Newave! The Underground Mini Comix of the 1980s by Fantagraphics
Published by Fantagraphics
This is going to be more my speed, while I totally love underground 60’s comics like the recent review for Jack Jackson, New Wave is more my style. After all I am a child of the 80’s and I grew up in Chicago reading what they had for underground comics and going to underage punk rock shows at places like Tuts. So this is almost like reliving the fun part of my childhood and catching up on some of the more awesome memories of my time romping around Chicago and “Chicago Land” along the way. And yes, this was a fun read, but coming in at almost 900 pages, you want to have a cup of coffee handy, you won’t finish this in one reading. It actually took me a week with a lot of laughing aloud and flashing back as if I was dropping LSD on some of the more interesting things, I was reading at the time and what I was doing at the time.
This book is a treat, and if you were anywhere near the city or in an urban area with any kind of punk rock new wave life style support then you probably saw something like these comic books. The index list is too long to read and list here, and it would be impossible to rate each comic individually. Some of the names you will recognize because they stayed in the industry, others you can tell this was just something to do at the moment while they were in college or living the dream when they could. The good part about the time period was that while nothing was Taboo in the 1960’s their idea of taboo is totally different than the Taboo of the 1980’s. It was almost like being alive during the dot com boom, we were discovering or rediscovering everything building new lines in the sand then blithely walking over them. Everything had the potential to be shiny and new while our parents ground to an early death working for some miserable corporation in a cube farm. We were too fast, too shiny, too smart to ever go work in a cube farm for the man. It was a time of youth, expression, freedom, music, energy, and these comics all reflect that part of the lifestyle. While many of us went to go work in cube farms because we were not as fast and as shiny as we thought we were, some of us kept on making comics, or doing their own thing.
This was a treasure to find for me, because I got to read some of the stuff I was reading in the Chicago burbs being all “punk rock” and “rebel rebel”. You have to live it to understand it, and while I’ll look at 1960’s underground comics as a history tour, this comic brought back live living memories of awesome underage shows, best friends forever, hard dancing, stage diving, and all the other fun things that these comics represented to us. Rating this an enthusiastic five of five, it holds a place of honor on my book shelf, and oh you betcha, I’m reading this to my grand children. You need to go buy this one, because it is totally special.