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The High Desert: Black. Punk. Nowhere.

The High Desert: Black. Punk. Nowhere. cover

The High Desert: Black. Punk. Nowhere.

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Winner of a 2022 ALA Alex Award

Winner of the 2023 Cartoonist Studio Prize for Print Comics

One of The Washington Post's 10 Best Graphic Novels of 2022 * One of NYPL's Best Books of 2022 *A Publishers Weekly "Best Book of 2022" 

A formative coming-of-age graphic memoir by the creator of Afro-punk: a young man’s immersive reckoning with identity, racism, clumsy teen love and belonging in an isolated California desert, and a search for salvation and community through punk.

Apple Valley, California, in the late eighties, a thirsty, miserable desert.

Teenage James Spooner hates that he and his mom are back in town after years away. The one silver lining—new school, new you, right? But the few Black kids at school seem to be gangbanging, and the other kids fall on a spectrum of micro-aggressors to future Neo-Nazis. Mixed race, acutely aware of his Blackness, James doesn't know where he fits until he meets Ty, a young Black punk who introduces him to the school outsiders—skaters, unhappy young rebels, caught up in the punk groundswell sweeping the country.

A haircut, a few Sex Pistols, Misfits and Black Flag records later: suddenly, James has friends, romantic prospects, and knows the difference between a bass and a guitar. But this desolate landscape hides brutal, building undercurrents: a classmate overdoses, a friend must prove himself to his white supremacist brother and the local Aryan brotherhood through a show of violence. Everything and everyone are set to collide at one of the year's biggest shows in town...

Weaving in the Black roots of punk rock and a vivid interlude in the thriving eighties DIY scene in New York's East Village, this is the memoir of a budding punk, artist, and activist.

JAMES SPOONER is an accomplished tattoo artist, illustrator, and filmmaker. He directed the seminal documentary Afro-Punk. Spooner is also the co-founder of the Afro-punk Festival. Spooner’s work has appeared in NPR, Vice, The Village Voice, The New Yorker, Vibe, Fader, MTV, NBC News, and Variety. He is an ongoing guest curator for the Broad Museum in Los Angeles, and previously programmed for the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

ISBN: 9780358659112

ISBN-10: 9780358659112

Publisher: Harper

Publication Date: 05/17/2022 - 12:00am

On Sale: 05/17/2022 - 12:00am

Pages: 368

Language: English

Categories

Comics & Graphic Novels / Nonfiction / Biography & Memoir

Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs

Biography & Autobiography / Cultural, Ethnic & Regional / African American & Black

Music / Genres & Styles / Punk