Book Reviews

Hybrid Moments: A Literary Tribute to the Misfits, Edited by Sam Richard and MP Johnson, 170 pgs.

Nothing is cheap or illogical, a pitfall for many genre anthologies, and the stories are consistently entertaining throughout. I highly recommend this book for those who land in the horror/punk intersection of the Venn diagram, and for those who like a little yuck for their buck.

Punk Avenue By Phil Marcade, 246 pgs.

Marcade’s narration reads like a punk rock version of Zelig, as he appears in anecdotes with all the era’s heavy hitters. His friendship with Johnny Thunders, in particular, is an ongoing thread throughout the book. More important than the all-star cast is Marcade’s story, as he bungles a series of relationships, struggles to establish the Senders, gets a foothold, then succumbs to heroin addiction before finally getting clean and committing it all to paper.

Spoke,Compiled by Scott Crawford, 128 pgs.

The strongest aspect of Spoke is the photographs…. In reading Spoke, I read very little about the overarching theme of what the scene was about. There was no essay or narrative that brought everything together.

Streetopia, Edited by Erick Lyle, 320 pgs.

Dystopian lit and film are in vogue—stores and libraries are having a hard time keeping 1984 and Handmaid’s Tale on the shelves. But as Streetopia editor Erick Lyle notes, the flip side of the coin is the idea of utopia, which questions “when does the nonfunctional and intolerable status quo, endured for years, suddenly become an emergency that must be dealt with immediately at all costs?”

As You Were, Vol. 5: This Job Sucks! Edited by Mitch Clem and Avi Ehrlich

The theme is “This job sucks!” and it’s amazing the variety of tales that can come out of what might seem like a simple phrase.

Bonnot Gang, The: The Story of the French Illegalists By Richard Parry

The Bonnot Gang was a group of illegalists best known as the first robbers to use a car as the main part of a getaway.

Let’s Go to Hell: Scattered Memories of the Butthole Surfers By James Burns

The book covers the early days of Texas punk rock, where weird was king, hitting the road on an endless tour that encompassed the ‘80s, somehow beating all odds by getting first on a major label, then having a Top 40 hit, then their fade away in light of label hi-jinks and lawsuits.

No Flash, Please! Underground Music in Toronto 1987-92 By Derek von Essen and Phil Saunders

It is clear through the photographs and stories in this book, that the punk rock scene in Toronto was a blast. So many photos of so many shows!

Perfect Mix Tape Segue #6 By Joe Biel

Joe Biel founded Microcosm, a press and distro that have been a hub of the zine scene since the early 2000s. Joe is now persona non grata in his community, because he was emotionally abusive to his wife and to some people involved with Microcosm. While trying to understand and become accountable for his behavior, Joe was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism. People with Asperger’s have difficulty with empathy, which makes it hard for them to have healthy personal relationships.

Please Destroy My Enemies By Michael Sweater

This collection of comics by tattoo and comic artist Michael Sweater has me catching hints of Gary Larson’s The Far Side subversive cute animal absurdism, Matt Groening’s Life in Hell bone-dry deadpan, and bits of Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes pre-adult philosophical inquiry.