“Black Metal” by Rick Spears/Chuck BB

Author: Rick Spears, Chuck BB
Title: Black Metal
Publisher: Oni Press
Release Date: August 1, 2007
Genre: Graphic Novel
Rating: 5/5

During my travails as a freelance graphic novel reviewer for a major weekly magazine that focuses on the publishing industry, I’m usually buried beneath mountains of cookie-cutter, disposable landfill that I wouldn’t use to wrap fish, But every now and then my efforts are rewarded by having a truly fun book I would otherwise never have heard of fall into my lap. The latest such book is Oni Press’ Black metal Vol. 1.

Heavy Metal is a rock ’n’ roll genre known for its guitar-worship/masturbation (yeah, I’m talkin’ about YOU, Yngwie Malmsteen; “I Am A Viking?” Oh, puh-leeze…), bombast and pomposity serving to fuel young men’s fantasies of heroism and machismo, sometimes involving elder gods, their amoral mythologies, and their inevitable return, in other words a subject ripe for lampooning, and this graphic novel just may be the funniest take on the clichés of the genre to come along since This Is Spinal Tap.

Upon playing a Frost Axe LP backwards, black-clad metalhead twins Shawn and Sam — who look like the bastard tweener sons of King Diamond and Glenn Danzig — discover their true arcane heritage, obtain the mythic Sword of Atoll, and embark on a mission to conquer Hell itself. Demons, dark lords, Norse deities (accurately portrayed for a change), a black metal band that goes out of their way to practice what they preach, armies of the damned and even Satan himself all turn up and provide fodder for hilarity that wouldn’t stand a chance in Hell of being endorsed by the Church. Cartoon mayhem of the most entertaining order, Black Metal comes highly recommended and ends much too soon, leaving the reader foaming at the mouth, hands upright and flashing “the horns,” anxiously awaiting the next installment. Creators Rick Spears and Chuck BB obviously get this stuff, and their understanding of the whole Metal ethos lends the skewering an informed brilliance instead of what could have been a lazy stab made by a couple of know-nothing douchebags. Great work, dudes.

No B.S., this is the perfect book to read while listening to Mercyful Fate’s Don’t Break The Oath or Melissa, and a higher compliment I would be hard pressed to give. And it’s even appropriate for the 10-and-ups, so become the bad influence your kids/nieces/nephews/younger siblings need and get them a copy (they can check out a generous twenty-six page preview at the link below). It’s in stores now, so buy it and avoid Frost Axe coming over tour your house and sacrificing your steaming entrails to the one-eyed majesty that is Odin.
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Official Website http://www.onipress.com/

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