Be Your Own Backing Band collects Liz Prince’s comics for the punk rock zine Razorcake. Prince portrays her intense love relationship with punk rock and the way it’s affected her life. From self-inflicted dental issues to epic concert experiences, Be Your Own Backing Band is a fun collection of the heartfelt adventures of a punk rock fan.
Despite my unfamiliarity with the punk scene, I found plenty to enjoy. In addition to covering her experiences at punk shows and life on the DIY punk scene, Prince also portrays her love of certain songs and the related associations or memories—which is relatable regardless of your musical tastes. The collection as a whole feels a bit unfocused—it’s clear the stories are being at drawn at different times, and it’s hard to establish an exact timeline or narrative arc. That being said, the experiences are all portrayed in a heartwarming, humorous way that is fun and relaxing to read.
The artwork is in Prince’s characteristic expressive style; the panel layout and drawing style has a bit of a DIY feel that works well with the topic, and the drawings often portray humorous, over-the-top reactions of whatever the topic is, further contributing to this fun volume. There are some points where some of the lettering and panel spacing makes things hard to read, but most of the time it is clear. Readers who owned the black and white version will be excited to know that this version is in full color!
Punk fans will likely get the most out of this collection, but fans of Prince’s previous work will also find plenty to enjoy here. Be Your Own Backing Band would be a great acquisition for punk, DIY, Razorcake, and Prince fans. This volume is softcover, and it doesn’t look there is a hardback version—so that is something to keep in mind. Nevertheless, if a library’s patron base includes any of the aforementioned fans, purchasing Be Your Own Backing Band might be worth considering. This volume has a couple of middle fingers and swear words, so this would likely be best for older teens and adults.
Be Your Own Backing Band
By Liz Prince
Silver Sprocket, 2018
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NFNT Age Recommendation: Older Teen (16-18), Adult (18+)