The 10 best comic books, by Coheed's Claudio Sanchez
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Claudio Sanchez is a nerd, and he’s proud of it. He’s been blurring the lines between music and fantasy for the past 20 years with Coheed and Cambria, releasing concept album after concept album to tell stories based in his Amory Wars world. The most recent record, The Color Before The Sun, is the only one not to have its lyrical themes rooted in Claudio’s fictional universe.
Claudio is a big fan of comics. He owns his own publishing company, Evil Ink Comics and is responsible for titles such as The Amory Wars, Kill Audio and Key Of Z. He's currently working on the Translucid series, with his wife Chondra Echert. But how many comic books does he own currently?
“I’ve got so many now,” he laughs. “I was a kid, I might have been in third grade, and a friend and I went to these comic shops. We’d buy comics and little pewter figures to paint for Dungeons and Dragons, although we didn’t really get into that so much. We really gravitated more towards the comic books. I think a lot of it just had to do with the shit that our parents dressed us up in – as kids, we were wearing shirts that had Superman and The Incredible Hulk on them. These characters were already etched into our consciousness, we just needed to find them."
Common sense dictated that we challenge Claudio to pick his top 10 favourite comic books, sit back and take notes…
BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN
This is one of my favourite Batman stories of all time. I like the way [writer] Jeph Loeb incorporated The Godfather themes in it. I also liked the way he utilised the Calendar Man character [an enemy of Batman who commits crimes on significant dates]. I very much fell in love with that character. I bought an original piece from the following story, Dark Victory, which has Calendar Man breaking out of this glass mirror and pointing a gun at Alberto Falcone, who had a big hand in The Long Halloween, and he has this like iconic line about time and being forgotten. The theme was that there was a murder every holiday, there was something about it that was very inspiring to me.
It’s written so cinematically, the way the panels move and the way the language is portrayed in the book. It’s just beautiful. It would probably be my number one of all time, in terms of superhero books.
This one’s by Alejandro Jodorowsky. It’s a science fiction epic about these characters called The Metabarons – warriors with a strict code of honour and rites inspired by Samurai culture. I think the art’s fantastic. It’s illustrated by Juan Gimenez. It looks beautiful and it’s a dense story.
BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE
There’s one panel at the end where it’s the silhouette of Batman and the Joker and it’s very ambiguous, double meaning kind of panel where it almost looks like they’re sharing a laugh or that Batman could be strangling the joker. That panel in itself was the inspiration to the book that I wrote with my wife called Translucid.
Y: THE LAST MAN
The story was a concept I’d never seen before, it was very original. It’s about the last man on earth; he and his pet monkey are the only ones to survive the simultaneous death of all male mammals on the planet.
This is another Alejandro Jodorowski book, and it’s a timeless classic [the story takes place in the ‘Jodoverse’ – a fictional world created by Jodorowski, and was the first of his works to introduce it]. It’s illustrated by Moebius (also known as Jean Giraud) who’s an amazing artist and it’s one for me that will withstand the test of time.
I never actually finished this, but I did read about 10 volumes of it. It’s a nice play on classic fairytale characters like Cinderella, The Big Bad Wolf and Goldilocks characters living in New York City. Some of these series go on to the point where you fall off a little bit.
BATMAN’S ARKHAM ASYLUM
That was one of those books that when I saw it, I hadn’t seen anything like that before it in terms of its art and the writing. It blew my mind to see a comic book in that sort of format.
BATMAN: A DEATH IN THE FAMILY
In this one, Robin is murdered. I remember seeing it on the stands at a convenience store, and seeing the blood splatter across Robin’s face and being like, 'Oh my god, what's happening in this issue?'
THE INCREDIBLE HULK #181
This has the first appearance of Wolverine, who happens to be one of my favourite characters. I think he was such a brooding character, and I really like his claws. As a kid, it just looked cool to me. I was introduced to Wolverine when I was so young, and to see this intense and mysterious character –certainly in the beginning stages of the book when he wore the eye patch – for me he just seemed like Batman, but almost rougher.
For more information on Evil Ink Comics, visit the official website.