Written by: Paul Cornell
Art by: Tony Parker & Lovern Kindzierski
Publisher: Dark Horse
This Damned Band #1 is a funny and vibrant look into the lives of Motherfather; a band of debauched, pseudo devil worshippers—born out of the swinging sixties and now embracing the heavy metal tropes of the seventies. After taking some hallucinogenic drugs prior to heading out on stage at the Budokan Stadium in Tokyo, Motherfather encounter a strange creature that could put their religious philosophy to the test.
The feel of the comic is akin to Spinal Tap; a group of characters putting on a false bravado to appeal to the fans, wanting that larger than like personality to accommodate all the praise that reigns down on them on a daily basis. The majority of them love drugs, sex and rock and roll—which isn’t really contradictory to what we are already led to believe in the music business, but Paul Cornell writes it in a way that makes us really, really like Motherfather. They are larger than life, idiotic buffoons, but they are funny—much like Spinal Tap; the thing that makes This Damned Band stand out though is the instant connection to the story and the characters involved, brought to life by Tony and Lovern’s exceptional artwork. We are drawn in with genuinely hilarious dialogue and instantly unique characters; within the first few pages you know who is who, and that allows you to soak up the ensuing story. Granted, we only really get to see what diversifies it from the instant comparison of Spinal Tap right at the end, but it still holds its own in terms of individuality. It is also worth mentioning how great it is to see the British twang on a lot of the dialogue; being British myself, it was easy to relate to and I believe it helped to understand the humour.
As previously mentioned, the artwork is gorgeous. The versatility of colour use is remarkable, and every panel oozes detail—the finer ones and the grander image. There are many frames that have a lot going on, and Tony manages to keep each lucid and on point. For example, the scenes where the band are in the back of the venue, partaking in one vice or another, all remain highly detailed and clear—from the content of the picnic baskets to the groupies’ clothing. Towards the end of the issue, Tony Parker has the chance to be even more creative, and without giving too much away, it is a smart deviation from a solid body of work that has already been demonstrated in the issue.
I loved This Damned Band #1 and cannot wait to read issue 2. Right from the humorous dialogue to the beautiful artwork, Dark Horse Comics are once again onto a winner.