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Marvel Premire (Issue 50)
Alice Cooper (Book review)
Released: 1979, Marvel Comics
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 (21013), Slayer (2016) and Judas Priest (2017). Please feel free to enjoy all the reviews in this feature.
In the mid-70’s Hard Rock and Heavy Metal were in infancy but high-profile, artists like Kiss and Alice cooper with their elaborate stage shows and strong imagery were a natural fit for comics. Back in the 70’s Marvel Comics ran a book called Marvel Premiere…kind of a catch-all book, and a place to try new ideas or revamp new characters. It started in 1972 and ran for 61 issues until the summer of 1981. Issue #50 of this series remains perhaps the most known and valuable because it was the first appearance of Alice Cooper. It is a standard comic, 32 pages, printed on the sort of newsprint of bulk comics back in the day.
According to a brief essay inside, Alice Cooper was involved in the production of the book but as history has shown us, Vincent Furnier (Alice) was in the depth of his addictions and freely admits he recalls very little if anything of the late 70’s and early 80’s. The comic book is based on the 1978 Warner Brothers album FROM THE INSIDE which Alice wrote and recorded based on his experiences and the people he met while he was ‘inside’. More specifically the album and comic and based on when he admitted himself into a sanitarium.
All of the characters are there, Jackknife Johnny, the disturbed Vietnam veteran, the mildly sadistic Nurse Rozetta, Mille And Billie, even his pet snake Veronica makes an appearance. The story is fast paced, frantic and absolutely packed with Marvel and other comic and pop-culture in-jokes. Characters such as Hulk, Submariner, Popeye, R2-D2 and even Archie show up in the insane asylum. The dialogue is fast and funny with tons of jokes and quips. I’m sure the writers had a blast with this one. The story is quite simple, Alice gets mistakenly dumped in the looney bin, escapes and gets recaptured. The end is a bit creepy and in the Alice style the comic does not have a happy ending!
This review is certainly steeped in nostalgia because not only am I huge Alice Cooper fan, I bought this comic when it came out and still own it today. Depending on condition this book will run anywhere from $20.00 to $90.00. For me, it’s priceless and a neat piece, one of the very first Metal themed comics ever published.
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