutely wonderful read. Can't recommend it enough.
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