This Damned Band
Reviewed: Issues 1-2
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Tony Parker
Publisher: Dark Horse
Format: 6-part series The occult and rock ’n’ roll have long gone hand in hand. But while some bands were sincere in their beliefs, others were purely in it for the glamour. Paul Cornell’s script expertly probes that disconnect between image and reality in this new limited series.
We’re on the road with a camera crew who are following Motherfather on an enormous world tour. It rapidly becomes clear that Motherfather’s devil worshipping image is a sham. Unfortunately, that comes back to haunt them when Old Nick himself really does turn up after one of their shows…
What starts as a gleeful look at the clashing worlds of superstardom – excess sex and drugs jammed up alongside the mundanity of constant travel and infinite cups of tea – becomes a hallucinatory bad trip. It’s a showcase for Tony Parker’s art, which conveys the rockumentary style while also occasionally bursting into hallucinogenic surreality. There’s excellent attention to detail here – note the way that founder member Clive is always obscured in the opening panels, reflecting the way that he’s increasingly sidelined in the group – while Lovern Kindzierski colours it all with the explosive palette of a psychedelic poster.
While the first two issues play down the supernatural elements, it’s big on atmosphere and there’s a strong a sense of looming disaster. There’s also some nuanced characterisation: while Alex is a preening bellend, there’s an edge of terror to his behaviour, thanks to his shady background, while guitarist Kev and partner Alice are struggling to maintain their relationship on the road.
Indeed, the women that the band take for granted are at the heart of this story and may yet turn out to be the only thing that can save Motherfather. A very funny comic, but also one that you suspect is going to turn nasty quickly. Will Salmon
After the party, there’ll be the devil to pay...