This was a six-issue arc that I just finished reading. I decided to write about the arc in a single post, as opposed to writing about each issue, mainly because it didn’t warrant that level of attention. (Although, I did write about the first issue when it came out.)
Overall, I found the series entertaining, but that’s because I am a huge Alice Cooper fan. The other characters from Chaos I could not really relate to, and actually, I found them to be somewhat annoying. Definitely a Chaos comic is not something that I would regularly read. Still, I liked the themes of being an outcast, having to face one’s fears, and so forth. These are themes that are part of Alice’s music, so they resonated with me in this comic series.
I’ll include a quote from the final issue in the series that nicely sums up my attraction to Alice Cooper’s music.
I used to play your stuff as loud as I could. It scared me, y’know? Monsters and demons and nightmares and… all the fun scary stuff. But underneath it all there was something else… there was someone who understood… what it was like to be an outsider. What it was like to be a freak. You showed us it was okay to be afraid. And that we could control our fears.
I stopped into the local comic store on the way home from work yesterday, and my friend who owns the store had put aside this new Alice Cooper comic for me, knowing that I am a big Alice fan. So of course, I bought it, even though I had no idea who or what Chaos was.
I found this comic to be just OK. Certainly, nothing like Neil Gaiman’s Alice Cooper comic (which is a must read, imho). This one, has some cool looking demonic characters, and it seems as if they will be attempting to kill the Coop, but otherwise, I closed the cover thinking I really didn’t care too much about this. I suppose if I was familiar with the Chaos graphic series, this would be more interesting for me. Anyway, because it’s Alice, I’ll continue reading it, but unless it turns out to be something incredible, I probably won’t be taking to time to blog about them. As such, if you see a subsequent post, you can assume that this arc has taken a turn for the better.
This is a stand-alone issue done by a different writer and artist (Joe Harris and Eman Casallos did the first five issues). I loved it, but it is definitely a niche comic. If you are not an Alice Cooper fan, you are probably not going to enjoy this much. The premise is that Alice is doing a tour through the Nightmare Place but is plagued by a specter, who is some kind of psychotic clown demon seeking to shatter Alice’s sanity. There are definite allusions to Cooper’s “From the Inside” album, which I think is a nice touch. But again, if you are not a Cooper fan, then this would mean nothing to you.
I do not know if this comic is going to continue. There is a sense of finality about it, and there is no mention of an issue 7. I suppose all dark things must come to an end. I’ll inquire next time I visit my local comic store.
This issue concludes the story tale that began with the first issue. I really don’t have a whole lot to say about it, other than I liked it. It was darkly funny and graphically engaging, and it concluded nicely. In addition, it sets up well for subsequent tales (since I saw at the end of the comic that issue #6 is already planned, I can safely assume that this is continuing). Bottom line is this is a fun comic. Nothing really mind-boggling, but if you like rock and roll and if you are an Alice Cooper fan, you’ll definitely enjoy it. Issue #6 would be a good place to jump in if you are not following this yet.
May all your nightmares be thrilling and chilling!
This may be my favorite issue so far in this series. Alice travels into the realm of nightmares along with Bart the bully in search of Robbie. As with most bullies, Bart is cocky and arrogant, pretending not to have any fear; but as Alice points out, everyone has fears, and it is when you are asleep that your deep, dark fears surface from your subconscious.
You don’t know the first thing about fear. Not the deep, burrowing kind that give rise to nightmares, anyway. You make somebody afraid enough, you build up a balance in that account. You make them start to contemplate things… It happens unconsciously, at first. They start to fantasize alone, when you’re finished making them afraid. That’s when you realize…that the true power in what someone’s afraid of…is how they use it. You’re a tough kid, Bart. But everybody sleeps. Everybody dreams. And everybody is afraid of something. Which means we all have our own, private… nightmares.
The issue continues by exploring the psychology of fear and how fear manifests in nightmares, all done in conjunction with darkly rich and macabre illustrations. It also touches on bullying and how the victims of bullying can turn to the dark side.
Reading this had a cathartic effect. I was bullied as a kid and I could relate to those feelings of fear, which turn to resentment and anger. I’m also no stranger to nightmares and have had some intense ones over the years. But there is something exhilarating about nightmares. When you awaken, sweating and shaking, you also feel stronger for having stared your deepest fears in the face.
Last night I watched “Good to See You Again, Alice Cooper” at a friend’s house. The film documents the infamous 1973 Billion Dollar Babies tour and is interspersed with comedic shorts. Since I had issue 3 in my stack of things to be read, I couldn’t resist bumping it to the top of the pile.
The comic opens with scenes from a concert at the Philadelphia Spectrum in 1975, which stirred memories of going to concerts in the 70’s, a much more Dionysian era.
In times past, this was your scene, your church, your glory. You drove a crowd into a frenzy, nightly. Then called them back to do it again and again. All carefully designed and planned, a delicate mix of the macabre and the theatrical… the dark, and the delightful… all while walking a line between what was real, and what was show… and what was both to a delicate, deliberate degree.
For me, this perfectly captures the experience of an Alice Cooper performance and what defines stage performance as art. It is the blending of the real and the imagined. You have actual individuals on a stage, and we then project our hopes and fears onto them based upon their actions (act being the root of the word). The fact that real people are before us allows us to suspend belief in a way that film can never quite accomplish. It’s why a Shakespeare play is always better than a film adaptation.
So far, I am enjoying this series. The Alice Cooper persona lends itself well to the graphic novel genre. As a bonus, here’s a clip from the film I watched last night. If you’re an Alice Cooper fan, you should check out the film. Rock on!
Since I was a kid, Alice Cooper has been the soundtrack to my October nights, filling the air with the dark sounds of the macabre and the gothic. Tomorrow night, I will see him once again in concert, and to say I’m excited is quite the understatement. So to get myself in the proper state of mind, I decided to read the latest installment in the Alice Cooper graphic series.
The truth be told, I’m such a huge Alice fan that even if this series sucked I would still read it and like it, and while this new comic is not on par with Neil Gaiman’s Alice Cooper comic series, it is still good.
In this issue, Alice, the Nightmare Lord, strikes a deal with the bullied kid Robbie. Robbie, who had inadvertently bound the dark lord, promises to release Alice if he assists in getting back at the bully who torments him. While all this is transpiring, Lucius Black’s brother, Andronicus, is scheming to recapture the Nightmare Lord. Near the end of the issue, the threads of the tale begin to entwine together and we are left with a nice cliffhanger.
My favorite part of this issue is when Alice manifests to the bully. The surprised teen asks who Alice is, and Alice responds with the following.
Once upon a time, I could live rent free in that mind of yours, stealing your potential… rotting your brain with my special, signature raison d’etat… I stuck a stick of dynamite up rock n’ roll’s ass and pushed the art of the stage show out of the juke joints and the back rooms with morbid theatricality… along with macabre panache! I made the nightmares happen, and I thought it’d last forever.
Tomorrow night, I will once again experience the morbid theatricality and macabre panache which is an Alice Cooper concert. Thanks for stopping by, and may your Halloween be filled with thrills and chills!
I have been waiting for the release of this since I first heard about it months ago. I’ve been an Alice Cooper fan since the 70’s and I am excited to see him cast in dark graphic fantasy. Of course, this is not the first Alice Cooper comic, most notably Neil Gaiman wrote a three-issue Cooper comic a while back (see my earlier posts on them).
In this first issue, Alice, the Lord of Nightmare, has been trapped in a contract by Lucius Black. He is freed when young Robbie purchases a vinyl copy of an old Alice Cooper album and plays it backwards. Alice materializes in the boy’s room, ready to assist him.
Robbie is kind of an outcast kid. He is bullied by the other kids in his neighborhood and does not seem to have much confidence in himself. I’m intrigued as to the possibilities here. I would like to see Alice force Robbie to face his nightmares and confront the fear within that is paralyzing him. But, this is still an inchoate tale, so I will just sit back and enjoy the show.
For those of you who are reading the comic also: “Welcome to my Nightmare.”
It is not news to most of you who know me that I am a HUGE Alice Cooper fan. I have seen the Coop in concert more times than I can remember and I have tickets to see him again this fall. I had heard that a new Alice Cooper comic was in the works, but now I have some official info.
Issue number 1 will be hitting the shelves in September of this year, just in time for Halloween (also, shortly before I see him again). The comic will be written by Joe Harris and illustrated by Eman Casallos. According to the article I read:
In the new series Cooper is portrayed as a rocker by day and “Lord of Nightmares” at night. He watched over us as we slept and delivered horrors to those who deserved it. But someone took that away from him, pushed him out of his realm and locked him away… but now he’s going to take it all back.
Click here to read the article in full, which also includes a few pages from the upcoming comic.
Alice is no stranger to the comic-book world. Neil Gaiman did a short comic series featuring Alice, which was inspired by Cooper’s The Last Temptation album (check out my reviews of those).
All Hallow’s Eve. Hallowe’en. The first day of the death of the year. Folk beliefs about this day go back forever. On Hallowe’en, they say, the Gates of Hell swing wide, and the dead and the damned ride out from dusk until dawn. On Hallowe’en, they say, the dark spews out all the nightmares, all the pain, all the death; and the hurt and the hate take shape and form. That’s when they can hurt you—or so they say.
Those are the opening lines from the final installment of Gaiman’s graphic novel trilogy featuring Alice Cooper. The events in this issue all take place on Halloween, which is appropriate. Young Steven returns to the Theatre of the Real to face his inner demons and the ultimate temptation: to enjoy a life of eternal youth in exchange for sacrificing his “potential,” letting go of his dreams of what may be and what he could become.
This terrified me, truly. I’ve reached the point in my life where I can look back and see the mistakes I made, where I’ve sacrificed my dreams, and where I’ve failed to reach my potential. For a long time, this tormented me. I was plagued with the thoughts of what might have been. Thankfully, I’ve reached a place of acceptance where I realize, like Steven in this tale, that it is best to just live life, that pain and shortcomings are what form you as an individual. I no longer allow my regrets to torture me. I know that everything I have been through has brought me to this place, and it’s a good place.
At one point in the story, the showman (Alice) tells Steven: “When you become the thing that scares, there’s nothing to be scared of ever again.” This really struck me. It made me think about cycles of abuse. I suspect that most abusive individuals were often abused themselves. The deep fear that they must have experienced causes them to become the scary person that previously tormented them. It’s a sad but true statement.
To sum up—I loved this entire trilogy. It is nothing short of amazing. The artwork is great; the story is riveting; there are no flaws that I can see. One could say I’m biased because I love Alice Cooper and Neil Gaiman, but the truth is, I approached this series with very high expectations, and this tale surpassed those expectations. So I’ll conclude with another quote from Book III which alludes to Shakespeare and P. T. Barnum:
The show’s the thing. The show. And the show must go on.
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