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ALICE COOPER #1 Review: The King of Shock Rock Returns to Comics

Legend has it that Alice Cooper’s career of combining horror theatrics with Rock n’ Roll music took off in 1969 when he and his original band literally frightened everyone out of a venue save for two people: Frank Zappa and his manager. In 1978, Alice made his comic book debut in Marvel Premiere #50 in a story adapting his concept album From the Inside. He returned to Marvel Comics in 1994, collaborating with Sandman creator Neil Gaiman on the album and comic book mini-series The Last Temptation. But for an appearance in Bart Simpson’s Treehouse of Horror #10, this master storyteller has been sadly absent from comics . . . until now. Dynamite Comics brings us the Coop’s first ever ongoing series, simply titled Alice Cooper.

The Story

Joe Harris authors a story that, unlike Alice’s previous comics, does not adapt a particular album. Rather, Harris draws on the whole world of horror and rock n’ roll and the myths surrounding the man and the character of Alice for his tale. In a dimension called “The Nightmare Place,” a snake discovers his master unconscious in a castle. Meanwhile, on a tour bus, a smarmy guy in a red suit taunts the unhappy man he has under contract. Elsewhere, a creepy guy at a garage sale gives young Robbie a vinyl record promising ” . . . it’s magic.” The unconscious master, the man under contract, and the creepy guy are all Alice. This is in keeping with the fact that Alice has always portrayed different personae through his music. In different songs he can be a serial killer, a loving husband, or a high school dropout. All are entirely different from each other, yet all are Alice Cooper.

The unhappy under contract Alice makes some observations about the state of the music industry today while wrecking a boy band concert. Hardcore rock music fans will likely share this Alice’s views on the modern music scene, but nothing is that simple. Alice has a revelation from an unlikely source, two-story threads collide, and he is at odds with the very Devil so many parents are convinced he works for. Then poor bullied Robbie begins to discover the magic of the vinyl record. The horror is just beginning.

Courtesy: Dynamite Entertainment

Courtesy: Dynamite Entertainment

The Art

We start with a beautiful painted cover by David Mack that should be Cooper’s next album cover. Eman Casallos handles the interior illustration with colors by Aikau Oliva. Casallos brings a slick style well suited for action stories to a horror story. This brings a lively energy to what could have easily been a more ponderous comic book. That would not have been the worst thing for the story, but Casallos’ art makes it just that much more thrilling. He particularly shines where it really counts with the rendering of Alice Cooper himself. The shock rock showman here is a slender imposing figure not so different from his appearances in concert; a perfect comic book villain who is not actually the bad guy.

Oliva’s colors add to the already abundant energy of the comic. Lights, shadows, skin tones, and supernatural lights emanating from various sources dazzle the eye and perfectly compliment Casallos’ art.

Overall

Alice Cooper #1 from Dynamite is a promising start. Joe Harris and Eman Casallos bring a new twist to the old idea of the deal-with-the-devil tale. Just like the first couple of songs on a great concept album, this first issue instantly hooks one in and leaves the audience anxious to know how the rest of the story will play out. The story would be engaging enough on its own merits. Having Alice Cooper on board makes it all the more inspired.

4 out of 5 stars

4 out of 5 stars

Cover image via

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About the author:

Jean-Pierre Vidrine hails from the small town of Ville Platte, Louisiana. He started collecting and learning about comic books at the age of 9. He got his Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Louisiana State University. He now lives in Chicago with his wife and cat.

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Categories: Comic Reviews

Author:Jean-Pierre Vidrine

Jean-Pierre Vidrine is a Chicago transplant whose interests include comic books, nostalgia, tattoos, drag, just plain being allowed to be himself. He does his best to be a thoughtful writer.

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