Posted by Decapitated Dan |

Deep Discussions with Decapitated Dan: Black Metal Omnibvs

I recently had a chance to talk to Rick Spears and Chuck BB about the upcoming Black Metal Omnibvs. Check it out: 

Decapitated Dan: Hey guys thanks for taking time to talk with me about the Black Metal Omnibus. First of all lets talk about you. How did you find yourself getting into making comics?

Rick Spears: I went to film school and wrote a screenplay called Teenagers From Mars. It was all about comics and eventually I reworked it into a comic book series and graphic novel with artist Rob G. Teenagers From Mars opened a bunch of door for me and I’ve been doing comics ever since.

Chuck BB: During college I started playing with the comics medium, making little mini comics,
going to APE, etc.  Steve Niles found my stuff on his forum and offered me the gig of drawing Secret Skull.  And basically I became a professional comics artist over night!  Of course the professional aspect is up for debate, but that’s how I got in... And it’s been downhill ever since!

DD: So what can you tell me about Black Metal. What’s it all about?

RS: Black Metal is the massive brutal tale or two metal kids Shawn and Sam Stronghand who get this black metal recored, play it backwards, open a gateway to grab a legendary sword, and then they go to Hell to take over.

CBB: Rick really laid it out here for ya, but I think it is also a real love letter to Metal in general.  So its chocked full of references, and oozes metal from its pores.  We wanted to have fun with the genre, but also somehow show it visually and pay homage to the bloody roots!

DD: Who are the main characters?

RS: The main characters are two twin boys Shawn and Sam Stronghand. They are into metal and live with their foster mom. They don’t really fit in with normal kids and their only solace is in the heavy dark sounds of black metal. I don’t want to give to much away but they have a very mysterious lineage and a dark date with destiny.

CBB: Indeed!

DD: Where did this idea come from?

RS: I met Chuck BB at the Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco. Becky Cloonan introduced us. I was looking through Chuck’s portfolio and he had a drawing of like proto Shawn and Sam. I don’t think there was any story with the drawing but I really responded to it and we started talking and the story grew out from there. We both wanted to do something big and epic.

CBB: Yeah there wasn’t much of a story there, I just really wanted to do a comic about Metal, and specifically Metal Heads.  Something to really show what metal was all about and what the fans devotion to music felt like.  I couldn’t write for a hill of beans, so Rick was eager to get ahold of it and bring it to life.  And he totally got what I was shooting for, and rocketed beyond!

DD: What can readers expect in terms of Horror? How about Metal?

RS: It’s not really a horror book as in it’s not really scary or anything like that. it’s more HIGH ADVENTURE and lots of demons getting chopped with swords. Brutal but not scary. And it’s very Metal! We reference a lot of bands and repurpose some lyrics. There are tons of Metal easter eggs for the observant. We also meet Frost Axe a black metal band and see there music play out visually.

CBB: Yeah, while it isn’t really horror, its full of violence, monsters with a Dungeons and Dragons meets Satanic biblical demonic bent.  So I think Monsters can get classified as horror, so that works, right?  And as far as Metal, it is 100% metal.  It was a challenge trying to convey a music with visuals, but we set out with that goal and luckily Metal is a music that is full of imagery and thrives
on it.  So yeah, its Metal as hell!

DD: If you were to give this book a movie style rating (G, PG, PG-13, R,  X) what would it get, and why would you say that?

RS: I guess I would say PG-13 even though I kinda hate PG-13. There really isn’t any profanity or nudity but lots of violence.

CBB: Well we do let a F-word fly at the end, but I think PG-13 allows for one of those, right?  Though for the violence, limb and head severing I think we would be skirting close to that R rating - however the cartooned style of my art probably lets us slide under some radars.

DD: So is this all now said and done since it’s collected, or will we see a return of Shawn and Sam someday?

RS: For now it is done. This was a huge project, the biggest I’ve ever done and I feel like we really went all the way with it. I never say never but I’m pretty sure this it it.

CBB: What is dead may rise again!  But only if the stars and planets align in some paganish kinda way and a lot of money is involved.  My tongue is currently fused to my cheek.

DD: Are you both Metalheads? Born and Raised or determined once you knew what music was?

RS: I’ve been into music my whole life and you can see it in my work. TFM is an obvious Misfits reference and so on. I love metal but coming up I was more into punk and hardcore. These days I’m really into horror soundtrack stuff like Goblin and Fabio Frizzi.

CBB: I’m a Metal man, but I was initially into punk and hardcore in my high school days until I unlocked the metal gene.  I’m sure it was just laying there dormant until I switched it on.  When I was a kid though, I loved Maiden and what not, I would just stare at the album art in the record stores for days.  I still love them today by the way, just trying to get nostalgic on ya.

DD: Who’s your favorite band, and who is a band people need to know about?

RS: Right now I am really into John Carpenter’s score for Halloween 3. That’s the weird Halloween sequel without Michael Myers in it but it has the best score. It’s not metal at all but has these great driving synths and drums with no lyrics. It’s the best thing ever to write too.

CBB: Carpenter and Zombi and all that stuff is fantastic for sure, and I’m sure some of that stuff was playing while I was drawing.  But if we’re talking Meat and Potatoes Here, I think the band I love the most is Ulver.  From their early necro Black Metal stuff to their progressive genre shifts, I think they’re a band that could really blow peoples minds given the chance.  I’ve been jamming to the new Pallbearer lately, its doomy sludgy metal with a bunch of melodic elements.  I think they also have the potential to convert people to metal.

DD: What else are you guys working on these days?

RS: I’m doing The Auteur, a new ongoing series about a berserk Hollywood producer’s auto-bio voyage to the crossroads of art and exploitation. And I’m doing more movie stuff. I just shot a short film over labor day and I just had a feature screenplay in the Sundance Producing Lab.

CBB: Speaking of metal, I do a monthly comic strip in Americas only metal mag, DECIBEL called Stone Cold Lazy which is even more inside baseball than Black Metal even.  I’m also working on a project with Ivan Brandon called Deathface, which is basically an homage of 80s over the top action.  Arnold on steroids, if you can believe that.

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

RS: The internet! I don’t know. You can order it from you local comic shop of book sellers. And I’m
on Twitter @rickspears and Face Book

CBB: For sure the internet, and comic stores.  Why I am also on twitter too, fancy that @Chuckbb. 

DD: So in summary give me a quick recap on the Black Metal Omnibus and why fans should give it a try.

RS: The Black Metal Omnibvs collects the whole HUGE story all three volumes in a new oversized format. It’s a missive story and it’s a steal for the price. It’s cheaper than if you bought all three books. We are also doing a limited black-on-black hard cover edition that we will have at conventions and direct from Oni Press.

CBB: It’s also got a bunch of sketches and art I’ve done for Black Metal that has never been published before, so if you like the bonus content - it has it.  The Black on Black edition is BRUTAL, its like the anti-bible.  Check ‘er out!

DD: Thanks so much for your time guys!

RS: Thank you! Thanks for helping us get the word out.

CBB: No, thank you citizen!