Written by Joe Harris
Art by Megan Hutchison
Colors by Kelly Fitzpatrick
Published by Image Comics\
Rock music has long carried legends around the notes, secrets uncovered by playing a record backward or putting an album in context of the Behind The Music phase. And rock of the seventies courted teen listeners by flirting with the occult in ways guaranteed to alienate parents. A year ago, I reviewed This Damned Band for Ultimate Comics, a funny take on a band in over its head by accidentally making a real deal with the devil. But this week, Image Comics finds a way to tell that story even better.
Jackie Mayer is maybe delusional or maybe psychic or maybe really good at solving puzzles. He obsessively researches unsolved mysteries in the rock world, and he has been working on the murder of a groupie in 1974, a case rife with occult symbols and a flamboyant hedonist band called Blue Rider. Forty years later, he’s on the scene to catch the first new kill and runs into Dorothy Buell, a spunky music journalist with connections to the mystery all her own.
The story bounces effectively between his modern investigation and the lurid recreations of the foul event, and both parts work. The modern story plays with the balance between inspiration and madness while the flashback is the tragic corruption of an innocent by the music her mother warned her about. The art, especially Kelly Fitzpatrick’s colors, makes the reader subtly uncomfortable, and I want to see this as an indie thriller movie.
Next week is Christmas and Hanukkah, gang, and I want all of your days to be merry and bright. But this week, maybe it’s time to get a little scum out of your system. Hop on board Rockstars, play some vinyl, but whatever you do, don’t try to go backstage.
-MATT CONNER for Ultimate Comics