Issue: CBGB #2
Release Date: August 18, 2010
Writer: Ana Matronic, Mr. Sheldon
Artist: Dan Duncan, Mr. Sheldon
Colors: Renato Faccini
Letterer: James Dashiell
Cover: Chuck BB
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
CBGB was a music club where music was being made for the sake of it being music. The band’s name sometime came after the group formed and whatever image they had came organically. There were no music executives and producers making certain they sang the right song to the right demographic with the right amount of money to spend. It was an honest time that I doubt we will ever experience again in this age of instant stardom reality shows and prepackaged celebrity pop stars.
CBGB whispered to the younger you, the one who hasn’t rationalized their dreams away. It offered an alternate ending to Pinocchio, a reality where the boys on Pleasure Island continue to be real boys and aren’t turned into beasts of burden as punishment for giving into their id.
This issue opens up with “Rock Block,” written by Ana Matronic and drawn by Dan Duncan. It’s a tale of one writer struggle with writer’s block. After wandering down a number of avenues (seeing a shrink; literally walking) she finds an unexpected muse in the music at CBGB. As a writer, this one really hit home. The shot of the imposing typewriter with the blank sheet of paper in the foreground as our heroine smokes another cigarette, pretending to look out of the window is a great image that anyone dealing with the cursed writer’s block can relate to. The pain of sitting in front of the computer, the blinking cursor mocking you hour after hour can lead any writer to rethink their career.
The rawness of CBGB is captured perfectly through the artwork of Dan Duncan. The art is raw, clean, and sharp. “Rock Block” reads like poetry that comes forth when the blocked writer has forgotten they are blocked, lets go and allows the words to flow.
The second story in this issue is “Oozy-Suzi-Q-Tip,” written and drawn by Mr. Sheldon. Where “Rock Block” embraced the grey blanket of New York in the seventies, “Oozy-Suzi-Q-Tip” punches you in the face with a palette of yellow and magenta so jarring and retina-searing that even this colorblind reader had to put on sunglasses to read the tale.
Sweet, unassuming, glasses-wearing Suzi-Q has joined her friends to see her favorite band, The Beatalls, in concert at CBGB. She’s excited and very nervous. You see, Suzi-Q has a problem with losing control. Things happen, embarrassing things, things she doesn’t want to happen in the privacy of her own bedroom, let alone in front of hundreds of other Beatalls fans in the CBGB. Fortunately, Suzi-Q has a plan, and has spent days training to make certain this thing does not happen at the concert.
Unfortunately, the situation doesn’t go the way Suzi-Q had planned. But she also hadn’t planned on the lead singer of The Beatalls sticking up for her and delivering the delightful moral of this story all in the same speech.
Mr. Sheldon has delivered an adorable carnival of a story about letting go and being yourself despite what others might think. And isn’t that what CBGB was all about?
If you are a fan of punk, a writer dealing with blocked creativity, someone afraid of letting the real you out, or just a fan of really good comics, go pick up issue #2 of CBGB from your friendly, neighborhood comic book store. Now.
Rating: 5 / 5 Stars