March 11th, 2015 by Amelia
Mike “Rufio” Kadomiya art is a staple on the MRR Friday Funnies [returning this week! —ed.] and he himself is a long-running character in the Boston punk scene. His art has been featured on records such as the WHO KILLED SPIKEY JACKET? LP and even a very limited reissue of a TOM & BOOT BOYS pogo punk Christmas split on Total Fucker Records. His comics are called Life is Posers and there have even been two books released. Rufio’s witty and biting social commentary on the street punk scene and punk in general displays an intelligent humor while getting us to laugh at ourselves. Here is Rufio on Life is Posers…
Did you grow up reading comics? If so, what?
I’ve been reading comics in all forms, for as long as I can remember. I have never been a big reader, comics were as close as I got reading books. Garfield was my first real favorite. Newspaper strips like Garfield, Calvin and Hobbes, and even Foxtrot, were all huge influences for Life is Posers. I also collected comic books in the 90s. I was really into Image and Marvel. Unfortunately, this is when comics were at their pinnacle of juvenile misogyny. It was a pretty abysmal era, but there were a few decent reads here and there.
How’d you start doing comics?
I have been drawing, and drawing comics since I was a little kid. That’s the beauty of comics, it really doesn’t take anything more than a pencil and a sheet of paper to “start doing” them.
Why commentary on punk?
Like all of my creative output, if I make something I make it because it doesn’t exist yet. When I write a song it’s because I wanna listen to a song that doesn’t exist yet. The same goes for my comic. Obviously Life is Posers isn’t the first “punk” comic ever created, but I do think that I’m telling a story that hasn’t been told in this format. Also, in my adult life I have acquired no skills and no education. I guess punk is the only thing that I truly understand.
What specific punk scene did you come up in?
I grew up in Cambridge (just over the river from Boston). When I first started going to shows, they were either at the Rat (RIP) or the Middle East, with a handful of shows at churches and basements. If it wasn’t at shows, I was hanging out in Harvard Square. Back then it was just called the “punk scene.” Once I got older and started touring, etc., I guess people would say that I was part of the “street punk”/”spiky punk”/”chaos punk ” scene? But I’ve always tried to just surround myself with people I like, regardless of their scene affiliation.
What were your first shows?
My very first show was at the Rat in 1996. The lineup was the SHOWCASE SHOWDOWN, ANTI-FLAG, the UNSEEN, the DUCKY BOYS, and the FREEEKS. I was blown away by my first show at the Rat. I saw a bunch of people who weren’t much older than me, playing great cohesive songs and they were on a stage that was only a foot high. When they got off the stage they were standing around in the crowd just like the rest of us. It felt really special and inspiring at the time. Later in life I would go on to play guitar for the UNSEEN, and the guitarist and bassist from the SHOWCASE SHOWDOWN are my current landlords.
What’s it like now in Boston?
Right now in Boston the scene, and every faction of it, is huge. I feel like today the US is experiencing what I imagined the UK to be like in the early 80s. All youth culture is subculture. It is great in a way, and it means a very active and strong scene. However, when all youth culture is subculture, all subculture is subject to being a noncommittal phase for some — just another part of going through the motions of modern life.
The Boston scene is as good to me today as it ever was. I’m on the older side and I’ve known all the cool kids the longest (kidding, sort of) so it’s hard to know what the scene is really like. I know it is just as lousy with bullies and sociopaths as it ever was, I just don’t really fall victim to that element anymore. But overall, there’s a lot of people Tim (Total Fucker), Kimberly Jane and Chris Peeples (to name a few) are working really hard to make sure there’s always something to do and somewhere to go. In that sense I think the scene is stronger than it has ever been.
The only thing that makes me really sad is the lack of really young kids. Most of my friends and I started going to shows around 13 and 14 years old. That was the norm. Nowadays there aren’t nearly as many young kids at the shows I go to. The scene is really underground and most shows happen at illegal venues or 18–21+ venues. It’s a lot less accessible for a 14-year-old these days. Before I come off like a pedophile, I should clarify that I’m not disappointed in the lack of 14-year-olds to hang out with, I’m bummed at the lack of places for 14-year-olds to hang out.
Do you get a lot of local support?
All of my friends in the Boston scene have been super supportive of everything I’ve done with Life is Posers.
Who has used your art?
I’ve done fliers and posters for the BOUNCING SOULS, the VIRUS, TOM & BOOT BOYS, REVOLT and AUTONOMY. I’ve done album artwork for WHO KILLED SPIKEY JACKET? and NO SIR, I WON’T. My friend Sam from Montreal who I knew from INESPSY just sent me shirts of his new band, SKULL N BONE, which had my characters in the design. There are also a few international fans translating the comic and releasing it online and in print in their own languages.
That’s really cool to be a part of the international punk scene in that way. Do you think the art you did for WKSJ increased your popularity?
Nobody expected that record to be as huge as it was. I think that the exposure mutually benefited the band and the comic.
Didn’t you release a book?
So far I’ve released two books: LiPV1 “Howie’s House Party” and LiPV2 “Aftermath.” LiPV3 “A Hard Day’s Oi!” will hopefully be out by the end of the year! You can get stuff here: lifeisposers.bigcartel.com.
What are your future plans?
Smash Art is about to release a punk comp called Destroy Poserton — 14 unreleased tracks from some really great bands! Otherwise, my plan is to keep up regular LiP strips for as long as I find it fulfilling to do so.
Any last words, punk?
Not any time soon, I hope.