This Damned Band

Comic Heroes - - Comics We Rate -

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...

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