Alice Cooper comes from that massive groups of popular artists known as stage musicians. He was among the first, you could argue that David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust was the first, but without Alice Cooper there would be no Rob Zombie, no Marilyn Manson possibly not even KISS or the New York Dolls. It was a different kind of rock and roll and it was a different kind of stage act that opened the door for every make-up wearing, theatrical performing alternative style of music. Hey, speaking of KISS, do you remember THEIR comic? In any of its incarnations? Do you remember how it captured each individual character through its superb writing? Or how it perfectly encapsulated the experience of listening to music? How about how it stayed totally grounded in reality? Why do I ask? No reason, I’m not commenting on musician lead comic books or anything.
Making a comic based off a music act is utterly ridiculous and that’s exactly where this comic fails. It fails in the music and really only the music. There are two concerts that take place and I didn’t know the first song. It must be either an older song, a newer song or a real deep cut because I’m familiar with most of Alice Cooper’s hits from Billion Dollar Babies to Trash (1973-1989) but I didn’t know that one*. Therein lies the problem. I don’t know the song so it just becomes wavy words on the page. There’s nothing there for me to latch onto. I knew the second song and the line they picked is recognizable from the chorus but there isn’t enough there for my brain to enjoy. It’s just an incomplete snippet in my internal monologue. What would be helpful is if they put an asterisk at the end of the lyrics and maybe an editors box letting you know at least the song title, possibly even the album it’s off of. This is, ostensibly, either for current fans, who have a large library of songs, or creating new fans, who want to get songs. A call out would be nice so fans could track the song down and listen to it or for new fans to go buy that song. It’s called syn-er-gy baby!
Alright, enough criticism because I actually enjoyed the rest of the comic. Alice Cooper, as a concept, is Sandman meets Evil Ernie with all the one dimensional grim and gritty that implies. It somehow manages to do this and still be fun. Alice Cooper is the Lord of Nightmares taking a break after an invasion. I don’t know anything about the invasion other than what’s implied in the text and that’s really all we need because we are over it and on to newer things. This break takes the form of a music tour through not-so-cleverly named locations like Dis-Grace Land. It’s stupid and bombastic in all the right ways and takes what is easily the dumbest concept ever and makes it into something readable and enjoyable.
Alice Cooper #6 Writer: Brandon Jerwa Artist: Nacho Tenorio Colorist: Aikou Oliva Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment Price: $3.99 Release Date: 2/18/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital
*I didn’t recognize it at first but running the lyrics through Google it’s “He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask) from Constrictor but written for Friday the 13th pt 6. Once I heard it, it was instantly familiar but I shouldn’t have to do that. I leave the original criticism because it’s still valid, I had to go somewhere else to know the song and its inclusion didn’t enhance my reading of it.