Time to announce my ignorance, I had no idea who Ben Snakepit was. I'd never heard any of his multitude of bands and never saw any of his prior volumes of comic books. Technically, I had no reason whatsoever to be interested in this latest volume of Snakepit "daily diary" comics when Microcosm Publishing sent the promo copy to my door.
But for some reason it caught my eye. I was impressed by the line up of Microcosm Publishing books, with a catalog of punk rock based comics and books like Bob Suren's "Cratedigger," the clearly tongue in cheek, "Henry & Glenn Forever," and the biopic of Lookout Records, "Punk USA" Plus I'd always loved underground comics and was in need of a good read.
So, coffee in hand, I plunked myself down one rainy morning and dug in. Now when Ben says these are 3-panel "diary" comics, he means it. Each comic is a three panel representation of one day in the life of Ben Snakepit, broke bass player in J Church, Shit Creek, Modok and other punk units. And by "diary" I mean that's it. There's no jokes, no punchlines, no invading aliens. There's simply a 3-panel depiction of what happened that day. A typical strip would be panel one "work sucked today" -- panel two "ate pizza with Karen" -- panel three "Modok practice". In this age of facebook and oversharing every little uninteresting moment of each other's lives, this really is the comic book version of reality television.
Thank God it's so much better.
It didn't take long before I was totally hooked and sucked into the daily life of Ben. I wanted to know how each day on the job went, or how the job search went when it was time for something new. Leaving the video store? Really? A new house? Oh yes, where? Will it be nice? Will they find a new local place as good as their favorite bar and grill, Billy's? The bands? Which one? Will they stay together? Record a new album? How's the tour? Who's the next visiting band to crash on Ben's floor?
"Ben Snakepit Gets Old" is perfect title for this volume. You can see Ben wrestling with the life change from "party as much as I want to" punk rocker to someone who finds more joy in a quiet evening on the couch with his girlfriend than another random party. And struggling with the fact that he still likes that party, and still wants to play video games all day and do nothing, but accepting his responsibilities as an adult, in a relationship and all that comes next.
When I said there were no jokes, that doesn't mean it's not without humor. Much of it self-depreciating (like Ben drawing himself as a huge pile of dog poop whenever he's a lazy shit,
wasting time playing video games). Throughout, Ben's cartooning style, while rudimentary is affecting. Simple yet compelling. Ben has a playful outlook on his life and situation and that makes it a fun read, besides addicting.
I won't reveal any of the major twists and turns, but after reading one volume of Ben Snakepit I really felt like I knew the guy and wanted to know how things turned out for him. What was next? Where was life going to take him? I'd been searching eBay for albums from his many bands. Browsing for back issues. All good.
Cheers toMicrocosmPublishing for hooking me up with this promo. I'll be sure to check out many
titles in their back and future catalogs. And if this kind of punk rock comic creativity appeals to you, consider joining their subscription club where you pay $10-30 a month and you get everything they put out right in your mailbox. Cool beans.