(Dynamite Comics, 2014)
Written by Joe Harris
Illustrated by Eman Casallos
Colored by Aikau Oliva
Lettered by Simon Bowland
Main Cover by David Mack
Comic book creators have a tough job. Coming up with an original character isn’t always as easy as interviews with Uncle Stan would have you believe. The creation of a new, believable character can be a painstaking process that doesn’t always pay off in the end. Wouldn’t it be easier to take an existing person and bring them in? One who has proven his mettle against the public scrutiny, through all forms of media, for the past four decades? Ah yes, but where would such a character exist? In what universe could a writer handpick a created mythology, ripe for the comic plucking, and use it to the advantage of all? Alice Cooper you say? Why yes. The Godfather of Shock Rock has once again slithered his way into comic books, and again it is for the betterment of the entire media.
New from Dynamite Entertainment this week is Alice Cooper #1, a new series written by Joe Harris and drawn by Eman Casallos, and it promises all the goodness that we’ve come to expect.
Over the years Alice Cooper has changed what a rock and roll show is by bringing his own brand of show to the stage, uniting rock and roll and vaudeville (with guillotines) to create a spectacle that you won’t soon forget. And so with that in mind Joe Harris set about to write a comic about the myth that is Alice Cooper.
This is not the first time Cooper has been immortalized (as if he needed it again) in comics. There were a couple of Marvel guest appearances in the 80’s. In 1994 Marvel Music published The Last Temptation, written by Neil Gaiman and drawn by Michael Zulli. (Check that one out if you’re a fan of any of the above. Fantastic book.) It portrayed Cooper as “the Showman”, a sinister creature ready to take your soul. Now, in Dynamite’s newest book, he is the “Lord of Nightmares”, imprisoned and forced against his will to book acts, he struggles to break free from a contract he was tricked into by Lucius, a sleazy concert promoter. That’s all I’m giving away, because it’s too good to spoil.
Harris has written for everything from Creepy to X-Men, but shows a great knack for incorporating Cooper’s mythos into a finely tuned story. He takes the dark aspects that we all love of the idea pioneered by Alice Cooper and make him into a kind of djinn, waiting to do the bidding of his current master. Issue 2 can’t come fast enough.
Eman Casallos (Jennifer Blood, Battlestar Galactica: Starbuck) brings the nightmare and rock and roll worlds together, colored beautifully by Aikau Oliva. The likeness is perfect, and makes you want to listen to any Alice Cooper record while reading the book.
If you’ve ever been a fan of the man then Alice Cooper #1 is a no-brainer. On the other hand, if you’re not, this is still a well-written comic with dark overtones and a great fantasy base. Harris has taken what Alice Cooper has built over his career and transformed it into a whole new thing, and that thing is a fine dark fantasy comic book.
Brad Gischia is a writer and artist living in the frozen Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He is married and has three kids and a dog, who all put up with his incessant prattling about comic books.