There is a comic for everything these days: comics of books, comics of games, comics of movies. It’s basically the new Rule 34. And so it is that there are comic takes on music videos, and even band mascots. New Comic Book Day this week takes a look at two metal bands which have tried to bridge the gap between their different forms of media and entertainment. Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast follows the story set out in their mobile game, centred on the band’s mascot, the zombie like creature known as Eddie. Slayer: Repentless expands on the story around their hardcore Repentless trilogy of music videos. Let’s take a look...
Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast
Writer: Ian Edginton, Llexi Leon
Artist: Kevin West
Publisher: Heavy Metal
Captured by The Beast, Eddie’s soul has been torn asunder, and shards of it scattered and used to give power to Hell’s monstrous minions. Bound and chained, Eddie reverts to a more feral state over time, as The Beast continued to assert dominance over the world by turning people into slaves to conformity, unthinking machines that lack hope and a lust for life. But a mysterious being know as the Clairvoyant, recognising that Eddie is in fact the embodiment of Earth’s hope and creativity, and by being these things, the only one who can stop The Beast, seeks out the Iron Maiden mascot to thwart The Beast’s plan. Guiding Eddie along the way, the Clairvoyant leads him to each of The Beast’s lieutenants and helps him to defeat them, slowly reclaiming his soul shards, until eventually they have a showdown with The Beast himself.
Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast was based on a mobile game which the band released in which players could play as Eddie, and explore the worlds hinted at and described through the band’s music and album artwork. While the comic possesses the name of the band, and tries to tell a story about its mascot, it seems to be fairly contradictory of itself, and is rather poorly written. Even the artwork, while not terrible, is nothing like the amazing album artwork which I think everyone was kind of hoping for. So, with mediocre writing, an uninspiring story, fairly standard artwork, and a really dumbed down feeling to the whole project, this one never really made much of a name. Some diehard fans collected it, and maybe a few people just looking to try something a little different, but I think everyone can agree that a comic baring the Iron Maiden band name, and staring its iconic mascot, Eddie, could, and should have just been so much better. And given that the publisher is Heavy Metal, known for its edgy comic magazine of the same title, where some of the most talented writers and artists of our day have presented their most mature and risqué work; it seems more of a letdown to have this kind of boring release from them.
But it does put Eddie into comics, and does open up the possibilities for something better in the future. It’s a foot in the door. A very wobbly foot wearing a croc shoe and in need of a pedicure, but a foot none the less.
Writer: Jon Schnepp
Artist: Guiu Vilanova
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
In 2017 the thrash metal band, Slayer, endorsed and released a 3 issue comic mini-series which elaborated on the story which their trilogy of brutal music videos, Repentless, You Against You and Pride in Prejudice, had presented.
The comics describe the background which led the featured eye-patched main character of the videos, Wyatt, to the absolute carnage in the music videos themselves. We also take a journey with Wyatt through what happens where the videos left off. After the death of his African-American girlfriend, Angel, Wyatt sets off with his Mexican ally Manny to take her body back to her family, and protect them from the impending attack on them which he know will come. Along the way he picks up some more allies to aid him (including the band members) in his battle against his brother Adrian, who is the leader of a neo-Nazi group which Wyatt also used to be a part of, before leaving to find a new life.
While the comic does manage to retain some of the explicit and violent action of the videos, and the artwork on the whole is good enough to carry the story and the likeness of the famous people it sometimes tries to capture, unfortunately the story is quite patchy at best and the comics don’t have the energy of the band or their music videos in them. Another thing which became annoying quite quickly, was that the script of the comics often tries to use a lot of the band’s lyrics, and while this is a pretty good idea, regrettably it seldom fits very well which makes the dialogue quite klunky and hard to read at times, even to the point of wandering what the characters are even talking about as the words just don’t really match the scenes.
But while the comic doesn’t live up to the band’s branding, this new form of media did bring them some extra level of exposure, as they made an appearance at the 2016 Comic-Con International to promote the comic. Maybe there were some metal fans in the comic world who had never heard of one the Big 4 (metal bands) and this brought them into the fold, who knows right? But on the whole, the comic series could have been better, and sadly wouldn’t likely appeal to more people than the fans of the band.
Boardgame and graphic novel enthusiast. Marvel or DC? Image. Old-school gamer. Avid role-player. Kermit for president. I believe that werewolves will rule the world one day.
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