Tripwire’s contributing writer Tim Cundle takes a look at Punks Not Dead: London Calling#1, out now from Black Crown Pub/ IDW Publishing…
Punk’s Not Dead: London Calling #1
Writer: David Barnett
Artist: Martin Simmonds
When we last left, during the closing moments of Punk’s Not Dead, Fergie and his spectral partner in mischief, Sid Vicious, they had been forced to leave the bright lights of Preston behind due to circumstances beyond their control and were London-bound. Having discovered that he possessed an unusual set of powers, acquired a ghostly best friend and ventured into a who-knows-what-their- relationship is with the girl of his dreams, pursued by the agents of a secret government department and the police meant that Fergie and his punk rock chum from the other side had to pack their bags and get out of Preston as fast as their legs could carry them. After discovering that the father he never knew might still be somewhere in the capital, Fergie (and Sid) headed for the Big Smoke in an effort to find his missing parent to try and make some sense of what’s happening to him and why his life was so violently turned upside down. Cue London Calling, which begins with our teenage miscreant and his deceased leather-clad comrade hot on the trail of his dear old dad.
It isn’t all sunshine and roses on the streets of London though as Fergie and Sid soon discover after the former is propositioned by a skinflint pervert. They’re also attacked by a tentacled monster from some unknown dimension in their quest to find the dad who has apparently disappeared. Not that it’s all rainbows back in Preston either, as Fergie’s would-be girlfriend decides to up sticks and follow him. Also, the secret government department bully the police into handing our heroes’ case over to them. Unaware of what’s happening at home and that his already difficult life is about to become a lot harder, Fergie manages to catch a break in the search for his elusive father and heads to the last- known location of the one man who might know where to find him. Then there’s the religious lunatic with a penchant for killing people and using their corpses in all sorts of horrible ways who is also unusually keen to catch up with Sid and Fergie. He is almost certainly destined to become a major thorn in Fergie’s side.
David Barnett hits the ground running with the opening chapter of London Calling, capitalising, and building, on the manic energy that infused the first volume of Punk’s Not Dead. The razor-sharp dialogue, black humour and slightly strange, but nonetheless endearing, relationship between Fergie and Sid are perfectly partnered with Barnett’s constantly evolving and engaging, imaginative story of magic and disaffected and disenchanted youth that’s liberally sprinkled with enough in-scene punk references* to keep the most impassioned punk rock devotees happy.
However, Barnett’s compulsive narrative wouldn’t be anywhere near as effective as it is without the brilliantly realistic art of Martin Simmonds, which is dripping in punk rock attitude and slightly reminiscent of Simon Bisley’s Slaine, that pushes everything in London Calling up to eleven. Punks Not Dead, but you might as well be if you don’t start reading London Calling… Tim Cundle
*Which will mostly reveal themselves when you play a little game that I like to call “Spot the song title”…