Posted by Decapitated Dan |

Deep Discussions with Decapitated Dan: Blake Armstrong

Decapitated Dan: Hey Blake, thanks for taking time to talk with me about The Jester's Curse. 

Blake Armstrong: No problem!

DD: First of all let’s talk about you. Who are you and what do you do?

BA: Well, right now I’m the artist and creator for a comic book called “The Jester’s Curse.” It’s a sort-of ‘concept comic book’ inspired by the albums of this amazing Swedish metal band In Flames.
So what can you tell me about The Jester's Curse.

DD: What's it all about?

BA: It’s this cool project where we built a back-story for In Flames ‘ mascot, the Jesterhead and made a comic book out of it.

DD: Who are the main characters?

BA: The Jesterhead is our primary character – we’re with him from the beginning and his story is what drives everything. Other characters, like, Lord Hypnos, a dark ‘Pin-head-like’ character and the Whoracle, a sort of evil, demonic character exist around him and hold the answers to his journey.

DD: Where did this idea come from?


It came from a notion of, “This would be so cool if…” I’d been a fan of the band for a long time and really found their lyrics and imagery interesting. I was so surprised nothing had been tackled regarding their mascot. What is the Jesterhead? Where did it come from? I thought that could be fertile ground to create a story that fans would dig. Then I started looking into the lyrics and found threads to weave a narrative spanning all of the records. Now we’ve got a big, crazy story and a really interesting world to play around in.

DD:  What lead you to have the chance to work with the amazing band In Flames on this book?


It was essentially born out of my art being recognized by In Flames’ PR person – he had indicated that he’d like to use some of my stuff for small tour promotion on Facebook and fun stuff like that – he then popped the question, “We were thinking of doing a comic book, what do you think about that?” And I immediately started hurling ideas and art at him. A couple of months later, I’m sitting and pitching my ideas to the band in person. It was very surreal. It happened really quickly.

DD: Do you find it difficult to tie the Music of In Flames and the Comic together?

BA: Yes and no. The music is so inspiring and rich. It wasn’t hard at all to build a world from it. The tough part for Scott and I was making sure the art and story lived up to the records. I mean, that’s what the fans love – the music. It has to be separate but complimentary. That being said, I always felt I was making something that I, as a fan, would love – so I hope everyone else does too.

DD: In terms of horror what can we expect? 

BA: There are some dark, grisly characters and scenarios – especially in the first issue. We have the Subterranean: hellish beings that only live to torment the souls people. They exist within this idea of what life would be like if you we’re driven mad by immortality and isolation for centuries. What kind of demons would haunt you if you were the only person left alive. Being imprisoned in eternal insanity was a creepy thought to us. Especially when we’re in the characters mind.

DD: What are you hoping readers can take away from this story?

BA: I hope the In Flames fans will pop in their copy of Lunar Strain and read the book with a sense of “Wow, this added to the experience. ” And for the casual reader, “Whoa, this story is really cool and I want to know more about it.” We really tried to push the art and story telling into a different place that sets it apart from other books out there. Hopefully in the end it will help people find In Flames music and make the music even more exciting to the fans.

DD: Where can people go to get this book?

BA: Check out

DD: Can we expect more Jesters’ Curse books from you in the future?

Well, art and commerce must coexist, (or so my landlord and girlfriend tell me), so, if the first book does well, absolutely. I will keep making these books until people stop reading them. We do have every intention of making Lunar Strain part 2 happen. So at the very least our fans will get the whole story of that record. We’ll just have to see after that. 

DD: Can you talk a bit about your experiences so far working in comics? 

BA: Comics are a bit of a new medium to me (in a way). I’ve worked in television for the last ten years and always used my art for pitching or random projects. I’ve created some pitch materials that were essentially comic books in the past. A comic book was always on the horizon, but it’s that question of time and resources. You always need that first leap -- and the Jester’s Curse was it for me. Once this book was underway I essentially changed careers. Now I can’t imagine doing anything else. Making a living drawing pictures is a pretty good gig. 

DD: What is the most horrific thing that happened to you while working on this book?


Haha! All of it! This book was made very unconventionally and very quickly. Scott and I work organically and build our world as we go, refining and refining until it feels right. This is creatively fantastic, but logistically a nightmare because the book is all over the place almost until the end. Add to that, it’s also the size of about two and a half normal comic book issues and we’ve never done anything at that scope. So it’s safe to say there wasn’t a day that went by where we weren’t panicking about something whether it was getting art finished fast enough or making sure the writing was solid. So the horror was pretty constant. 

DD: So where can readers find out more about this book, and about yourself?

BA: They can check out Now that the book is finished the site will be updated more frequently with info and fun stuff so please stop by and say hello!

DD:  I'm going to put you on the spot with this one, best In Flames CD?

BA: Oh man, this is the question that makes my head implode! I’ll say, Soundtrack To Your Escape, since it’s the first record I ever heard start to finish-- it holds a special place in my heart as it helped me discover them. I think I had every record of theirs by the end of that month after hearing that one.

DD: Thanks so much for your time Blake.

BA: Any time, sir!

We also did an In Flames Special Episode of Monsters & Metal this past Month. To listen to that Click Here.