POP CULTURE SCHLOCK at RPM: Exhibit H – Murder Falcon
Greetings, RPM-people! Thanks for checking out my latest Pop Culture Schlock column for RPMonline; a cool collectibles catchment area if ever there was one… and now in its second year!
With the mention of years comes a slightly belated Happy New Year wish from yours truly. 2020, eh? Proper science fiction that number is, right? But we got here when many didn’t so for that we have to raise a horned salute and treat every day like it harbours the opportunity for awesomeness.
It’s been over two decades since the day I got my first (now archaic) DVD player – multi-region, of course; I’m no savage – and that is further away from the present than when I got my first VCR was from that day: a scary thought if you can even make sense of it! The future of our past threatened us with tales of Moonbase Alpha being knocked out of orbit by a nuclear waste explosion and of blade runners tracking down replicants: the reality today is of a space force decked out in woodland camouflage and repulsive cunts, so escapism remains the ultimate luxury.
You all know about escapism, though, right? Your sanctuary, whether it be at a sweaty club gig losing yourself to the righteous sounds of a band never heard of by a listener of Planet Rock, or melting into a corner of your world surrounded by physical media? That’s reason for living right there, bruthas and sistas.
As you have probably figured out if you have checked out any of my previous seven columns for RPM, I have a physical media obsession. Streaming is basically Skynet in my world so, if you saw that shitty Terminator sequel at the tail-end of last year, you know how badly that is gonna end. And reading comic books on an app? Go and stand in the corner and re-evaluate your wannabe-cool life, ya monster! I still buy comics every week; still crack open the pages, flare open my nostrils, and smell that fucking glorious art on every page. It’s an addiction, I know. A money pit (sadly not the 1986 Tom Hanks movie that featured White Lion). But it is still one of the easiest and most rewarding collecting experiences. You get new, über-cool entertainment every week of the year that is instantly collectible, and, as stated previously, it smells frigging great. Also, it is metal… as proven below.
If you’re reading RPM then you’re already cool, I know this. You know your music, but you also strive to find new music that echoes the cool shit that is already in and will never leave your collection. With that in mind, this month’s featured Pop Culture Schlock item (I had to get there eventually!) is relatively new, but with a foot, a talon maybe, in the past…
Daniel Warren Johnson is a Chicago-based comic book writer and artist who created the Eisner-nominated Extremity series, the web comic Space-Mullet, and, the subject of this month’s column, Murder Falcon.
Released by Image Comics/Skybound (with the first issue dated October 2018), Murder Falcon is an eight-part comic book series that fuses the worlds of heavy metal and monsters – it’s fantastical… and it shreds!
Jake is a metal guitarist in a downward spiral. With a heartbreaker of a back story, the long-haired axe-wielder is without band and seemingly without hope. That six string hasn’t been picked up in a long time. Meanwhile, his city is being ravaged by monsters!
Magnum Khaos is the king of all hatred and fear who has fashioned a portal into another dimension; negative energy from human cruelty and anxiety is sucked into his dark world via the monstrous attacks that he has been planning for centuries. All hope, it would seem, is lost. But…
Jake’s guitar, gathering dust, is suddenly transformed and Murder Falcon, a monster-killing machine (with feathers) has travelled from The Heavy to the city to take down the Khaos creatures. He can only do so, however, when Jake plays his forgotten axe! Man, when he shreds Murder Falcon shreds… monster bodies! By getting the old band back together – the other members’ instruments similarly invoking badass battle mofos – maybe the Earth as we know it can be saved.
With similarities in serious content to I Kill Giants (and if you know that comic or subsequent spin-off movie then you’ll have a clue as to where the heartbreak comes into play here), Murder Falcon adds melancholy to the metal to great effect and, with superb artwork from Johnson coupled with eye-popping colours from Mike Spicer, this book comes highly recommended by my good self.
There is more to this than meets the eye, however. Y’see, every one of Murder Falcon’s eight issues came with a “Heavy Metal” variant cover by guest artists paying homage to classic album artwork. I have every one, of course and, to be honest, these are the reasons that I wanted to feature the comic in my collectables column.
Issue 1 came with a variant cover paying homage (via artwork and Murder Falcon logo) to Judas Priest’s ‘Painkiller’. Issue 2 took on Iron Maiden’s ‘Somewhere In Time’, while issue 3 went a little more left field with a homage to Bolt Thrower’s ‘War Master’. Pantera’s ‘Vulgar Display Of Power’ was the basis for issue 4’s variant, while it was all about the shred for issue 5 with Yngwie J. Malmsteen’s ‘Trilogy’ honoured. Issue 6 saw Megadeth’s ‘Rust In Peace’ feature, followed by issue 7 and its Dio – ‘Holy Diver’ tribute. The final issue, number 8, was a real ‘Shout At The Devil’, based on the second album from Mötley Crüe (yes, when they were still good), complete with logo umlauts.
If those “Heavy Metal” variant covers aren’t reason enough to have your digits scurrying to your secondary market seller of choice than I don’t know what else I can do for you. This is cool new shit based on cool old shit, and I know you guys love cool shit. If you don’t fancy searching for eight individual comic books but still think that Murder Falcon is for you, have no fear because a trade paperback/graphic novel that collects all eight issues was released last year and Amazon will deliver it to you TOMORROW… but they’ll probably leave it outside in the rain.
So, keep doing what you do, keep liking what you like, and I’ll catch you all again next month, possibly with less mention of Yngwie J. Malmsteen. Possibly.