Akron was once cool for, like, five years. I know it's hard to believe now, but it really was.
(Derf, in the University of Akron's Buchtelite.)
I've always been fascinated by the legend of the late seventies Akron, Ohio punk scene that almost became the next big thing. Maybe it's the fact I narrowly missed it myself by being born twenty some years too late, or maybe it's just the northeastern Ohio association. Or maybe it's because I recognize and identify with the quintessential rust belt story element of almost - but not quite - making good, and having to live with that near miss forever on.
In any event, the parts of that legend now exists in graphic novel form, courtesy of Ohio artist Derf, who released last October Punk Rock and Trailer Parks. Sure, it's an outsider coming-of-age tale involving punk rock, a formula already approaching overuse, but it reaches beyond the formula to establish itself as a sincere statement on what a cultural movement like punk meant when it emerged, especially to the misfits of the American working-class Midwest. If you don't identify with that background, the sincerity is still undeniable and compelling. And if you do identify with that background, this graphic novel is like meeting a new friend who instinctively gets what you're about from page one.
Regarding Akron's punk scene, I've posted before about two documentaries on the subject, It's Everything and Then's It's Gone, and If You're Not Dead, Play! I'm having some trouble viewing the video of the first one, but the second is functioning. Along with tales like Derf's, they're a good look into a tiny piece of history, as well as the larger contextual history of punk, that the VH1-style docudramas won't or can't convey.