I found this little slice of three parts awesome, seven parts balls-out insane on eBay, and because of the cover alone I had to have it.
It just looked like it would either be as unintentionally hilarious as one of the crazier Chick Tracts or as unintentionally terrifying as one of the crazier Chick Tracts. Turns out it’s somewhere in the middle of funny and scary (it definitely leans more towards scary), but my on-a-hunch Chick Tract comparison was dead-on. It’s almost *exactly* what you can imagine an anti-Boy Band Chick Tract would look like.
I say “almost” only because Jack Chick probably does not have a personal vendetta against the New Kids on the Block (OK, you never know with him, but that’s not important right now.)
Turns out Fall of the New Kids has a more interesting origin story that I’d suspected. The authors of this comic book *did* have a vendetta against the New Kids, and they made no mistake about it. It seems they had published an earlier unauthorized comic about New Kids on the Block, and it looks like it contained material that the band was none too pleased with (not a bit surprising if Fall is any indication). After a messy fight, the New Kids agreed to drop charges as long as the comic publisher didn’t use their official logo. The publisher remained extremely bitter. And I know all of this because they complain about the incident for four pages. And the inside front and back cover too.
And so what I am holding in my hot little hands is a book written during the waning years of the NKOTB era written entirely by NKOTB haters. It’s fun if you can stand loads and loads of libel (nearly all of their “shocking stories” sound an awful lot like urban myths from that time) and a great reminder that, while fandoms can be scary, hatedoms can be worse.
Note: I’ve since learned that the story of Rock ‘N’ Roll Comics is a truly fascinating one.
The Best Parts:
Inner Cover – Props to the New Kids. So far they’ve inadvertently had me modify my format for albums and comics.
Anyhow, here’s the editor’s giant filibuster defending his right to say whatever the heck he wants about whoever the heck he wants. After he was sued by the New Kids. So yeah.
Page 2 Panel 6 – Or maybe “Merry, Merry Christmas” didn’t sell because it was a seasonal album. Also, as we’ve seen (or heard rather), it was pretty terrible.
Page 3 – When did the Dread Pirate Roberts and Vanilla Ice work for Reverend Jesse Jackson? Wait…
Page 6 Panel 4 – I wonder if that number still works. Hmm… (Eyes her phone.) Hmmm…..
Page 7 Panel 6 – AAAAUUUUUUUGH!!!!!
Page 9 Panel 5 – You know, for all the grief that Magic Summer Coke promotion caused, it’s a wonder this book doesn’t discuss it more. You’d think it’d be an easy target.
Page 10 – Well, I just found my avatar for 4/20.
Page 10 Panel 3 – “LOL ‘Wang’ Center!”
Seriously, that’s one of their jokes. >:/
Page 12 Panel 3 – Their depiction of the marketing frenzy is pretty accurate (and another thing I’m surprised they don’t make fun of more). But there was NO New Kids video game!
Page 13 Panel 1 – I actually do have a copy of Our Story. It’s not as interesting as you’d expect.
Page 15 – OK, this is where the book, which has been unintentionally funny in all the right ways, takes a very nasty turn. And the thing is, I have heard this rumor. But the way I heard it started with – seriously – “A friend of a friend said they knew somebody who had to offer herself to each New Kid just to meet her favorite!” The bold part is where you can usually stop listening, so unless anyone comes forth, I’ll have to consider this a very mean-spirited urban myth.
Page 16 Panel 6 – On a lighter note, the “Donnie and Flavor Flav are BFFs” thing actually did happen. Even as a kid, I thought it was awkward.
Page 17 Panel 1 – I don’t know if “Donnie tries to be friends with Axel Rose” ever happened, but I want to believe.
Page 20 Panel 3 – Boy oh boy, would I like to see their sources here.
Page 21 – After the main story, we get an excerpt from an abandoned project, the creatively titled New Kids Hate Book. It defies description, so you’ll have to find this and read it if you are curious. Just know that it has nothing to do with New Kids on the Block, or the fandom, or anything really. But it does have everything to do with hate. Specifically, the hate crimes that rose during the late 80’s as girls who listened to a boy band became juvenile delinquents. Surely you remember this actually happening?
I searched for this “We’re so big we can get our fans to murder their parents” quote apparently published in N.M.E. and, funnily enough, it doesn’t seem to be real.
Page 25 – How about some mood whiplash? The next segment of the comic is a Mad Magazine “the Lighter Side” style satire of NKOTB fan-dumb. It’s pretty funny, and sadly prescient of current fandoms too.
Page 27 – And finally, a comic reenactment of the Revolutionary Comics / New Kids on the Block lawsuit clusterf***. Todd Loren, may he rest in peace (and avoid any rock stars who might be angry at him in the afterlife), has some decent points to make about free speech. Decent, yes, but that still doesn’t make libel okay.
Classic Quotes and Excerpts:
“We’ll kill you and your crew! I don’t care! I’m into Dune, right? Lots of us are. Sandworms are the highest form of life. They manipulate the media for us.” – A character in New Kids Hate Book, Page 23. Is it me or is this the intimidating speech version of Mad Libs?
Things I Learned from this Book:
* – Fans are mean.
* – The New Kids on the Block suck and if you like them you’re stupid.
* – The New Kids on the Block are also over forever. This is the last we’ll ever hear from them.
Funny how the almost complete opposite thing happened instead. And honestly, that kind of casts an uncomfortable irony over this comic, doesn’t it?
Things That Can Save Any Book:
Creative Ideas? You can’t say they aren’t creative…
Nifty Illustrations? OK, um… strictly speaking as an illustrator who is interested in working in comics, the art in the main part of this book will make your eyes bleed. The final section is good though.
Drinking Game Potential? Drink when you remember hearing something from the main part. Drink twice if you heard it as an urban myth.
Danny saying scary things -that are probably made up- about being able to get his fans to kill for him.
Rock ‘N’ Roll Comics # 39: The Fall of the New Kids copyright 1991 to Revolutionary Comics, San Diego, CA.
ISBN #: 781879353138 Incidentally, for a comic with such a crazy story behind it, copies are surprisingly easy to find online. Check eBay, if I’ve piqued your curiosity.
The Stephanie Meyer Comic! – Reviewed at Comics Alliance. This kind of comic still survives into the Zilches, just so you know.