This month is the 20th anniversary of Alice Cooper’s The Last Temptation and its accompanying comic book mini-series. Alice started in comics with an appearance in 1979, later using them to promote his 1994 album, The Last Redemption – with none other than Marvel and Sandman’s Neil Gaiman penning the series. In order to celebrate this landmark crossover we look back at some of the best comic book heavy metal mash-ups around!
The Best Comic/Metal Mash-Ups
Ten of the best instances of metal and comics colliding
Rock 'n' Roll Comics (Various Artists)
Rock ‘n’ Roll comics series, published by Revolutionary comics started up in 1989. They unofficially profiled and featured major bands including Guns ‘n’ Roses, Motley Crue, KISS, Frank Zappa and Metallica. Most of the bands were supportive of this comic book tribute, but some weren’t so fond of the idea, including GNR who sent Revolutionary a “cease and desist” order, leading to fans being worried the comic would be sued and buying up all the copies!
Eternal Descent (Gus G, Wayne Static, Atreyu)
This band/comic really blurs the lines between metal and comics. Eternal Descent are a real band, okay not ‘real’ – but they are a virtual metal band, the brainchild of one man, Llexi Leon, and his collaborations with some pretty sweet living musicians. Published by IDW, the exploits of the band are chronicled in their very own comic with cameos from legendary musicians such as Gus G and Wayne Static. The characters even have their very own custom ESP guitars.
Psycho Circus + more (KISS)
According to Steven Tyler, in an interview with Florida radio station The Bone, KISS are a “comic book rock band”, but the thing is they have no shame in admitting it – their merchandise has heavily involved comic books and comic imagery since appearing in Howard The Duck in 1977. They later worked on their very own superhero series with Marvel and notably a 1997 Image series titled, Psycho Circus. Despite all the members except Gene Simmons reportedly hating comic books, they are the most heavily featured rock band in comic book history.
Verotik Comics (Glenn Danzig)
Danzig’s comic ventures, unsurprisingly, aren’t as tame as some of the other metal mash-ups. His company, Verotik comics – a word coined by the man himself merging 'violence' with 'erotic' – publish adult-themed horror comics. Verotik’s Grub Girl by Edward Lee was made into a pornographic movie back in 2006 featuring plenty of necrophilia action, if that’s your thing. We won’t judge… much.
Slave Pit Funnies featuring GWAR (GWAR)
GWAR had some real input into their 90s comic book series, they wrote some of the stories and even illustrated their own characters. A must-have for Gwarriors, it’s pretty much a comic version of their infamous shows – plenty of over the top gore, monsters and general insanity. If that isn’t enough, GWAR even have their own Gwartoon, check it out on Funny Or Die and pay a personal tribute to Oderus Urungus.
The Amory Wars (Coheed And Cambria)
Coheed frontman Claudio Sanchez writes this ongoing series published by Evil Ink Comics. Similarly to Corey Taylor’s comic book crossover, Sanchez writes both his song lyrics and comic books as chapters in his saga. Each album tells a part of his science fiction story – the main characters being husband and wife, Coheed and Cambria. It has been announced that the series will be adapted into a film series starring Marky Mark Wahlberg, let’s see if that happens.
It is no secret that guitarist Scott Ian is a big comic book fan. Anthrax’s I Am The Law is widely known to be a tribute to 2000AD’s flagship comic, Judge Dredd. But Ian’s skills don’t stop at shredding – back in 2009 he tried his hand on some comic book writing. Ian re-imagined DC comics anti-hero, Lobo, who is full of rage and destruction, a match made in rock star heaven.
Cryptic Writings (Megadeth)
Back in 1997 with the release of Cryptic Writings, Megadeth collaborated with Chaos! Comics to bring Dave Mustaine’s lyrics to life. Cryptic Writings of Megadeth was a four-part miniseries visualising their entire album’s narrative. The characters including the band’s mascot, Vic Rattlehead, of course.
Rob Zombie Presents… (Rob Zombie)
There is nothing Rob Zombie hasn’t tried his hand at: mastering metal, hammering out horror and of course conquering comic books. His first comic book series, Spookshow International, was a hit and spawned nine editions. Since then he has collaborated with Dark Horse Comics, IDW and Image publishers to create an array of horror themed comics ripe for the picking.
House Of Gold & Bones (Stone Sour)
Corey Taylor had this story idea of a human and his journey home through a world invested with zombie-like people while on the road with Slipknot. He wrote Stone Sour’s concept albums, House Of Gold & Bones Pt1&2 and collaborated with Dark Horse for a four-part limited edition comic book mini-series to bring his story to life. Taylor has expressed an interest in further expanding his story to the big screen but that is yet to materialise.
Honorable Mention: Fear Factory
Fear Factory collaborated with Ben Templesmith, renowned comic book artist known for his work on IDW’s 30 Days of Night series for their 2004 DVD release, Bite The Hand That Bleeds and Related Archetypal Imagery. Templesmith, a big Fear Factory fan, created a fold-out album art poster for the band, further cementing the bond between comics and metal!