Finally sat down with my Satan is Alive playlist and listened/read my way through the book.
It's really pretty damn cool.
Lemme back up. I pre-ordered this mofo via Mark Rudolph's Kickstarter project as soon as I got the link. What a rad idea. Interpret the songs of Mercyful Fate in a comic book format? Fuckin' sign me up already.
Mark actually hand-delivered the books to Ferndale, although I wasn't in when he stopped by. My first impression was actually, "holy crap, this is physically smaller than I anticipated." I was a bit let down with the small-ish size. I expected something akin to traditional U.S. comic books. This is more like a large postcard. It's a two color litho cover on matte uncoated stock (butcher paper-ish), with a one color text weight inside. Production value is pretty high. Definitely a quality product.
The book is sandwiched with some forewords and afterwords by a lot of heavy hitters in the metal scene from "E" from Watain to Fenriz to Phil Anselmo. There's a lot of dudes throwing in their 2 cents about what Mercyful Fate means to them. Impressive roster, but nothing all that cool. It's straight. The meat and potatoes is yet to come.
The book kicks off with the Mad Arab and I really dig the way the artist fills the frame. I don't know who it is because there's no attribution that I can see. No table of contents. If you catch a signature, cool, but if not, it's a bit of a guessing game for each installment. Anyway, whoever this is is one of my favorite contributors. I like the lettering and the frenzy in the art. It's just really well composed.
Bruno Guerreiro is up next and paints a picture in stark contrast to the opener. His stuff is real cool, but it's more like a series of separate stills, rather than a continuous flow. Oh, before Bruno there's a one page entry by Tom Neely and it's fucking amazing. You'll see. It will be xeroxed and used for flyers from here til eternity.
Rudoph is up next and pens a great installment, really giving life to a corpse with no soul. Then someone tackles Melissa with a quirky style that's a nice contrast to the slick work before him. It's cool to see so many takes on the same subject.
Vasilis Lolos comes out of left field with some really angular shit. It's like the prog-rock of comic books. Really cool. Sandman-esque at times. Bizarre, but it keeps you coming back to his stark stylized visions.
Ed Luce does Black Funeral next. I like how he didn't take it too literally or seriously and was able to just have fun and interpret the lyrics his own way. Hats off for the originality.
Nick Green's story is a bit of a waste in my opinion. Immature and sort of pointless. But that's alright cuz Tom Neely gets back in the mix with my favorite artwork again. This dude rules. His art's got a painterly depth to it at times. Love it.
ChuckBB of Decibel fame delivers his installment after we get a visit from the Mad Arab again. Chuck's work is big and bold and really fits Evil well. It's just in your face and is a great complement to the song. I love the last frame. Fucking awesome.
Rudolph pops up again with Satan's Fall and does an excellent job. It's like a freakin music video as you read along. He definitely has a great way of storyboarding a compelling narrative. All the frames fall right into place, you're singing along and reading the book...it just works. He could have done a whole album's worth of illustrations and you wouldn't be bored. Who knows what he has in store based on the success of this one? I'd like to see Misfits Earth A.D. illustrated from beginning to end...Mark?
Tim Sievert's installment is cool. I like his interpretation of the lyrics. Cool depictions. Most artists managed to infuse something original to take the concepts one step away from King Diamond's lyrics. One step beyond, but in a parallel path. So it's all good.
Mark Thompson is up next and his last panel is like 2001 a Space Odyssey meets Anton LaVey. Sweet!
I'm not a fan of J. Bennett's writing. His story is pretty humorous for once. But again, sort of pointless. I can take it or leave it.
There's a timeline and then the afterword by Phil Anselmo. All in all a really unique concept that we're lucky saw the light of day. It's a well-executed volume and I hope it's the beginning of something bigger. I'd love to see a series of books in the same vein.
Pick it up! Ave Satanas!