Ever wanted to see a paranormal agency take from a different country? Look no further than Punks Not Dead, which mixes in lots of paranormal with a kid who has powers, a dead punk rock star, and a visual style all its own.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Forget Trainspotting! It’s Granarchy in the UK for Sid and Fergie as they hit the rails and head to Wigan Casino to find out how they’re connected to each other–and a strange group of dancing pensioners. Little do they know that Dorothy and Asif have the same brilliant idea. Back home, Nat receives terrible news, and hospitalized Oggy receives a horrific visitation.
Why does this matter?
Being an adolescent is probably the weirdest time in anyone’s life. Now add in a dead ghost who follows you around and some trippy s--t you can do with your mind and it’s a whole lot weirder. This series is basically a coming of age tale but with magic and monsters. Giddyup.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
“What is happening to us?”
The paranormal agency with the radical headmistress Ms. Culpepper continues to get a little bit closer to our protagonist Fergie, which adds to the excitement of the series. She’s given cause after Fergie’s little sleep outbreak which set the countryside afire. It’s how this comic transitions from Culpepper hilariously barging in on Asif and his boyfriend to the bigger picture of the story.
The real conflict of the issue resides in Fergie and a girl. The same girl that ended up in his dream (the one he was smooching) arrives at his door and knows something is up. This adds a nice teenager-in-distress element as well as a new character to possibly join in on Fergie’s little Sid Vicious secret. Writer David Barnett writes this love interest quite well (her name is Natalie) — she’s strong, certain, and well spoken. She’s well aware dating the school bully looks cool to others but it’s a dumb play and it’ll fun to see how Fergie grows with such a strong character by his side (eventually I hope!). Natalie actually takes us into the third act of the issue which introduces a whole new threat that you won’t see coming.
The art by Martin Simmonds continues to be highly interesting and artistic. There are flourishes that add a little something to a scene, be it the fluttering of fall leaves, the texture of tile or wood behind characters, or the flat nature of clothes or other elements amongst 3D stylings. The birds and the creature at the end connected to them are incredibly vivid and strange, helping to add a bit of the supernatural to scenes too. Overall this is a work that could (and should) be up for an Eisner at some point.
It can’t be perfect can it?
I’m not exactly sure why David Barnett uses the quotation from Dante’s Inferno in the last few pages, but maybe it’ll make more sense when you read this series in one sitting. As it stands it created a bit of confusion, further mucking up the last two pages as the issue wraps up with Sid screaming on the top of the train. The visual represents the f--k it all persona of Sid, but it doesn’t add much to the narrative. I suppose we’re supposed to take away from this that Sid and Fergie don’t know what is coming, but it’s not the strongest image to sell us on that.
Is It Good?
I’m enamored with the art and story of this series. It has a freshness that makes it seem cutting edge and interesting all at once.