What’s more fun than a comic book with a soundtrack? A superhero comic with a punk rock soundtrack. Suburban Vermin is a punk trio from Seattle that is starring in an upcoming comic series that follows their adventures fighting fascist aliens with TVs for heads in an urban dystopia. TV Head Nation issue 0 gives us the scoop on what to expect.
For fans of rough, raw music, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the adventure is captured in a rough and raw way. Unfortunately, as can be the plague for many local punk scenes, there’s a fine line between expressive and amateurish. TV Head Nation’s writer Dan Rafter captures the attitude of his subjects and their stark contrast to their opposition. This is a band of youthful miscreants resisting an evil dictator. It’s an easily defined good versus evil that doesn’t exist to make you wonder; it just wants you to have fun.
When it comes to writing, edgy sensibilities can come across in a variety of ways but this simply feels like something that didn’t take too much effort to refine after a first draft. Dialog can feel a bit clunky at times and certain lines are spoken out loud when they’d be more appropriately kept in an inner monologue. There’re a few small typos, but nothing too glaring that it keeps you from enjoying the material. The only cringe-worthy elements might be some of the naming going on; with TV Head’s minions simply being called TV Head Minions. Then, there’re our heroes such as Acid Burn. With a bit more clarity, you could tell if this was humor. Either way, we’re treated to cool super-powered action and a tease at some more emotional, introspective times for our characters. All the elements for a good read are there, which is nice in such a short preview.
Art by Amy Fay takes an appropriately coarse style for visuals. The backgrounds feel dirty and the characters disheveled. There are clouds of dust and thick marks on walls and décor. These subtle details bring out the setting in a nice way. Punk was never meant to be clean and dystopian cities certainly do not call for the smoothest line-work. The inked but uncolored pages don’t have many problems with illegibility other than a panel or two, and even in these, the context provides any important details. There was a moment referencing that TV Head Minions may have different abilities that can be anticipated based on the color of their suits. Hopefully, in future issues, the team can find other ways of helping the reader find other giveaways.
Much like the music that inspires it, this comic isn’t meant to be hailed for professionalism or thinking inside the box. Without flaws or sophomoric naiveté, I wouldn’t believe the premise was truly being fulfilled. This is a chance for a real band to stretch their sonic persona into a visual medium and fans are going to love it. This is punk at a pure form. This is creativity flowing without much regard for rules. This is political and exciting and bursting with energy. If you enjoy the freedom-loving, fast-living icons of punk history, crank the volume on that soundtrack and start reading TV Head Nation.
Clear-cut good and evil action
Rough, unforgiving setting portrayal
Hints at deeper characterization
A few too many hiccups in writing
Some unclear dialog