In the 1970s, Peter Laughner was a founding figure in a primordial ooze of what would come to be called punk rock, in the somewhat unlikely, somewhat necessary place of Cleveland, Ohio. Bands like Pere Ubu, the electric eels, Rocket From the Tombs, the Dead Boys, Devo, and the Pagans all intermingled in this psychosphere; Laughner touched them all. In 1977 at the age of 24 he became punk rock’s first casualty. While his short life ended more than a half a century ago, his legacy continues to resonate; Henry Rollins and Guns N’ Roses have covered his songs, while Wilco and the Mountain Goats drop references to him in their lyrics.
Underground comix stalwart Aaron Lange makes his much-anticipated graphic novel debut with this deeply researched biography. Through extensive interviews with the people who were there, Ain’t It Fun charts the cultural, environmental, and societal factors that shaped both Laughner and the Midwestern proto-punk subculture he championed. Ain’t it fun when you know that you’re gonna die young?
“Grounded in real crime, with blazing and withering faces looking into their precious moments and looking back at what’s left, this is a mystic story of a city wrapped around the life and death of a musician whose talent, on certain nights, on certain records, was otherworldly. A sense of disbelief churns through the intricate, exploding pages. It seems a wonder there’s anyone left to tell the tale.”
– Greil Marcus, author of Lipstick Traces