Nothing Nice to Say: By Mitch Clem, 128 pgs. By Todd Taylor

Jan 15, 2009

Mitch Clem has been doing web comics ever since Al Gore invented the internet. Mitch Clem does a very funny comic that’s especially sweet for DIY punk rockers called Nothing Nice to Say. I don’t think that many of the “civilian population” will get all the layers of his jokes. The cover’s a perfect example. It’s a recreation of Minor Threat’s Salad Days EP and the human-bear-gopher is wearing a Quincy Punks shirt (those less observant may think it’s a Germs’ shirt, but would have overlooked the safety pin; those less observant may not know that Quincy Punks is the older aspersion of calling someone a “mall punk.”). You don’t need to know any of that stuff, but it makes it funnier to me. Mitch Clem is a punk geek. The touchdown his two main characters—Fletcher and Blake—feel for an upcoming Epoxies album is tempered by who’s putting it out. Mitch Clem doesn’t like bands signing to Fat Wreck Chords. Mitch Clem’s publishers—the fine folks at Dark Horse—probably said, “Mitch, we’re not going to print the jokes that only ten people will get. Reign that shit in.” So, there are no Tiltwheel-as-custard-pies or Bananas (the real progenitors of Bananarchy, not that Raffi schmub) references in here, but there are Avail jokes, Green Day cameos, and plenty of cultural references that folks over twenty-five or with good internet connections and sharp research skills will get, like Punchy the Hawaiian Punch guy making an appearance, a Pac Man ghost bothering folks at a show, or a casual nod to They Live. (Rowdy Roddy Piper! Consume!) In sum, Mitch is funny, self-effacing, and spot-on. This shit’s rad and it actually makes me laugh, and not just “finger on lips, raised eyebrows, sweater vest, mental tee hee” laugh but “put the book down and laugh” laugh. –Todd (Dark Horse, www.darkhorse.com)

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