Punks Not Dead: Teenage Kicks – David Barnett & Martin Simmonds (Black Crown / IDW)

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I read the first issue of Punks Not Dead years ago, but my comic list is that big I’ve only just got around to reading the first story arc. One thing is for certain it won’t be another few years till I read the second and final story arc.

The comic series has two main focuses, and each are equally interesting and will collide soon. The first point of view is the nerdy kid- Fergie who somehow has physic like powers and is stuck with the ghost of Sid Vicious. Fergie’s personal life is a shambles with him and his mum making money by pretending to be sleazy tabloid Jeremy Kyle esque characters. His love life is non-existent, he doesn’t know who his dad is, and this is before he meets Sid. Fergie is a unique character who you can’t help but root for. Then there’s Sid, who is childish, rebellious and dated in his understanding of life. Their relationship is funny and heartfelt with Sid’s attempt to be a father figure one of my favourite scenes.

The quest to find out how Fergie has powers and how he can be free from Sid has plenty of twists and turns including dancing pensioners in Wigan and evil tentacled birds. Yep this is one of the strangest but well written comics I have read in years and that’s before you get to Dorothy.

She is the other point of view in the series and is the wily old boss of the Department for Extra Usual Affairs (DFEUA). Through the series she is training new recruit Asif and we get to learn all the weird things in Britain including the jazz playing ghost of a famous politician. Dorothy is the most unpolitically correct British person ever and takes no shit from anyone. She is the funniest character in the series ln particular her refusal to call use her official department acronym as it sounds like engine oil or a porn channel. Dorothy’s antics and attitudes could have spun off into another series but at least there was an origin story in issue four.

As amazing and unique as the story and characters are, a big part of that is due to the art. Every character and location is individual, the colours stand out, there is an excellent use of patterns too. The splatters effects, loose lines and design of sound effects are second to none. Sid Vicious range of expressions and sneers are innumerable. The trippier parts of the series like when Fergie uses his powers remind me of a modern-day Jack Kirkby. To sum up the art is beautiful, punk and weird.

In conclusion, this is one of the most well written, well drawn and strangest comic series I have ever read. It’s worth a go for punks and non punks alike. David Jenkins

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