Armagideon Time

Jack and clubs

June 22nd, 2016

Today we have three questions from Mike Loughlin:

I’m a little bit younger than you so I didn’t get into the Boston area punk/hardcore/ska/indie scene(s) until the mid-’90s. Were you into the bands that emerged in that era, and if so which ones caught your attention?

My unqualified punk rock period ran from 1989 to 1993 (roughly, as there was some bleedthrough on either end of that timeframe). Much of that was spent looking backwards, via still-in-print releases from the local hardcore scene’s early 1980s salad days. There was the This Is Boston, Not LA comp, a couple of LPs by The Freeze, and (really foul smelling) tapes of Jerry’s Kids, Gang Green, and Proletariat albums.

Slapshot was still gigging regularly then, but they also seemed to attract an aggro-minded crowd which I avoided the the plague. I did catch Sam Black Church and Type O Negative as opening acts at a couple of all-ages shows.

Even though I didn’t make much of an effort to get into the various club scenes, I had several college buddies who were on friendly terms with the local industrial (anyone remember DDT?), ska, and indie rock crowds. I supposed I could’ve used those connections as an in, but being near those folks made me feel like a suburban bumpkin. (Which I was, to be fair.)

By the time the mid-Nineties rolled around, my tastes had shifted towards synthpop/industrial/post-punk/goth stuff picked up second-hand at used record shops or purchased new (and for a stiff price) from the import bins. Unless you count nominally “indie” acts like Belly or Letters to Cleo, the only local release I recall buying during those years was a Mistle Thrush EP.

I know that undercuts my whole “Boston Pride” shtick, but what can you do? The heart wants what the heart wants, and my ticker never wanted to listen to Bim Skala Bim or hang out in the Model Cafe with Mary Timony.

Were you ever a fan of the Hulk, in any incarnation? If so, which version of the character/run on the title is your favorite?

I’ve always preferred the Hulk as an adversary or plot complication, rather than a protagonist. Even when I was a kid who relished slam-bang, Trimpe-or-Buscema-rendered donnybrooks, the character felt a kind of one-note to me. The only times I followed his ongoing with any regularity were during John Byrne’s abbreviated stint and the McFarlane-illustrated “Grey Hulk” run.

Even so, the Bronze Age two-parter where Hulk battles Jack of Hearts is one of my favorite funnybook stories ever…which leads nicely into the today’s final question:

Who would be your ideal creative team for a Jack of Hearts comic?

That’s an easy one. Yours truly scripting with the mighty Matt Digges handling the art (and likely cursing the person who came up with Jack’s costume design).

6 Responses to “Jack and clubs”

  1. Matt M.

    Jack of Hearts was designed by Dave Cockrum, wasn’t he? Him or Perez.

  2. bitterandrew

    Cockrum did his reference sketch for the Bullpen “bible.”

    He was a Giffen/Nebres creation, though.

  3. Matt M.

    The golden days of florid costume design.

  4. Mike Loughlin

    Thanks for answering! I love “This is Boston Not LA,” and it gave me an idea of what the Boston scene was like before my time. I started going to shows the summer after high school, mostly Tree, Sam Black Church, and whoever they played with. From there, I branched out into ska and other local music. It all came to a head around 1999, when most clubs stopped allowing heavy acts to play because of the violence. I know the scene didn’t die but it sure did wither.

    Off to read Hulk 214…

  5. Ken Reid

    I was in 30 Seconds Over Tokyo at that time and caught the literal tail end of the era of Boston Punk Rock. I hung out at the Rat starting 1993-1997 or so.

    There were some great bands, Showcase Showdown being a band I think Andrew would dig.

    That being said, I like to think of us as the Jack of Hearts of the mid-90s Boston punk scene

  6. philip

    Funny (though only to me, probably), just today I was talking with a co-worker about various punk scenes and I mentioned that in about 1989 (I had just moved to Boston from California) I went to see Slapshot at The Rat and the dudes in the pit were totally trying to murder each other. I was used to the more laid-back, “let’s all skank around and help each other up when we fall” scene I grew up in. I never went to another show in Boston after that. Stupid Slapshot.

    Anyway, I always liked the “This is Boston, Not LA” compilation, even when I lived in LA.

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