Crash by Craig Bostick

Subtitled “The life and death of a GERM”, this is a rock-and-roll elegy.

Outside a club, Darby bumps into an old friend who knew him when he was one of the Germs, an early punk band. He catches her up with his life story (uninvited, which makes him appear somewhat boorish, but maybe it’s due to the drugs he’s on), which leads the reader into the flashback that makes up the majority of this comic.

Compressing a whole life into 12 pages means that events are necessarily described briefly and superficially, but they’re familiar enough that the reader will understand what’s signified by each panel. Meanings are compressed but not neglected.

Crash cover

It’s a common story: high school kids meet due to their shared love of music and fandom. They start a band and begin playing shows, subsisting on shock and gall instead of talent. Darby’s gay, but due to the pressure of the scene, keeps it a secret. After breaking up with a lover, his performance takes a dark, negative turn, paralleling the way the music scene is going at the same time.

Bostick’s art is sleek and simple, as though characters from Adventures-style books grew up and moved downtown. His most distinctive quirk is the way, instead of drawing eyes, he draws lines, as though everyone’s squinting or caught at the wrong time mid-blink.

I didn’t realize until after some internet research that this is based on a true story. The Germs existed, and the Jane and Belinda mentioned briefly in the story are the Go-Go members. (Belinda was almost the band’s drummer.) Given that, the compression of the comic makes more sense, since Bostick is constrained by what his research (books listed on the back cover) has told him about this guy’s life.

Find out more at or check out this online profile of the creator. For me, the story took on new significance when I found out, at Bostick’s website, that he’s currently touring with his band.

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