Yes you read the title right, and no, this isn't an album review. Although both entities exist. Confused?
Back in 1994, Marvel Comics, Alice Cooper, and the legendary creative team from DC's Sandman, Neil Gaiman, Michael Zulli, and Dave McKean all teamed up for a once in a lifetime comic event based off of, and in supportive conjunction, with Alice Cooper's 1994 album, Alice Cooper: The Last Temptation.
Apparently Alice, a life-long Marvel Zombie, happened upon Gaiman's run on Sandman and became such a fan of the writing and story, that he instantly knew he wanted to work with him. So phone calls were made(this is before e-mailing became a regular thing people) and deals were struck. And out came this beautifully illustrated and written three issue mini-series.
The mini-series, like the album of the same name, all centers around a young boy named Steven. I you're familiar with Alice Cooper, then you'll know the concept and character of Steven is often used in his albums, most notably in the 1975 album, Welcome To My Nightmare. Well this is sort of a different Steven than the one mentioned in the albums, but he still see's weird and fucked up shit that may or may night be there, and of course......Alice Cooper.
Steven's a typical ,teenage boy, hanging out with his friends, when he happens upon a mysterious theater, called the Theatre of the Real, The Grandest Guignol!
The kids are naturally curious, as most kids that age are, and they go inside to see what the deal is.
Inside they meet the Showman, who looks a hell of a lot like Alice Cooper. Hmm.
It seems the show's free, no ticket necessary, except for one thing; only one can be admitted. young Steven agrees to go inside and see what the big deal is, and damn does he get more than he ever bargained for!
All sorts of horrors and fucked up shit are shown to Steven, but thanks to the stunningly beautiful and detailed art by Zulli, they look very authentic and real.
Throughout the whole show, the Showman's trying to get Steven to join his Theatre, trying his best to convince him that life is too harsh and not worth going through. But if he joins his cast, he'll never have to worry about things like that ever again. Not even growing old and dying. Still Steven isn't totally convinced yet until he meets a character named Mercy, as sweet and young red-headed girl who catches his eye....and later his heart.
She transforms back into her true form, that of the Showman/Devil's talking cane, and slithers away into the night. Poor Steven. Hell, I thought she might be real too.
Steven heads back to his home, with no treats, just tricks(not the good kind;) and goes to bed after his hellish ordeal. We think it's all over, when the Showman appears in Steven's bathroom mirror, and proudly, eerily proclaims "You think it's over? It's never over! It doesn't matter where you travel. It doesn't matter you go. I'll not forget you. I'm only a moment of reflection away."
And that's how it ends.
Pretty cool huh?
Of course this isn't Alice Cooper's only comic appearance
Nope, he appeared in #50 of Marvel Premiere back in Oct 1979, as another album tie-in. This time it was hyping his album Welcome to My Nightmare.
Very, very cool.
I lucked out in recently acquiring the collected trade of the Last Temptation when I bought a stack of random comics from a friend who's moving and wanted to get rid them. In it was little gem, who'd I heard about back when it first came out, but it never really seemed to stick on my radar of comics to look out for. I have to say this one was really worth what I paid for the whole lot, as it's classic Gaiman/Zulli with those very cool McKean covers thrown in. The Showman is basically the Alice Cooper character, just elevated to a larger, more omnipotent/god-like status. Fucking love it!
If you don't already have it or the trade, I highly, highly recommend looking for this and getting it. It's just that damn good!