Thursday, July 9, 2015

Review - This Damned Band #1 (@DarkHorseComics)

"We take our darkly majestic religion very seriously."

The phrase "walk the walk" is usually preceded by "talk the talk." Many people can do the latter, but those with enough courage to do the former deserve another level of praise. For the band in This Damned Band #1 from Dark Horse Comics, talking is definitely better for business. The issue is written by Paul Cornell, illustrated by Tony Parker and colored by Lovern Kindzierski.

1974: the world’s most famous rock band thought they were “worshiping Satan,” only to find they were actually...worshiping Satan.

There's something very tongue in cheek about This Damned Band #1 that makes the issue work exceedingly well. Cornell takes the trappings that come with superstardom and spins them in a way that makes the fame a caricature of itself. Each of the members of the band fit stereotypes that are amusing, but what makes This Damned Band #1 that much more enjoyable is that those stereotypes are just for show. The joke is that the band doesn't entirely know what they're getting into by going along with the marketing pitch outlined for them; in this regard, Cornell makes the story very humorous. Clearly, the band must be doing something right because they have the rock and roll lifestyle, yet Cornell cranks up the enjoyment by making their biggest fan someone they least expect.

Rendering the trappings that come with international fame is Parker, whose characters carry a 70s vibe befitting the setting of the book. Kindzierski's colors maintain the illusion as well, with a wide variety of dark primary colors offset by psychedelic colors and costumes here and there. Every member of the band has a distinct look that matches their personality and it's clear Parker had fun illustrating the debauchery. There's one particular sequence of pages that really tap into the sheer insanity of what it means to be a rock star. The rounded panels emphasize the documentary format of the issue as well, with characters offering one-on-ones with the crew in regards to various topics (and other band members).

This Damned Band #1 is a fun book whose title is rife with wordplay. The members of the band in question are content to live a raucous existence and worship the dark arts as part of their brand identity, but not necessarily in real life. Cornell gives the reader very colorful characters who are clearly in over their heads when it comes to the fame and stardom. Parker's illustrations are clean and crazy, appropriately matching the fevered pitch that accompanies the band when they tour. This Damned Band #1 is pretty lighthearted and entertaining, reveling in the notion that one must be careful what they wish for.

This Damned Band #1 is in stores August 5.


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