It seems not that long ago, but maybe it is. A time when hormones raged, the American Dream was caked in rust, music actually mattered and the one thing that meant more than any other was: ESCAPE!
PUNK ROCK & TRAILER PARKS, the long-awaited new graphic novel by comix creator Derf takes place in recession-ravaged Akron, Ohio, in 1980, at the peak of the Rubber City’s unlikely and lively punk rock scene, a pop culture phenomenon that spawned distinctive acts such as Devo, Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders and so many other groups that Melody Maker referred to Akron as “the new Liverpool.” The story follows the triumphs and travails of one colorful young man, Otto, who lives in the family-owned trailer park on the outskirts of the Rubber Capital. He backs into the punk counter-culture by chance and through talent, wit and sheer force of personality soon becomes a local star. Otto chases fame and love and has memorable encounters with punk luminaries such as the Clash’s Joe Strummer, Wendy O. Williams of the Plasmatics and rock scribe Lester Bangs.
PUNK ROCK & TRAILER PARKS conjures up the oppressive insanity of growing up in the Rustbelt, the day-to-day weirdness of the trailer parks tucked away therein, the magic allure of sex and the necessary comforts of friendship, the mystical power of the counter-culture to turn outcasts into heroes and, most of all, the transcendant power of music, specifically the punk rock of the late 1970’s which redefined, transported, and ultimately, perhaps, disappointed a generation. It’s a tale as gritty, raucous and bawdy as punk music itself.
PUNK ROCK & TRAILER PARKS is an evocative, hilarious, and ultimately poignant book that will appeal to anyone whose youthful dreams live on.
Derf Backderf is an award-winning cartoonist and comix creator. He is best known for his edgy weekly comic strip, THE CITY, which has appeared in alternative weekly papers nationwide since 1990. Derf was the recipient of a prestigious Robert F. Kennedy Award in 2006 and he is one of the featured creators in BEST AMERICAN CARTOONS: 2008 (Houghton-Miiflin). A book collection of the first 15 years of his strip was published as THE CITY: COLLECTED (SLG Publishing, 2005).
PUNK ROCK & TRAILER PARKS is Derf’s longest and most ambitious work to date, as well as his first fictional piece.