Intended for readers ages 15+ due to mature language, Blackwax Boulevard: Five Years, What a Surprise (2012-2017) is a black-and-white anthology of the slice-of-life webcomic series. "Blackwax" refers to an obscure vinyl record store that is a haven for music lovers. Main characters include an intellectual, African-American vinyl enthusiast with a speech impediment; his tough-as-nails cab driver older brother; the aging hippie store owner, and the irascibly practical store employee Veronica. The local neighborhood is gentrifying, which places an immense financial strain on everyone as business and residence rents skyrocket. Blackwax Boulevard reflects the author's love of vinyl music, and the gritty day-to-day realities of urban life, with a bold, lively flair that makes it a treat for connoisseurs of independent graphic novels. Highly recommended!
Blackwax Boulevard: Five Years, What A Surprise (2012-2017)
Dmitri Jackson, author
Blackwax Boulevard is the weirdest, grimiest, most obscure record store in all comics. Thus, by hipster-definition, also the coolest! This anthology collects the first five years of the Glyph-nominated webcomic that follows nerds, metalheads, manic pixies, bohos, hobos and every music lover in between as they explore life, pop culture and the eternally dusty record bin. Anything goes when the needle drops at Blackwax! Contains over 200 high-def pages from the original minicomics, plus a new introduction comic. Ages 15+.
Record stores might be struggling for survival, but in this warmhearted tribute to the joys of music shopping, they are positively flush with camaraderie. Marsalis, an employee of record store Blackwax Boulevard, is a stuttering nerd whose devotion to vinyl is as impressive as he is insufferable in extolling it. Alongside rockabilly Veronika and metalhead Hardy, they indulge Green Day–loving grade schoolers and preening hipsters alike in the decaying city they call home. Jackson creates an honest, believable world where the cool girl behind the counter struggles with addiction and the quirky owner isn’t always diligent about managing his diabetes. Marsalis’s desire to succeed as an aspiring music critic and community activist, meanwhile, chafes disastrously against his crippling anxiety. The store and its denizens pulse with life, rendered in Jackson’s expertly chunky inking: everything from Veronika’s tattoos to the shop’s eternal clutter feels right-on. Readers won’t just want to visit Blackwax (or get inspired to drop by their real local indie, if it’s still standing) by the last page—they’ll feel like a part of the gang. (Booklife)
Midwest Book Review