TP_DIMMU_PROMO_01

A few months ago I was talking to a friend about the interview we did recently with Kieron Gillen of Phonogram fame, and how interesting it was to learn more about the connection between music and comic books.  During the conversation he mentioned a comic book company, Terminal Press, that he said was just starting to create a whole line of comics based on metal bands and urged me to check them out.  Based in Long Beach, NY, Terminal Press is run by Brian Ferrara who publishes a variety of comics including ones based on the music and image of the legendary black metal band Dimmu Borgir.  Needless to say I was fascinated, and with my friend’s help I got a hold of Brian to get his thoughts on how and where he sees comics and music merging.

Figment News:  Can you tell us a little about Terminal Press and how you got started in the comic business?

Brian Ferrara:  I got started making comics when I realized I was incapable of sustaining my sanity in a normal office environment and my hands were too delicate for manual labor. Terminal Press is the vessel through which the dark juvenile fantasies in our artist’s minds flow.

nuclear-blast-records-logo

FN:  You’ve just started creating a series of comic books based on bands signed to Nuclear Blast Records.  How did that relationship get started?

BF:  I first met the label manager for Nuclear Blast through a friend who was working our booth at the San Diego Comic Con in 08. He came by, heard us blasting Meshuggah and saw our line-up of badass books and the wheels started turning. Nuclear Blast displays at the con every year, so they are no strangers to comics. We’re all just a bunch of metal heads and fanboys, so it just made sense.

FN:  Do you think comics and music are interconnected?  Does music provide you with inspiration when you’re writing your comics?

BF:  100% yes to both. Art and music are like the two halves of a He-Man toy’s sword. They can both cut shit up alone, but when combined, you can turn Cringer into Battlecat. Take your classic Maiden and Megadeth albums and remove Eddie and Vic. Better yet, don’t do that, because that would suck.

I listen to music all day long. Seriously, all day. When I’m working I just rip through my whole library. When I’m writing, I usually go instrumental so I don’t get distracted by lyrics. Lastly, I like to get in a run every other day and that’s when I go with the heaviest of the heavy stuff to get all pumped and jacked and whatnot.

Dimmu_00_a_cover_black

FN:  You’ve created a comic for legendary Norwegian Black Metal band Dimmu Borgir.  What was it like creating a comic for such a well known band?

BF:  It was an honor and something we were all very proud to do. I was very excited because it was something I always wanted to do and I just wanted to give it my all and put together something that would respect the band and their fans.

Dimmu Borgir Fan at Big Apple Con

FN:  Do you think their music and image are good fodder for a comic book?

BF:  Dimmu screams for a comic book. I can barely think of a band that would work better in a comic than them. They aren’t a bunch of guys with instruments- they’re fucking demons from hell wielding fire and steel!

FN:  Did you actually meet with the members of Dimmu Borgir or was their music and cover art the inspiration?

BF:  I haven’t met the guys personally, but I’ve been to the shows, have all of the albums and send all the content for their approval before it is released. I’ll hopefully get to meet up with them next time they’re somewhere closer than Norway.

Dimmu_01

FN:  Narek Gevorgian did all of the artwork for the “Dark Fortress” correct?  How do you two work together when creating a comic book?

BF:  I usually come up with the basis for the story and then try to brainstorm with him. Then Narek tells me it’s a good idea and then I’m like, “is it just good?” and then Narek will be like, “it’s good.” and then I’ll be like, “is it good or is it great? I want it to be great!” and then he’ll be like, “it’s great.” but he’ll say it all passive aggressive so I’m not sure if it is or not, at which point we start yelling at each other. That’s pretty much when the magic happens.

FN:  What does the band think of the “Dark Fortress”?

BF:  I think it’s exactly what they were looking for as far as Fortress’ go. They can’t wait to move in.

FN:  Are their plans to do additional books on Dimmu Borgir?

BF:  We haven’t gotten that far yet, but I definitely wouldn’t rule it out. I’m focused on making sure this one kicks ass.

TP_EXODUS_PROMO_01

FN:  I know you’re also working on a comic book involving Nuclear Blast artist ExodusWhat other bands are you working with?

BF:  That’s all we have announced for now, but I definitely have my eye on other Nuclear Blast artists. If I had my way, Meshuggah would be on the list for sure.

FN:  What piece of advice can you pass on to our Figment users regarding the best way to create the image of a black metal band or any band for that matter?

BF:  I think any great metal band needs some kind of mascot at the core of their imagery. Once you have a cool mascot, you can just stick it in different scenarios to create album covers and merch. Say you have some sort of demonic monkey with a switchblade and bee wings as your mascot- put him front of some pyramids- boom- instant concept album.

Hard Core Series

FN:  I see you’ve got an entire line of “Hard/Core” comics based on iconic adult films like Debbie Does Dallas and “The Devil in Miss Jones”.  What other comic books does Terminal Press publish?

BF:  That’s pretty much it. Metal and porno. We do have some based on killer teddy bears, graffiti, circus animals, zombies, assassins, one with a guy with a crow jammed in his eye socket and another about an alcoholic lemur and a baby eating rhinoceros, but mostly metal and porno.

FN:  Where can someone pick up “Dimmu Borgir:  Dark Fortress” and your other comic books?

BF:  For everything Terminal Press, go to terminalpress.com. We bake them fresh and mail them directly to your house.

FN:  Any plans to branch out and do comics with other labels or other types of bands?

BF:  For metal, we have yet to exhaust the awesome roster of Nuclear Blast bands. I never know what is around the corner though. Maybe I’ll finally get the chance to do that Miley Cyrus book I’ve always dreamed of. That’s only if her label goes for my tentacle porn for tweens pitch.

FN:  If you could pick one band on Figment to create a comic book around, which one would it be?

BF:  It would be for whichever band was able to pull off getting banged by groupies in the back of a creepy van on their imaginary tour.

FN:  Have you ever created a fake band and if so, what was its name?

BF:  I’ve created real bands that never went anywhere, so does that count? Here are some of the names I can remember – Black Magic, Moribund, Ultimate Paradox, F.O.C. (Forecast of Calamity) and 1000 Years of Winter. I’m definitely forgetting a few along the way, but these are the ones that stand out in my mind. That list is in chronological order starting in 6th grade, so keep that in mind too.

 

Sleevage!

October 27th, 2009

Sleevage

I was mucking about on the interwebs the other day and I came across this great Aussie blog devoted to album cover art called Sleevage.  From the early 60’s to the digital artwork of today, Sleevage spotlights album cover art with a dash of the cover’s history and a little of their own take on what makes it special.  From Andrew W.K. to Iron Maiden and XTC they’ve got it all.  So when you get a moment check out Sleevage, it’s a great source of inspiration for your own designs.

stinkweeds

Hey we just got word that when The Excess Express Tour ’09 – ’10 pulls into Phoenix, AZ today that both Pusher and Agua Netz will be doing a joint in-store appearance at Phoenix’s top independent record store Stinkweeds!   So drop by and meet both bands!  It sure to be a rollicking good time.  Oh, and buy a lot of records from Stinkweeds – they’re good folks.

WhyACDC.MattersHC c

I’ve always been a big fan of AC/DC, but then a lot of us are.  AC/DC is the second-best-selling popular music act of all time, behind only The Beatles, with over 200 million albums sold worldwide.  Their album “Back in Black” is the second best-selling album of all time behind only Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” with over 49 million copies sold, and their latest album “Black Ice” debuted at #1 in 29 countries despite the fact that it was only available in Walmart, Sam’s Club, and via the band’s website.

The second-best tag however, also seems to apply to how critics have treated the band over the years, slagging them off as second-rate and boorish.  So why does AC/DC matter?  Well, we sat down to talk with former Rolling Stone writer and NY Times bestselling author Anthony Bozza to set the record straight and get the inside scoop on his new book “Why AC/DC Matters.”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Wanna win a copy of “Why AC/DC Matters”?  Well here’s how you can.  Answer the two trivia questions below (hint: you gotta listen to the interview above) and email the answers to customerservice at figment.cc and then leave why YOU think AC/DC matters below as a comment.  The person with the right answers to the trivia questions and the best reason will win a copy of Anthony’s new book (courtesy of William Morrow), a Figment t-shirt and 250 pieces of lucre!  Please note that you must be a registered Figment member to enter! If you’re not a registered Figment member please create an account by clicking here.  There is no cost involved with this contest and the winner will be chosen at the discretion of the Figment News editorial staff on October 30, 2009.

Question #1:  What was the first rock band that Bonn Scott was ever in?

Question #2:  What genre did Anthony Bozza invent with his friend?

Anthony Bozza helmed Rolling Stone’s Random Notes column for two years, and penned cover stories and features on artists ranging from Trent Reznor to Jennifer Lopez to Ozzy Osbourne and Bo Diddley.  In addition, Anthony co-authored the NY Times #1 Bestseller “Too Fat to Fish” with comedian Artie Lange as well as bestsellers “Whatever You Say I Am:  The Life and Times of Eminem”, “Tommyland”, the autobiography of Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee, and “Slash”, the autobiography of Guns N’ Roses’ and Velvet Revolver’s legendary guitarist.  If you’d like to find out more about Anthony and tell him why you think AC/DC matters – check out his website.

 

For those of you who posted a question for Riki Milligan of Eccentric Arcade, here’s your answers!

And while you’re at it, say thanks by adding Eccentric Arcade’s new single “Life Theme” to your Figment album collection!

sparhusen2

Spärhusen, the so-called “almost greatest band from Sweden” were almost at the top of their game when their plane the “Swedish Fish” crashed on July 25, 1974.  For 35 years fans have wondered what might have been.

Well, wait no longer, because Spärhusen is back and in a far-reaching conversation with Figment News, keyboardist Olf Nystrom brought us up to date on band’s past, present and future.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

SparhusenScreen6

Spärhusen is a mock-u-mentary web series from actress-writer-producer Ileana Douglas, and co-creators/co-stars Rob Mailhouse and Todd Spahr airing on My Damn Channel.   The program also co-stars Keanu Reeves and Wallace Langham.

In addition to the web series, Spärhusen’s long-awaited album, “The Best of Spärhusen”, will be available on iTunes and MyDamnChannel this fall.  You can also follow Spärhusen on Twitter and Facebook.

sparhusen_300x250

So if you’re looking for more fake band inspiration make sure you watch Spärhusen!

R.I.P. Mr. Magic

October 3rd, 2009

DJ Magic Pic

I was reading the NY Times this morning when I ran across this obituary for rap DJ Mr. Magic.  I’ve always liked old school rap, but I must admit I’m no rap historian and I’d never heard of Mr. Magic or his radio show.  What caught my attention more was the role he played in getting rap music on commercial radio.  I had no idea.  I follow hip hop music a bit, but I must admit not as closely as rock.  Mr. Magic was clearly a key player in the early days of rap, but my ignorance regarding his contributions goes to show you that there are many people (DJs, tastemakers, journalists, publicists, etc.) who contribute to a genre’s success with little or no recognition beyond the most avid followers.  So the next time you see another band on Figment succeeding in an area you feel you carved out or helped promote, don’t be jealous, know you did your part to make it happen and in doing so created more opportunity for your existing bands or ones you’ve yet to dream up.

R.I.P. Mr. Magic