Forget your streaming, torrenting and illegal downloading. Back in my day, a horror film was only worth watching if it had been (i) banned and (ii) reproduced to death via VHS standard software creating a fuzzy, illicit sensation that only added to the visceral horror of watching it with your mates. Usually by bunking off school and ending up at whoever’s friend’s house didn’t have any snooping parents around.
Well, while reading Poser #1 by writer Matt Miner and artist Clay McCormack, isn’t fuzzy, with its initial setting in the hardcore days of the early eighties, it reminded me of such fare. And, indeed, coming from Waxwork Records – and their very first creator owned series, edited by our own Hannah Means-Shannon (so, call that your disclaimer, can we?) – I’d expect nothing less, having previously been won over by their House of Waxwork #1 with a John Carpenter inspired accompanying 7″ EP and awesome 80’s style fake movie posters by the master of the VHS inlay, Marc Schoenbach. If they have a ‘house style’ this is it: 80’s slasher with a soundtrack to match. And, while I have yet to hear the accompanying 7″, I can imagine it’s an appropriate soundtrack to this comic with music from trash metal’s Joel Grind (Toxic Holocaust).
Nowadays an urban legend of the LA South Bay alternative music scene, this series wastes no time retelling the story of Poser; Otto, an outsider, a sad loner looking for friends and oft-times being the victim of bullying and abuse. So, why would trying to befriend a few punkers getting drunk and high before a Circle Jerks gig be any different? Or, is his loner routine just a front? Either way, fast forward to the here and now, when The Circle Jerks were just another band your punk rock pappy used to listen to, and a new alternative music scene and a new set of potential victims for the Poser.
Only, teen protagonist Ash’s dad ain’t no square, man, but the proprietor of one killin’ indie record shop that specialises in vinyl old and new. Hell, if nothing else, it’s a cheeky way of jimmying in a GWAR reference (sidetone: it’s our shared love of GWAR that saw me reach out to Miner many months ago now when he was co-wiring the ‘GWARsome’ GWAR comic). After all, they say write about what you know and Miner has done just that and in doing so creating a vibrant, informed and relevant backdrop and cast of characters ready for the taking. And, you don’t need to wait long either. It’s a horror comic, so expect horror. Bold and guts. Especially the guts.
McCormack’s scratchy but polished art adds to the punk feel of the book and brings alive the youthful exuberance of this alt-music scene, especially when Ash and friends are in the gig, with Doug Garbank’s colours providing the appropriate amount of splash and splatters to the horror, sliding in more red as the book builds to narrative’s bloody crescendo.
A great, judiciously jarring and gory first issue and set to music too!
Poser #1 is available now from waxworkrecords.com.