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Review: Anya Davidson's Band for Life – three-chord punk rock in comic form

Title
Band for Life
Author
Anya Davidson
Genre
Graphica
Publisher
Fantagraphics
Pages
260
Price
$39.99

It's fitting that a short tribute to the Ramones appears partway into Band for Life: Anya Davidson's brief, perfect stories about a group of struggling noise musicians are the comic-book equivalent of three-chord punk rock. Pared down and subtly philosophical, Davidson's strips – many of them serialized online at Vice – chug along in four-four time, telling tightly paced, true-to-life stories about the freaks in the band. (Davidson draws people like midnight-movie monsters, colours them with highlighter-marker hues and cartoons with an easy-to-read classicism – the results resemble a radioactive Josie and the Pussycats.) There's Linda, who serves as the band's stable centre, when she's not overtaken with despair about militarized police or animal testing; there's upper-class dropout Krang, trying to balance rehearsal time and his new boyfriend; or there's Annimal, the drummer, who needs to find a steady sitter for her twins almost as much as she needs to stop getting blackout drunk. Davidson nails the dynamics that make up this band, but it's her generous, empathetic attention to the rhythms of life that truly sets these comics apart.

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