Reviewed: October 2017
Released: 2017, Decibel Books
There third in the series of comic/art collaborations paying tribute to various bands.
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.
In a series with really limitless potential Decibel has come up with a cool idea where they solicit art and stories about a select band and then publish those contributions into a graphic novel. The first two bands getting the honour were Mercyful Fate and Celtic Frost were very cool (I reviewed them both on this site) and after a few year break, I’m glad to see the series continues on with Judas Priest.
The series thankfully continues on with the same, look, style and feel as the previous entries. In case you have not seen them, they are a small sized graphic novel, almost pocket size, but not quite. The paper is mid-grade and the art is in black and white and the quality is decent. The concept as mentioned is simple. Rudolph has selected cool contributions from fans of Judas Priest. Sometimes, it is an anecdote about meeting Rob Halford at a bar, sometimes it is a long passionate essay, and lots of them are cool illustrations and stories based on the lyrics of the Priest. Some are funny like ‘The Metal (Fashion) God (by Ed Luce) and some are dark, like the visual interpretation of ‘The Ripper’.
Some are modern, such as a neat visual adaptation of the more recent classic song ‘Halls Of Valhalla’ and some are just fun and original, like Rudolph and Deerings imagining of a Rob Halford nightmare called ‘Before The Dawn’.
There are tons of people who drop by to pay tribute to the Metal Gods: Joel Grind (Toxic Holocaust), Jeremy Wagner, (Broken Hope), Chris Reifert (Autopsy), Dan Swano, and even the god of thunder himself, The mighty Thor from Canada pens a nice note….interesting since they both started around 1974! There are probably 50 people all told involved in the creation of this fine tribute.
In one of my other reviews I had predicted that the next in the series could be (or should be!) Bathory and Venom to kind of round out a big four of early extreme Metal bands. Judas Priest is just as good a candidate for this third graphic novel in the series. These sell pretty fast so get on board today!