Review – Punks Not Dead : London Calling #1 (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing (Black Crown imprint)
Writer: David Barnett
Artwork: Martin Simmonds
Flatting: Dee Cunniffe
Lettering: Aditya Bidikar
Release Date: 27th February 2019

You really can’t get a much more solid opening than a big bloke with crucifixes on his hands bashing in the brains of some poor unfortunate priest, can you?

This week marks the return of one of my absolute favourite comics from last year, Punks Not Dead and I couldn’t be happier than to see its return. After the events of volume 1, our newly magically endowed baby punk Fergie is on the run, pursued by the cops in relation to the murder of his bully, chased down by evil magpies and an ancient witchy bitch of a Mod queen from some shady government operation.

With his sarcastic companion, the ghost of dead Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious in tow, he has made his way down south to London to track down his long-lost dad and try to figure out just what the hell is happening to him.  Back home, his crush Natalie is about to begin on a journey of her own. She’s attached to Fergie in some way and she is going to find out how in any way she can. And while all this is happening, a mysterious slick-haired baddie emerges from the shadows with his own murderous agenda in mind for our spotty ginger hero, leaving a trail of bodies in his wake.

Returning to this series feels like meeting up with an old mate for a pint. The writing continues to be both heartfelt and hilarious, showing the cheeky idiot that Sid is as he helps his young protégé with five-fingered discounts and ghostly misdeeds. It’s been great to see their relationship develop over the story from a begrudgingly attached odd couple to a big and little brother type of relationship. Sid, true to his relationship life counterpart, is still a show-off but one who always does right by his mates. The other characters stand out in their own unique ways, ranging from the new form of adolescent malcontent and the bizarrely fabulous mess of Mod queen witch Dorothy Culpepper, all wrapped in the journey of our main boy Fergie and the search for his demonic father figures.

The art couldn’t be a more perfect match to a story like this. The magic and ghostly aesthetic crackles with nostalgic punk feels, bringing to mind the brightly coloured lens flare effects of a Top of the Pops video on a burned-out VHS tape, or a cheap disco when you’ve had too many jars and feel like you can dance.

The beat of the story matches the intensity of the old school pub punk songs that inspired it, lifting you up and making you smile one moment before stopping you in your tracks when you realise the true meaning of the lyrics being a screamed at you through the microphone.  It makes you think about real issues in the contemporary world, while still looking back to the punk point of view for clarity on finding family, friends and meaning in a world that’s bonkers enough even without ghosts and demon magpies!

A welcome return to what promises to be another insane rock n roll ride.

Rating: 4.5/5.


The writer of this piece was: Indiana “Indy” Marlow
Indy Tweets from @smokingpunkindy

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