Comics and Hard Rock (and later Heavy Metal) have always been a natural pairing. From as far back as the 70’s with Kiss and Alice Cooper up to much more recent comic/band cross-over series (ie. GWAR and the forthcoming Iron Maiden comic) comics and graphic novels have been a cool and fun way to expand the cultural impact of Metal music. Bands that have a wide range in styles such as Evergrey to Jungle Rot to Rob Zombie have all produced comics of some fashion. This month I’m taking a look at a few of these Metal-themed comics, Alice Cooper (1979), Megadeth (1997), Hammerfall (2002), Thor (2011), Kiss (2013), Slayer (2016) and Judas Priest (2017). Please feel free to enjoy all the reviews in this feature.
Is this a CD that comes with a bonus comic or is it comic that comes with a bonus CD? Well, probably the former but that is inconsequential because this Hammerfall comic fits in nicely with my theme of the month and since I happen to own a copy I thought I might as well review it. On occasion Nuclear Blast will give a hot band the deluxe treatment and issue elaborate editions of albums and this is a prime example. Formally titled Crimson Thunder-Special Comic Edition, this hardbound book is a real neat collectible. It is about 30 pages, full-colour with the CD housed inside the front cover. The first 20 or so pages are the comic and the last 10 pages are the lyrics, liner notes and pictures from the album. This version also comes with a bonus cover tune, the Yngwie J. Malmsteen classic ‘Rising Force’.
The comic is interesting enough, it tells the tale of the creation and rise of Hector the band long standing mascot and the resurgence of the Templars of Steel. I must admit the artwork was not too my taste and the story was a little weak. The bands album covers are always so well done, courtesy of Andreas Marshall much of the time but this art is quite, ‘underdrawn’ for a lack of a better term and lacking in detail. The colours are also subdued and I feel it should have been big and bright It is epic and full of grandeur but the interjection of humour elements mostly fail in my opinion. The scene where a Templar moons a demon and the demon bites him on the ass, did little to add to the story, it actually detracts from the dark mood.
As a comic, it seems underdeveloped and maybe a bit rushed. The story just suddenly starts and stops, the narrative is a bit poor and there is not much action to speak of. Overall, I felt the conic was very average. The album is another matter, it is superb, the comic did not do it justice.
As I said before it is a neat collectors item, a must for all the true Templars of steel, but I very rarely go back and read the comic.