cover image Punks: The Comic, Vol. 1

Punks: The Comic, Vol. 1

Joshua Hale Fialkov and Cody Chamberlain. Image, $14.99 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1-63215-227-5

This collection covers the chaotic comedy adventures of Abe, Fist, Skull, and Dog, four roommates whose heads are described by their names: Abe is Abraham Lincoln, Fist is a fist, and so on. The quartet careen through a series of increasingly surreal gags that steer toward potty humor whenever possible. The gimmick is the use of cut-out photography to create the absurd characters and bizarre backdrops, co-opting the aesthetic of 1980s punk Xerox art through the digital ease of a scanner and Photoshop. It's a crass move to grab readers' eyes, and the crudeness is matched by the story, which remixes the 80s British television show The Young Ones into a Kafkaesque comic. The setup and the tone mimic the show, but 30 years removed, this attempt to reassemble old underground culture feels about as authentic and resonant as an outfit from Hot Topic. Filled with fast-paced quips and gags that don't really go anywhere, the book first at first feels like an in-joke, but readers will soon suspect that the creators are just making it all up off the top of their heads. (Apr.)