Punks Not Dead: London Calling #1
A wild walk on the wild side with supernatural spectacles and musical nods, Punks Not Dead: London’s Calling #1 deserves a spot on your hit parade.
So, you’re a young kid in London and you have an old guy helping you look for your father. Boring, right? How about you’re a young kid with psychic powers looking for your missing father, who might be a lord of hell, and you’ve bonded with the ghost of a dead punk rocker named Sid. Yeah, that Sid. Sound better? Find out more in PUNKS NOT DEAD: LONDON CALLING #1 from IDW Publishing’s Black Crown imprint.
Writer: Dave Barnett
Artist & Cover A: Martin Simmonds
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Release Date: February 27th, 2019
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in PUNKS NOT DEAD: Feargal Ferguson was a normal fifteen-year-old kid, well, as normal as fifteen years old can be, until he started seeing Sid. You see, Sid was a ghost, no… the ghost. Like of Sid Vicious. And it seems that he and Fergie were bonded somehow. Then things got weird, Fergie got these psychic-like powers, a kid at his school died, and a woman with possible government contact began hunting him. All this, to normal old Fergie. Normal? Well, there is the possibility his father was a demon of some sort, but you know, who ain’t got issues?
WHEN SID AND FERGIE CAME TO TOWN
Things are happening in England. In the town of Preston, a man walks into a church, accosts and beats a priest to death using a baseball bat adorned with nails. A young girl makes a drastic change to her appearance and leaves an unhappy home to find the young man who not only slept with her but also awakened something in her she does not understand. Leaving his wife and job behind, a man goes on a quest to reunite the band and quell the pain in his head. An agent of the government pursues a young boy and his ghostly companion. These people all have something in common; their recent actions have all be spurred on by Fergie Ferguson and his ghost friend, Sid.
In the days since leaving home in the quest to find his father, Fergie and Sid have arrived in London. Using an old photograph of his parents, as well as searching the internet for the name Martin Drakeman, Fergie has managed to get a lead on where his father could be, or at least on where he could have been. Using his ghostly powers and his sense of larceny, Sid liberates clothing, Armani to be precise, for Fergie to make himself presentable. Swinging his red archtop Gibson SG guitar over his shoulder, he and Sid make their way to Club Inferno to ask about Martin Drakeman and Fergie’s father, who he believes is named Billy. While there Fergie will find out a little more about the nature of his powers as he confronts an old acquaintance/victim of his fathers. In a horrible turn of fate, things go poorly for the guitar.
JUST SOME DUDES WALKING THE HUMAN HIGHWAY TO A LIQUID SKY
Dave Barnett (Femme Magnifique, Black Crown Quarterly) returns to his world of Punks Not Dead, and he wastes no time jumping right into the mix. There are no less than three, possibly as many as six, different character arcs that I can identify happening in this issue, with seed laid for more. This would be enough to make most writers throw their Levitz Paradigm into the garbage and start writing true crime for the tabloids. Barnett handles it like an old salt, slipping from storyline to storyline, giving you enough information to make you interested, and then whisking you away to another without seeming rushed or half done. It’s a skill many old-time writers have issues pulling off, but he does it with surprising ease. Even if you are picking the issue up for the first time you will know what is going on thanks to a handy recap of the previous series before the start of the proper story. I wish more titles did, as it helps you acclimate to the world presented so much easier.
Artist Martin Simmonds (Death Sentence: London, Quicksilver: No Return) returns as well, and turns in a body of art in this first issue which maybe some of the best he’s done. Besides the gleefully silly depiction of Sid, there are some sequences which are mind-blowing. My favorite has to be the double-page spread he gives after Fergie enters Club Inferno and meets one of his father’s old acquaintances. There is a layer of artistic talent and techniques here that are worthy of study. Throughout the book, he has this style of where he takes a fine color line to some characters, as an accent, and it gives a unique and fresh look that is more beautiful than you would think. Damn fine.
BOTTOM LINE: YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SEDATED, THIS IS GOOD STUFF!
Back in 1993, over twenty-six years ago, one of the Big Two publishers took a chance on creating an imprint for more adult titles that had creative freedom not allowed in their monthly union suit books. This title feels like one that would have fit in perfectly, and the vibe I get from the Black Crown imprint is much the same. I think IDW has tapped into some of that latent creative energy pools which others have only been able to emulate. I can only hope Barnett and Simmonds’ Punks Not Dead: London Calling will eventually be seen as one of those groundbreaking books as well.
I don’t care if you like punk, hip-hop or polka, PUNKS NOT DEAD: LONDONS CALLING is a book that will fill a special place in your imagination. Call your comic shop and have them hold you a copy.