For a comic book adaptation of the blood-guts-and-snot secrets of legendary punk venue CBGBs (R.I.P.), CBGBs The Comic is disappointingly clean and flat overall, yet as each issue features two separate stories by different writers and artists the tone varies greatly within each book.
Issue #1 sees flailing punk bassist Stooge drawn back in time to witness the birth and early years of his idolized venue, CBGBs. The Ghosts of Punk Past and Future (but not Present, oddly enough) fire out fact after fact about the people, the concerts, and the albums from the New York scene. It’s all a bit tedious after the first half dozen panels, and almost a relief when the second story begins in which young punk Larry discovers his reclusive Uncle Willie used to be a legendary punk rocker himself. Both narratives feel rushed and incomplete with the writers obviously struggling to jam their stories within the allotted pages.
The material offered in issue #2 fares a bit better with struggling New York writer JT finding her ire and inspiration from the furious punk musicians at CBGBs. Although she hits writer’s block every time she attempts fiction, she can effortlessly find the words to describe her observations on and feelings about the people at CBs, although “writing about music is like dancing about architecture [but] if that’s the case, I was cutting a rug”.
The second tale, bursting with neon pink and yellow, features a young punk fan with the embarrassing trait of having “ear pussies” explode from the sides of her head when she gets excited. Thankfully, her rock gods The Beatalls are progressive and accepting guys who encourage the fans not to let “our search for individuality separate us from one another”.
CBGBs The Comic is a fun concept, but much more difficult to execute in reality when juggling so many creative teams under very limiting circumstances. This series is definitely for the punk aficionado/fanboy crossovers.