FLUKE #12: $5, 5½” x 8½”, offset, 76 pgs.

Sep 22, 2015

New York City—the sleazy, punk rock, dirty cesspool—always captured my imagination. My mom made me read a book by a Christian evangelist preacher who went into the bowels of the Lower East Side and met gang members and drug addicts. I loved that book, until they became “born again.” I stopped reading at that point. Later on, I read every punk rock book that detailed the days of early punk rock in NYC. It seemed like a dangerous, desolate place and far away from the pimple-faced jocks who tormented me in high school. Fluke #12 is a comic zine, detailing the life of an artist named Bobby Madness, who lived in the Lower East Side of Manhattan when he was fourteen and fifteen years old.After reading these stories of hard drugs, violence, and girls, I remembered I was too soft to handle NYC back then and would have gotten my ass kicked. Stories of a music-obsessed, young, nerdy punk rocker are always interesting. I’ve been thinking about the first time I saw the Ramones in New Orleans—even though I had seen countless other punk rock bands in the ‘80s—seeing the Ramones for the first time was incredible. They were bigger than I thought they would be and talked in an accent I didn’t understand. I was too scared to meet them. Likewise, Bobby meets one of the Ramones and realizes he has nothing to say—meeting your heroes is never as good as what the imagination leads you to believe. Bobby meets an older friend who has strong opinions on everything and this guy acts as an older brother—one who isn’t afraid to get into trouble or mouth off. Often Bobby has to pay for his buddy’s big mouth. Bobby’s story is difficult to read sometimes, especially as a dad of a fourteen-year-old. I can’t imagine my son living a crazy life on the streets of New York. The city might be different, but the ghosts of Chris and the Ramones live on—even if they don’t recognize the place. –Steve Hart (Mathew Thompson, PO Box 1547, Phoenix, AZ85001)