If there’s only one graphic novel you buy this year, “The High Desert: Black, Punk, Nowhere” should be it. It’s a poignant, deeply personal account of author James Spooner’s experience coming of age as black kid in an isolated , mostly white high-desert town in rural Southern California.
It was there as a teen he discovered punk music and found identity and friends in its sub-culture. Spooner eventually founded the influential Afro-Punk Festival in New York City and produced the documentary film about the growing Afro-Punk music scene in the U.S.
“The High Desert” is a beautifully drawn memoir that gives the reader a deep dive into the origins of a thriving musical movement that for many years had been on the margins, long overlooked and unidentified by mainstream culture.