by Joshua Hale Fialkov and Kody Chamberlain
Nutty. Insane. Bananas. Whatever word or phrase that comes to mind for something that is simultaneously beyond crazy and very entertaining is what is likely in the head of anyone reading this series from Joshua Hale Fialkov and Kody Chamberlain. Punks: The Comic #2 not only matches the tone and style of the first issue, but it goes beyond it. Including more crotch punching, an alien invasion and Superdog, the second issue is more of the crude and unapologetic storytelling that is Punks.
Where else is a reader going to open a comic to find a cut-out character of Abraham Lincoln, fully dressed, in a water basin that is being heated by a skull-headed character breathing fire? The opening panels of Punks #2 depict just that, as Lincoln recounts all of his monumental obstacles he was able to overcome. Rather than Fialkov having the character list off a number of well-known attributes of President Lincoln’s life, the writer has the character list off accomplishments of Luke Skywalker as well as moments from The Lord of The Rings. It is this kind of absurdity that the book is overflowing with. The concept of overflowing, then, is taken to its literal extreme as a new character manages to fill the building that the Punks cast occupies with human waste. Superdog, as he is so aptly named, is simply a better version of the existing Dog character. In fitting with everyone’s distaste for Dog, the crew takes to Superdog right away. That is a mistake. The new guy is even worse than Dog and, like an untrained dog may do, he treats the whole house like the backyard, urinating everywhere. Taken to hyperbole, eventually the cast moves outside as the level rises floor by floor, that is until they trick Dog into going to confront Superdog, opening the front door and getting crushed by a wave of human waste.
If that isn’t enough of a sense of what should be expected from this series, then speculative readers should just go find a copy and flip through the story. Artist Kody Chamberlain continues to utilize the paper doll style art work, and his minimalist alteration to the Dog character in order to craft the new Superdog is played for even greater comedy through this style. In the center of the issue come a number of cut-out pages. The first issue of Punks included such pages that were intended to be cut out to be able to play some sort of game. The magazine feel continues here as the second issue’s cut-outs are to be masks of the four main characters. It is a fun aesthetic addition to the issue that also acts as a divider between the stories. The b-story claims to be a continuation of a previous alien invasion story, and includes a car of humans, seemingly on vacation, terrorizing the city. This car has been outfitted with massive legs that allow it to appear alien-like and walk its way through the city. The entire sequence is maddening and the alien invasion manages to lead to the cast crotch-punching each other again.
Fialkov and Chamberlain are a perfect match for this book. The humor, crass writing, character designs and overall construction of the book is unwavering in its vision. The book is rather specific in its aims and if it were to falter in any aspect of its design, it would not work. Fortunately, the creative team behind Punks have managed to create a product that does exactly what it aims to do. For something that is meant to appear as slapped together and silly as what two high school friends might create using magazines and insane writing, Fialkov and Chamberlain certainly are working hard to push the envelope and maintain a distinct voice. Punks, for the right audience, will be a top-of-the-pile series for as long as it remains in publication, and rightly so.