cover image The Secret History of Black Punk: Record Zero

The Secret History of Black Punk: Record Zero

Raeghan Buchanan. Silver Sprocket, $14.99 trade paper (64p) ISBN 979-8-88620-035-5

Multidisciplinary artist Buchanan’s trade debut presents an urgent primer on the contributions of Black artists to punk music. Opening on the story of “originator” Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Buchanan traces the Black roots of punk all the way to the genesis of rock’n’roll. Tharpe’s portrait sets the stage for the struggles that crop up throughout this incisive survey, which focuses on the 1970s to the present. “Black people are written out of history easily and frequently,” Buchanan notes, explaining her diligence in “keeping truths alive.” The pages toggle between punchy biographies, splash page portraits, and occasional interviews, true to the mini comics/zine format of the work’s original release. Buchanan writes with the authority of an insider but doesn’t downplay her fan’s excitement over concert footage of Philly proto-punks Pure Hell, Jean Beauvoir’s iconic mohawk, or Negro Terror’s reclamation of a neo-Nazi anthem. Her passion carries over to the poster-ready illustrations, which add vivid digital texture to the gnarled, inky lines of a safety-pinned backpatch and other punk emblems. An exhilarating complement to the work of James Spooner and Osa Atoe, this captures the trials and triumphs of innovators operating in a subculture plagued by the same oppressive structures it rails against. Buchanan’s infectious spirit will have readers ready to jump into the mosh pit. (Feb.)