Review – This Damned Band #1 (Dark Horse Comics)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Paul Cornell
Artist: Tony Parker
Published: 5th August 2015

When I found out that This Damned Band was being marketed with the buzz line “Spinal Tap meets Ghostbusters” I was immediately interested. I love Spinal Tap and I love Ghostbusters so it was a bit of a no brainer. What could go wrong?

The band in question is the subject of a documentary and the hardest part of the whole thing for them is remembering to stay in character for the cameras which provides many a humorous moment throughout this issue. This is the really clever part of this comic. It is written from the point of view of the documentary maker with the different characters all talking to the camera. Cornell has written it so well and the comedy timing is spot on.

So our band, Motherfather, are on tour in Japan in 1974. They are a classic 70’s rock band comprising of, Justin Parish – Lead vocals; Bob Robson – Drums; Kev (Just Kev) – Lead Guitar; Alex Lodge – Bass and finally Clive Stanley – second guitar and creator of Motherfather. They are famous for worshipping the Devil and dabbling in Black Magic when in fact they would rather just have a cup of tea while Kev attempts to look after his 4 kids ( Elf Kev, Rudy Kev and Kev’s 3rd and 4th children) with his wife, Alice Kev (you get the idea). Alice is part of the ‘Wives and Groupies’, a group of women who provide “services” to the band also lead by head groupie, Summerflower.

Up until this point there isn’t a whole lot of supernatural goings on as the band doesn’t actually believe in any of that “bollocks”. About halfway through the issue Summerflower reads Alice’s tealeaves and see’s the Eschaton which actually means the end of all things. The band, however, think that the most evil thing they are associated with is their manager, Mr Browley. Mr Browley seems to have appeared in the management business with no previous record of employment but is most effective. We are introduced to him just as he is requesting additions to the bands rider (in a very loud voice, with hand gestures) including a pony and a bunch of very expensive local mushrooms that guarantee a meeting with supernatural beings. Hmm…curiouser and curiouser!

The supernatural or “Ghostbusters” element of this story literally doesn’t show up until the last panel in the form of, I’m assuming, The Devil. This is after the band takes a massive trip after eating the mushrooms. Introducing this into the last panel is a stroke of genius as you are left thinking “What?? WHAT??” and obviously want to read the next issue.

Cornell and Parker work in total tandem here. The documentary style narrative is a really clever idea and it just works so well with the 70’s rock genre and Parker’s art is bright and colourful in keeping with the tone of the 1970’s. The set of panels which are “drawn by an artist, based on later interview material” during the bands mushroom trip is brilliant. The cover art also has to be mentioned here as it is fantastic and one of the best covers I’ve seen for a while, well done to Parker and Lovern Kindzierski.

After a couple of false starts I really enjoyed this comic. The comic timing, the narrative style and the art really work well to bring a comic that, given time, could just turn it up to 11.

Rating: A strong start 4/5.

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The writer of this piece was: Cat McGlinn
Cat Tweets from @LibraryCat10.

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