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KID ANARCHY (The Angry Rednecks!)

A teenage anarchist learns the essence of punk - in Podunk. It’s a classic coming of angst story set to a melodic early eighties punk soundtrack.”

Memphis, 1984: TOMMY DELANEY (15) is more sensitive than most. His mother CANDY (37) is an uncaring drunk and his father is a distant memory. Tommy loses himself in the city life of skateboarding, making noise on his guitar, and adapting the look of punkers that he sees gravitating around the Antenna Club, a venue that he is too young to enter. But that doesn’t stop him from trying.

Notorious bouncer REBEL (23) catches Tommy inside the club and tosses him out across the street. Tommy cusses Rebel out and enrages him even more. Rebel jumps on his ever-present motorcycle and chases Tommy into a nearby alley. Tommy hides until the danger is past then finds a red spray paint can at his boot. As soon as Tommy spray paints a large anarchy symbol in the dark alley, the cops are on his tail. Tommy runs up the stairs of an abandoned building, finds himself on the roof, and with the cops in hot pursuit, Tommy LEAPS to the adjoining roof. Victory is his, but not for long. The roof collapses, taking Tommy with it.

Tommy, physically unhurt, is arrested and is soon being hauled one hundred miles away to a small town in Mississippi called Yamston to live with his mother’s sister PAM BOONE (40) and her laid back husband JOE BOONE (42). Tommy has struck a deal with his mother that she will come down and pick Tommy up in a couple of weeks though Joe is doubtful of Candy’s promises. Regardless, it was the only way to get Tommy in his beat-up truck. Tommy takes his battered amp and guitar, his punk cassettes and the clothes on his back.

Once there, Aunt Pam expects Tommy to be one with the family, but Tommy would rather test her will. Tommy reveals at the Boone supper table that he doesn’t want to pray because he doesn’t believe in God. Furthermore, he has no interest in going to school “with a bunch of rednecks”. Tommy’s cousin, a sixteen-year old (loin-cloth wearing) SAM BOONE is oblivious to anarchy, expecting Tommy to play guitar in his Ted Nugent cover band “White Wolf”. Tommy insults Sam’s corporate taste in rock music, bragging (lying) that he played in a punk band at the Antenna Club in Memphis. Pam looks up “anarchy” in the dictionary and worries.

Tommy, always with a chip on his shoulder, sees a Yamston deputy talking to a black teenager. Tommy makes it a point to give the cop a civil-rights lesson before realizing everyone in this town knows each other – except for Tommy. African-American bespectacled intellectual SHERMAN KRELLBERG (15) motorbikes Tommy around in his rickety side-car and they become fast-friends, eating dough burgers at a grease-pit called Snappy Snacks. At an impromptu practice, Tommy urges Sherman to play bass and Sam to play drums. Yamston’s first punk band is born. And boy, are they awful.

Tommy doesn’t see the point of attending school since Candy is coming to get him in two weeks, but he will do so to humor the Boones. Tommy’s new English teacher assigns George Orwell’s “1984” as a book project. Tommy blurts out The Dead Kennedy’s song “California Uber Alles” with the quote “now it’s 1984.” The teacher picks up on the reference and Tommy is mightily impressed.

Dressed in simple black, a beautiful chestnut haired Yamston-born English teacher who attended college in Memphis, saw bands at the Antenna Club and knows Dead Kennedy lyrics? Tommy falls hard for his new teacher NINA MOORE (25).

The next friend is no teenager either. In an effort to impress Tommy, Sam introduces him to someone a little different. CHUCK MOONCHOW (30) is Sam’s pot buddy. Tommy has never met an adult before like Chuck: a shirtless redneck stoner-philosopher whose life seems to revolve around role-playing a buffoonish wizard, making pot brownies, painting bad folk art, claiming to be from another planet, and waiting by the phone to get laid. Tommy plays Dungeons and Dragaons against his will and senses that Chuck sees through his abrasiveness - but Tommy likes him anyway. It is Chuck who gives the boys their band name: The Angry Rednecks.

Pam and Joe try their best to make Tommy feel at home by ignoring his vulgarities. Tommy tries to make the most of a bad situation, despite the fact that he must wear Sam’s old hand me down clothes. Pam encourages Tommy to call Candy on their phone, but Candy never answers. Pam sees the worry building up inside Tommy, but he refuses to talk about anything but Memphis.

Sam and Sherman have heard enough about Memphis. They want to see a punk band play, speculating that it might make The Angry Rednecks a better band. While Pam and Joe are looking the other way, Sam, Sherman, and a reluctant Tommy sneak out of the house for a road trip to the Antenna Club. Once arrvied and refused admittance, Tommy is mortified when Rebel tells Sam and Sherman that Tommy has never played the club much less spent more than five minutes inside. Tommy is caught in his lie but Sam and Sherman do not judge him. In a moment of punk solidarity, Sam knocks over Rebels motorcycle and the boys take off running for their lives. Rebel swears to kill them all if he ever sees their faces again.

To make matters worse, Tommy spots his mother Candy in the bar across the street. He storms into the bar and confronts his shocked (and drunken) mother about not answering her phone. This leads to a battle royale with her drunken boyfriend in which Sam and Sherman come to the (underage) rescue of Tommy. The teens return to Yamston with a few bruises and a new shared secret.

Back in Yamston and frustrated with his inability to show his English teacher how he feels, Tommy begins to write a love song for Nina based on the lusty, filthy one liners that are written in her honor on the bathroom stalls. Meanwhile Pam and Joe put Tommy’s 16th birthday party into motion (whether he likes it or not).

Tommy’s 16th birthday party goes horribly awry. Neither Candy nor Nina (the secret love of his life) decide to show. Then Sam surprises Tommy with White Wolf performing “Cat Scratch Fever” as an opener. Tommy finally snaps during the first Angry Rednecks song, wrecking the party and smashing the Deputy’s windshield with a microphone stand. In anger, Tommy tears off on Sherman’s motorbike in search of Nina (and to escape the pissed off Deputy).

Hiding from the Deputy, Tommy secretly finds Nina at home, having sex with Chuck. Tommy’s notions of fairness and love are shattered repeatedly. These people were beginning to grow on him and become his friends. Now he realizes they are just like everybody else.

The reversals continue. The next day at school Nina sends Tommy to the principals office to get a paddling for misbehaving in class while reading “1984”. The Boones are not pleased and ground Tommy, taking away his guitar. Later Nina surprises an angry Tommy at Chuck’s D&D game, where she apologizes to Tommy. Nina relates to Tommy and thinks he is gifted. Perhaps she even feels emotions for him but guards herself as much as Tommy. Nina reminds Tommy that the book report for “1984” is coming up soon. Tommy falls deeper in love with Nina.

While grounded and left alone by the Boone family for the weekend, Tommy finds his guitar and shows up on Nina’s porch to play her his finished love song. The song deeply affects Nina on many levels. Tommy tries to kiss Nina and she lets him. Then she kisses Tommy back. It’s a moment lost to time. Immediately Nina snaps to her senses, realizes that she has done a wrong thing, and stops Tommy’s advances. In defiance, a shattered Tommy runs away, leaving his guitar on her porch swing. This time the town of Yamston will know his anger.

As darkness approaches, Tommy finds a spare brick laying on the sidewalk and lobs it through the hardware store window. He steals red spray paint and creates one anarchy symbol after another until the town looks like a teenage war zone. Tommy calms himself by finishing “1984” in the only place he feels safe, atop the town’s water tower underneath huge letters that spell YAMSTON. He tosses the book to the wind, then spray paints a huge red anarchy symbol on the tower for all to see; a crowning achievement of his destruction.

Guilt and fear and morning light form futility in Tommy’s troubled teenage mind. In seeking redemption for his anger, Tommy reaches out to Chuck Moonchow as ‘big brother’ and that Nina has saved his guitar and kept their secret. Then the Deputy arrives to arrest him. The Boones rally and unite around Tommy just as Candy appears desperately needing Tommy. Will Tommy head back to Memphis? He has a responsibility to clean up the town and begin his first steps toward being a man.
Tommy’s teenage crisis is avoided thanks to the people who love him – and being needed is all Tommy really ever wanted.

Kid Anarchy Outline copyright 2017 Mike McCarthy, Bart Shannon, George Cole.


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comic art


Caleb Johnson | Gayla De Guise


Kid Anarchy and characters created and owned by George Cole and Mike McCarthy
Images from Kid Anarchy #1, 2, 3, Published by Fantagraphics Books
Kid Anarchy Copyright 2012 George Cole, Mike McCarthy