The Black Rubric
Art – Katie Fleming, Script – Christopher Mole, Lettering – Hassan Otsmane-Elbaou, Cover – Benjamin AE Filby, Logo Design – Joe Stone, Pinups – Katie Sawatsky
I appreciate a comic that comes with its own Spotify playlist. I must confess (do Satanists confess?) that I needed it. As a C86 vintage indie kid, Black Metal is terra incognito for me. The closest I have come to the laryngitis and face paint brigade is a bit of Iron Maiden. Sure, I listened to the likes of Boltthrower, Heresy and Napalm Death…the NME told me to, I had no choice. But they were punks right? They wrote about corporations and animal rights. Not this rentaghost stuff.
But readers, I enjoyed the playlist. Intense, thrashy stuff, although Napalm Death never wrote a nine minute song. I’m sure the lyrics were suitably edgy and devilish but with a few exceptions they could have been singing about paper clip production in Tajikistan for all that I could understand. I will say one hundred hail Johnny Marr’s as penance.
The Black Rubric takes us on a trip. A trip in a freezing tour van with a group of Quebecois metalheads on tour. I can practically smell the stale sweat and cold cartons of poutine from here. As the van brings them home to Montreal for a triumphant hometown gig the tour takes a diabolical diversion – to the gates of hell itself.
You wannnted to use ourrr power for yourrrr own ends. Forrr fame, for glory, you worrrshipped us. Thisss is the prrrice.
Lead singer Attila (real name Pierre-Luc Gagnon) is getting tired of the routine and tired of the same old set night after night. He is looking to bring something…extra. Inspiration comes in the form of an especially vivid dream which leads Attila to write a new song. But his demonic muse has plans of its own.
Katie Fleming’s art takes full advantage of being in black and white. Gig scenes see spotlights playing across the band and audience to create an illusion of depth brilliantly. The same effect works well again during the musical battle with the hordes of hell. Conveying the power of music in comics is difficult but the dynamic art combined with very effective use of lettering by Hassan Otsmane-Elbaou achieves it magnificently.
The cover from Benjamin AE Filby effectively combines vibes of a black metal album cover and some kind of Spinal Tap style stage set – which gives a good indication of the contents.
Chris Mole‘s dialogue works really well and I especially enjoyed the band rehearsal scenes – some things are the same across musical genres. The idea of having a black metal band racing to save the world from diabolical destruction at the hands of hellish legions is an original one. Attila even learns some personal lessons, although one feels that humility is not among them. He remains the typical egotistical front-man despite his experiences.
Fans of the Black Metal scene will get a kick out of this comic, but that is by no means a requirement. Having been a successful Kickstarter the comic is now available on Comichaus. Get ready to kneel, get ready for a dose of Satanic sacrament in comic form.