I am a Black Sabbath junkie. Been listening to them since Sabotage, which was the first record of my Mom’s that I ruined. I was never supposed to touch the stereo. But, I was obsessed with ‘Hole In The Sky’ so, I would sneak, plug in the headphone cans, put the record onto the platter and away I would fall into the sound.
You should never touch a person with eyes closed. They jump. Flail arms. Records scratch and fly. Like I said, “Ruined.”
“Black Sabbath: The Comic Book” written by Toddy Matthy with art by Martin Gimenez, published by Tidalwave Comics delves into the fourty-three year epic story of the band in twenty-five pages. Not an easy feat for a writer because between the facts of the band and the fiction, you could easily write a twenty-five issue series. Matthy does an excellent job of compressing all of that legend into a smooth narrative.
Gimenez’s art goes from ’68 Birmingham drab, soot coated film to nuclear blast brilliance upon a final 2011 stage. The design reflects not only the mood of the band’s struggles but, the seed of Sabbath’s identity growing in that dungeon of madness quivered vocals, detuned daemon guitars, doom soaked bass and thrum of incanted drums.
As smooth and enchanting as the writing and art design are, I found myself wishing for more. Much of the drama of the band’s career is missing and I would have loved to see panels of Iommi, Butler, Ward and Osbourne in those Warner Bros. Records meeting rooms where corporate clashed with devils of anarchy. How about the “Vol. 4” recording session when Ward was nearly fired and the band was given a “briefcase full of cash” just for purchasing drugs. Or when Rick Wakeman of Yes was brought in as a session player on “Sabbra Cadabra”.
“Black Sabbath: The Comic Book” is good, well designed and flows in those dark corners where our heavy metal heroes dare to tread. A casual or novice to the band and it’s work will get a great primer but, a die-hard will find it thin, albeit morbidly beautiful, work.