Who knew? Akron, Ohio was at the epicenter of the punk rock movement at the dawn of the 80s, churning out some of the greatest bands of the era.
Thats one of the revelations in Punk Rock and Trailer Parks, a new graphic novel by Derf, the artist whose comic, The City has run in the Northern Express since the early 90s.
If anyone would know, its Derf Backderf, a resident of Cleveland whose work appears in alternative newspapers across the nation. Derfs noir viewpoint is almost gothic in his approach to trolling the gritty, banal bottomlands of life in the Midwest -- an Ohio frozen in a New Dark Age and locked in medieval attitudes.
Nowhere is that exploration more evident than in his high school haunts of Akron, a town known as Rubber City for its tire factories, which also happens to be stalled by a Rustbelt recession as the book opens.
Yet theres one bright spot for the trailer park kids doomed to life in Akron: by some odd confluence of fate, rage and despair, the town gave rise to a dynamic punk rock scene, starting in 1979, with acts such as Devo, Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders and other raw & ragged groups swept up by punks power. A lively club scene took root in a ruined bank, bringing in such iconic acts as The Ramones and The Clash. The punk rock eruption prompted Melody Maker magazine to dub Rubber City as the new Liverpool.