Ain’t it Fun: new graphic novel reveals the untold story of Cleveland's punk music scene

Originally published at: Ain't it Fun: new graphic novel reveals the untold story of Cleveland's punk music scene | Boing Boing


Very cool. I’ve been following Pere Ubu (or attempting to follow them) and also enjoying Rocket from the Tombs (a collection of live recordings, they never formally produced an album in their original incarnation) and kind of wonder what happened in the RFTT years and the years following.


Thanks! Lange goes into detail about what happened with RFTT and Pere Ubu into the 80’s and 90’s, in addition to other side projects and their colleagues.

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highly recommend Punk Rock and Trailer Parks about the Akron, Ohio scene.


you can read a preview here:


“ I think the subject of Laughner, and what was going on in Cleveland at the time, hasn’t been sufficiently addressed or reckoned with. I found myself in a unique position where I was capable of telling a story that really hasn’t been fully told…”

That quote wins the bullshit of the year award. You know, it’s not like there’s already been released an exhaustively researched and fully authorized and licensed box set and book representing the definitive chronicle of Peter’s life and accomplishments with his many collaborators.

Hi Frank,

Before you go getting yourself upset, please know that there’s a 13-page index listing the source material at the end of Ain’t It Fun. When the book is fully released, you’ll be able to see where Lange pulled his material, which he attributes in great detail.

Furthermore, you’re taking his quote out of context. Lange is a visual artist. His version of making sure a story is “fully told” is going to be in the graphic arts, per his trade. To date, there has not been a graphic novel about Laughner that has been crafted as one total story that has been this expansive.

Finally: is your box set and book still available? If so, please post a link as to where folks can find it. The more Laughner out there, the better, right?


5 LP box set+book is totally sold out but you can still find them in the wild. Boing Boing snoozed on it so there’s no coverage of it there. Yeah, the book as part of the box set has tons of graphics, all fully licensed from the many photographers and publications that Peter wrote for, because you know, nailing sure content creators are properly recognized AND compensated for their work is what we do. An index is just that, a mere list of what he stole from. Same goes for lyrics quoted within the book and Adele Bertei’s book on Peter which we also released, licensed from the publishers. Not really sure more is better, we did the definitive works, including the very first fully licensed RFTT retrospective, the rest is superfluous, thinly sourced at best, and not licensed.

But yeah, that quote is bullshit and lazy journalism not to call him on it, no reason to describe out any other way.

There’s a whole lot of “we” in your second response that is missing from your first comment, which is incredibly telling.

I could try to insult you about your lack of distribution or reprinting your work, but why? If you want to tear down a graphic artist who is making a tribute to his hometown in some effort to validate your past efforts, I don’t see the point.

I applaud your previous work. I didn’t know about it. I applaud Lange’s work. That does not speak to the quality of myself or Boing Boing in terms of content.

What’s your next project? Is there any way to take this out of pure grouchy ax-grinding and get anything productive from your screed here?

Just to clarify, we includes the record label I founded, the researchers who spent 10 years putting together the box set, and the numerous musicians, collaborators, estates, publishers, and artists whose work we licensed to complete the set. Doesn’t really matter to me that BB didn’t cover it, but just figure that the publication would do a little homework before allowing someone to basically say the label and everyone who contributed to the box set are chopped liver.

Insult away, I’ve heard it from way worse than some writer at BB. Note thought that I’m not one to let a slight go unnoticed.

And, yeah, what’s Lange’s hometown, I thought he was from Pittsburgh. You may have noticed, Peter was from Bay Village.

Like I said, either Lange’s research is half-done or the journalism is lazy, case in point:

“He once auditioned to play guitar in the seminal punk band Television…”

That never happened. If Lange had bothered to talk to Verlaine or Lloyd, he’d know it never happened. There’s a story about the incident though, I’ll let you figure it out.

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You are criticizing this book without having even read it yet. The advance copy that I have was given to me by the author before the official release date. Lange did not set out to disparage the work of you or your team with his statement. You’re projecting here and need a nap, nobody has set out to insult you.

You address the journalistic integrity of AIF, but the Lange book wanders freely into fantasy-like territory, connecting the founding fathers of Cleveland to everything from the river catching fire to Harvey Pekar. It’s a visual head trip that is meant to be enjoyed as a piece of art. It is not a formal record of events, but also includes an index out of respect to the multiple sources of material. This does not in any way diminish the power of the work as a whole.

This isn’t just the Peter Laughner story. AIF is about an entire city, a larger culture, and this graphic artist is sharing that perspective with his readers. Lange has earned that right.

And for the record: Aaron Lange owns a home in Cleveland and pays taxes just like everyone else up there. If this fails to meet your standards, I don’t know what to tell you.

In terms of Tom Verlaine auditioning Laughner for Television, The New York Times reported that it happened in this piece:

You are free to contradict their version of events in that comment thread, as you have seen fit to do so here.


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