I didn’t know what to expect from PunkRockPaperScissors, only that is had a cool name, and Image Comics was putting it out. I expected comics. I expected a story. Got neither, but found myself interested anyways.
The book is a collection of flyers from various and sundry punk and hardcore shows from back in the 1980s, back before the interwebs, and back before affordable fancy computer design programs, and back before social media, when bands actually had to, you know, advertise their shows. The result, as this book shows, was, and is, an underground trove of underground art.
The book is wider than it is tall, and each page holds two 8×10 flyers, in no real order. This whole collection is made up of the combined collections of a group of flyer collectors who only go by their first names for this project—leaving the real credit up to the hundreds of anonymous artist-fans who made sometimes quite elaborate flyers for what were probably sometimes Tuesday night shows in seedy clubs to crowds of eight or ten.
But: Fans of punk and hardcore, and music connoisseurs, and people who just grew up in the eighties and weren’t total preps, will recognize names of some bands, appearing in clubs in the US and Britain: Suicidal Tendencies, Bad Brains, Minor Threat, plus many you’ve never heard of, but who now get a place in what is a sort-of historical document. There are even some metal bands like Nuclear Assault and rap groups like the Beastie Boys and Public Enemy, who appeared together one night, according to some kind of performance list included from an unnamed club.
This is a book that can be browsed at random, and at leisure. Doing so becomes kind of hypnotic, with always a desire to look at the next page, and the next…. Probably the best way to enjoy this book is by putting on music by some of the bands featured, or your Pandora station set to ‘80s punk and hardcore.
I give PunkRockPaperScissors three stars only because I don’t think it’s for everyone—though it’s visually interesting to anyone with a vague melancholy for 80s hardcore, I’m just not sure I could honestly say to all comics readers, you must read this and spend money on it, versus anything else in the comic book store. Still, it reminds me of a time, way back, when music was my life, and I too made flyers for my bands.
Also includes some photos of the collection process, and tickets stubs from shows as well. A good coffee table book for the alternative crowd. Kudos to Image for branching out and doing something this odd and cool.