Comic book culture and punk rock tell the story of World War IX
Link: World War IX on Bandcamp
Justin Melkmann’s life is no different than your average punk rocker whose world had been clouded by a barrage of alcohol and drugs. But don’t expect an exuberant crash and burn lifestyle, Melkmann’s world is like a slow burn that mirrors any kid obsessed with rock and roll and converted into a punk rock soldier, only to be speckled by moments of discovery. Spoiler alert: an inevitable foray into sobriety eventually turns Melkmann into a better version of himself. He is a survivor.
Melkmann does not let this tale of rock familiarity get him down. Instead, he writes a comic book about it. Thank God It’s Monday is an illustrated autobiography that made me skeptical at first to take the dive but quickly became immersed in this band’s story. Drawn in a style that lies somewhere between Peter Bagge and Gilbert Shelton, it’s a four-issue series that turns World War IX’s story into a cool fascination. Like a Linklater film, Melkmann exposes a glorified version of himself making his cartoon self more interesting than real life. Isn’t every autobiography filled with subtle embellishments? What makes the issues more enlightening are the real life photography, band posters, and memorabilia from a more than twelve-year career in the New York punk scene.
World War IX—”Coke Machine”
To add to the story is the aural blitzkrieg of the band’s latest EP, Phoning It In. In a few words, it’s really good! This is a pure chaotic ride into raucous rock fury. It’s that college party where there’s some spilled beer and some nudity. Maybe someone gets kicked in the balls. Maybe someone passes out in the front yard. Maybe two guys are high as a kite and decide to form a band. Not since the mid-to-late 1980s New York punk and hardcore scene have I heard something so poignant, brazenly honest, and uptempo punk that punches you in the face. “Coke Machine” is a fiery tune that encapsulates World War IX’s punk ethos and bears the same feeling as listening to Back From Samoa for the first time. “Portrait of Sobriety” is the punctuation mark that solidifies Melkmann’s current life status. Every song on this EP feels like a marred classic masked as a haphazard joyride, just the right elements for a great listen.
After all is said and done, you will be glad you took that journey into a slacker critique of punk moral philosophy and the sordid story that can only be considered real life.
- Fired For Partying
- Coke Machine
- Larry’s House
- Portrait of Sobriety
- NYC Tonight