A Cool Britannia Of A Comic – Punks Not Dead: London Calling #1

by Oliver MacNamee

David Barnett and Martin Simmonds have put the band back together, after a brief winter hibernation, to bring you the second season to their critical hit, Punks Not Dead, this week with the publication of follow-up series, Punks Not Dead London Calling #1.

Carrying on immediately from where the last series finished, we follow Fergie Ferguson as he “does one” to London in search of his father with sidekick Sid Vicious. But, unbeknownst to them, new preternatural dangers are rearing their ugly heads, no doubt causing Fergie and his travelling companion further problems down the track.

But, for now, Fergie seems to have his own troubles to deal with when he drops into an old haunt of his father’s in Soho, all suited and booted thanks to some pilfering by Sid. Oh, and Dorothy Culpepper and her sidekick, Asif Baig, are sniffing Fergie out, too. Like a dog with a bone. Just a very gnarly, well-weathered dog. Seems young Fergie’s being surrounded on all sides and he just doesn’t know it yet.

Barnett’s script jumps from scene to scene, building up the drama, drank irony and tension effectively as a result of this pacing. Simmonds’ dynamic and electric artwork helps Barnett’s script sing even more, with a contemporary art style well suited for this Cool Britannia of a comic book. His colouring gives the whole book a neon-lit vibe to proceedings, while Simmonds’s mastery of experimental page layouts explodes with energy. It’s a very eclectic and vibrant comic book that offers thrills, spills and moments of wonderful humour to elevate the horror and win over the reader. And all this from a relatively new writer (well, to comic books anyway. Barnett has a healthy career outside of comic as a journalist and novelist) and an artist growing and developing issue by issue too.

Like many punk bands, Barnett and Simmonds may have started this series playing only three cords, but as the series has progressed, so too have their combined talents. A great, fun, dark humoured book that mixes the rebellious cultures of music and youth with a story of horror and the supernatural. And all to a kicking soundtrack.

Punks Not Dead London Calling #1 arrived this Wednesday, the 27th of February from Black Crown.

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