I remember being a kid and laying on my bedroom floor listening to the greats on my headphones. Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, AC/DC – you name it. I’d sit and listen for hours on end reading the liner notes as well as biographies and legendary tales of rock. These were not mere musicians to me; they were much more. They were, to me and many other kids, living, breathing, gods on earth. There was something special about these bands. There was an edge to their music, to their look, to their personalities. But beyond that, there were mysteries to these mythical rock gods.
I can remember reading that the members of Led Zeppelin all sold their souls to the devil in exchange for their musical abilities. How else would these seemingly “normal” men be able to possess such abilities? As a kid, something like this seemed completely reasonable. There was a magic to this music – a real, tangible amount of actual magic in the world. The excitement that this knowledge gave me, whether it was through deciphered backward messages or uncovered meanings in artwork, was unparalleled.
Rockstars Vol: 1: Nativity in Blacklight brought me back to those days with each panel. Rising above the silliness of the dark religion of rock as expressed so humorously by Tenacious D, there is a sense of foreboding in this eerie, mysterious tale. As I had expressed in my review of the debut issue, the occult presence is unrelenting throughout Harris’ tale of death and music.
As we continue to follow Jackie Mayer, a scholar of the hidden realms of music, we are able to play out fantasies that many of us have held when the world of electric guitars and gods amongst men were brand new in our lives. Mayer is able to uncover the deepest secrets of his favorite ax wielders and larynx-shredders. Who wouldn’t want to find treasure troves of unreleased mysterious music by our favorite bands?
Mayer and Dorothy Buell, a hardworking, smart mouthed journalist, begin to unravel the mysteries of a world more terrifying than they could have ever imagined. As Nativity in Blacklight progresses, the plot gets consistently thicker and more interesting. There is never a dull moment in this first volume. And though it leaves us with many questions, they’re compelling enough to keep any would-be occult scholar to come back for the second volume.
There are elements of horror, music, and detective storytelling contained in this first volume, and each part is handled with finesse. It’s hard to classify just what genre this book falls in – and that’s a good thing. Rockstars doesn’t want to be confined to a single genre. Joe Harris’ goal is to give readers a compelling, sprawling story. Fitting into the confines of a specific genre appears to be way down on the list of the writer’s list of priorities, which is exactly what I love in a story.
Megan Hutchison’s art is fantastic throughout. Each panel in Rockstars Vol.1: Nativity in Blacklight is handled with extreme care and attention to detail. Looking close enough, those with a keen eye will be pleasantly surprised at the Easter eggs hidden throughout the story. Hutchison and Kelly Fitzpatrick make an astounding team, as colorist Fitzpatrick’s work is able to allow Hutchison’s art to really pop. An added bonus is the inclusion of a playlist at the end of every issue to keep you invigorating and to remind you as to why exactly you love rock and roll in the first place.
Rock and roll is supposed to be excited. It’s supposed to be a little bit scary. And maybe most of all, it’s supposed to be mysterious. If nothing else, Nativity in Blacklight succeeds in giving the reader an irresistible urge to pick up a guitar, plug it in, and turn the volume up to ten.
Rockstars Vol. 1: Nativity in Blacklight will be released on June 14th, 2017.
The Geeked Gods Score
Story: Joe Harris
Art/Cover: Megan Hutchison
Colors: Kelly Fitzpatrick