I’m not going to go over the details because we have mentioned Thought Bubble quite a bit this week but I did grab some swag while I was there. Shy of £3 I managed to pick up the Robin mini-series 1991 and a structurally sound copy of Batman #428 which when considering the significance of them in the larger Batman mythos I was pretty chuffed about but whilst thumbing through the issues at the same stall I came across something that seemed so odd I had to pick it up.
This was a comic I never knew existed nor even imagined would have existed. When you look at the times “rock stars” have crossed over to the comics medium they can often be a mixed bag. Kiss is relatively popular and well they do have a schtick that lends itself to the medium on the other hand in a cynical move on the phase people were going through Marvel once put out a Billy Ray Cyrus comic which must have immediately depreciated upon exit from out of the printing press.
But when you think tough rockstars, the kind that can not only crank out a decent tune but also score some chicks and kick ass the last person you would think of would be (who I am going to be looking at) Prince, Yes I picked up a Prince one-shot “Prince: Alter Ego” from 1991 and it is mind blowing.
Week 19: So I bought something really really weird… A Prince comic book
Who were they?: I’m not so sure if I even need to use my usual sub-header to tell you this. Prince as in not the Prince of Atlantis nor Prince Valiant but rather the musical genius behind such albums as Sing o’ the Times, 1999, Purple Reign and of course who can forget the Batman Soundtack [insert appropriate Shaun of the Dead joke here]. The weird thing about this is you would assume there would be very little by way of talent behind this book, You would assume… But you would be wrong it was written surprisingly by the late and great Dwayne McDuffie whose later work would include founding the minority orientated Milestone and transitioning over to working on TV projects such as Justice League Unlimited, Static Shock (which he created during his Milestone tenure) and Ben 10 and was illustrated by Denys Cowan who worked on just about everything at Marvel and DC at some point and followed McDuffie a number of those later projects.
Now the thing that struck me as weird is that yes, to a certain extent Prince is enigmatic but equally he isn’t particularly known for having a strong personality or indeed imposing frame which one would think is a requirement for an action hero busting thugs in the hood, And that is essentially the plot but very simplified. From what I could actually tell. Prince is distracted in the comic, He can’t focus on a recording so goes to clear his head by riding his motorcycle but his mind wonders as it does when you are riding motorcycle when he rides into “a bad neighborhood” and then as he is about to be attacked by a street gang beats the shit out of them. He then happens upon his antagonist “Gemini” to quote the actual narration “Dark has the light, Yin has its yang and and [not my typo this was actually in the book] Batman has his Joker.” … Oh and They name drop Batman on more than one occasion. Gemini and Prince were once blood brothers learning music as the same time but Gemini turned to darkness and now we have a villain.
This proceeds with a motorbike chase through the city under gunfire, A fight over the muse and a rock off in the end at Paisley Park which Prince wins. The end!
I mean that is it in a nut shell but there is quite a lot of weirdness in between like Prince shagging his muse and narration bubbles that just make no sense but clearly that is a recurring theme to this book.
What have they done recently?: I had to do a little digging on this, It was published by DC but you would be very hard pressed to find that within the book save for the small print. It was printed under the label Piranha Music which I learned was a planned comic imprint that would incorporate musicians into comics, Namely Prince.
There is a sequel book which I must now find called Prince and the New Power Generation: Three Chains of Gold, But what it is about I can only speculate and hope that it is half as batshit crazy as Alter Ego and that was way back 1994 (they really should have waited 5 years would have been more apt).
What can we expect next?: Piranha Press and music folded years back, Dwayne Mcduffie who wrote both Alter Ego and it’s follow up passed away a few years back too and well this 2013 Prince isn’t that relevant as he once was.
So…. No followup.