Kerrang! - 7th May 1994

(May 07, 1994)

Originally Published: May 07, 1994

The Cooped Crusader!

Cooper comic book capers as Alice launches 'graphic novel' and fiendish new LP

Author: Ray Zell

ALICE COOPER, the indestructible rocker who makes Captain Scarlet look like an insurance risk, will have - as previously revealed in Mayhem! - a graphic novel (posh for 'comic book') included with his forthcoming album 'The Last Temptation', out June 6.

A Marvel Comics collaboration written by Neil Gaiman (of 'Sandman' fame), the comic comes in a series of three; the remaining two issues - in a canny sales ploy - will be available with susequent single releases. Eventually, however, the comics will be available separately.

'The Last Temptation' - the graphic novel - actually follows up a question-cum-threat put to comic fans by Marvel Comics when Alice Cooper appeared in issue 50 of their 'Marvel Premiere' series back in 1979! Said Marvel in that very mag: "Should Alice be awarded his own Marvel title? Should we send him blasting through the Marvel Universe?"

Coincidentally, Alice's new album is the first conceptual piece he's recorded since the psycho-ward capers of 'From The Inside'... which the basis of that original Marvel comics appearence!

"It's fun to be working in concept again," Alice told Mayhem. "It's just like with 'Welcome To My Nightmare' (Alice's most celebrated conceptual outing of '75); if you take each song off 'The Last Temptation' they'll stand up on their own. Put them together and it's a real neat story."

The track-listing of the Coop's newie is as follows: 'Side Show', 'Nothing's Free', 'Lost In America', 'Bad Place Alone', 'Temptation', 'Stolen Prayer', 'Unholy War', 'Lullaby', 'It's Me', and 'Cleansed By Fire'. Several songs, as reported in K! 487, we're co-written with Soundgarden's Chris Cornell.

These are all songs, reveals Alice, that Neil Gaiman exposed to during their conception. Says Gaimen of this unique project: "We sat in the hotel room and I listened to the tapes of the first few songs he'd written, and I watched Alice and his collaborators write another three songs while I sat on the bed, occasionally making suggestions for lyrics and song titles."

The final storyline centres around two main characters; the man-child, Steven, from the '...Nightmare' album, and, as Gaiman describes him, "A showman with a strange resemblance to Alice - part Machiavellian ghost, part commentator, part demon."

Of course, Alice Cooper doesn't have the monopoly on comic books and rock'n'roll. There is the San Diego based Rock'nRoll Comics, the company who, with their first issue, were threatened with court action from those most dangerous individuals Guns N' Roses, who obviously did not approve of the cartoon adaptation of their early career!

And then, just recently, there was Aerosmith's appearance in the 'Shadowman' comic, along with threats elsewhere of yummy she-rocker Lita Ford being superhero-ized!

Yet, easily the most acclaimed, due more to the publicity surrounding the project at the time than the actual astounding iffy content, were the two Kiss comics published by Marvel in '77 and '78. For the first issue Kiss themselves donated their own blood, which was ceremoniously poured into the red ink!

Two years later, when somebody mentioned this stunt to Alice Cooper in relation to the release of his own comic book, the cool ghoul quipped: "Yeah, I'd put Kiss' blood in my book, too!"