Sunday, April 5, 2015

Why there are Metal Bands in the Comic Series

I will admit that I'm new to the metal scene. I didn't listen to Slayer until one day someone got very mad at me for "stealing a Slayer title" for my comic book series. (My reaction -- and I apologize to Slayer fans -- was "Who's Slayer?) At the time, one of my comic book titles was called "Reign of Blood". This person accused me of trying to use the Slayer title (I had never heard Slayer, and also, this person was rather drunk at the time.) I looked it up and the Slayer title was actually "Raining Blood"--very different. (But to appease this person, I changed the comic book title to "Rule of Blood".) We got a laugh out of it later. But in any case, that's how I was introduced to Slayer, and I've become a fan of their music and of metal.

I got more into metal music when my husband Mike Naz became a guitarist for local Los Angeles death metal band Enthraller. I became their roadie, "merchandise girl", and videographer (you can find their videos on my youtube page) , pretty much documenting them at every show they played (other than out-of-state tours). I also became a fan of death metal music. I began my "death metal education" with bands like Dying Fetus, Abysmal Dawn, Exhumed, and Grave, bands which Enthraller had played with.

As for putting bands in my comic book series, these came about as a fun and exciting idea. I loved metal music, and it really fit the "atmosphere" of my comic books. When I was "roadie" for Enthraller, I was working on my first comic book series, and my artists needed some ideas or models for some background vampire characters. I thought it would be fun to add the band in the series and turn them into vampires, and it would be a great way to help promote them since their logo was in the comic book. So I had my artists draw them in a scene in the comic book. Then it just went on from there. For the next comic books I began putting friends' bands they had played with, or bands that other members played for, just for fun. For instance, Enthraller's bassist Jorge Torres began playing with metal band Mesmeric, and I actually needed a band for a scene in a nightclub, so I put Mesmeric in. It was at first simply for fun and for promotional purposes, but then it became a way for my to help promote the bands and the metal music I was getting into, and of course, they can now say they've been immortalized in a comic book, whether they continued playing on or not. (Death metal Enthraller and local experimental metal band Death Embraced are currently on hiatus, but metal band Mesmeric is still playing).

I began to meet talented local bands and became exposed to more local music when Angie Gabriel of Metal Invictus asked if I wanted to be a vendor with my comic books at Maidens of Metal II (2013) , a yearly event that featured female singers or band members. I heard bands such as Syrebris, Harlequin,  Insentient, and Mocking of the Trinity, and was blown away by all the incredible talent. I began to go to local metal shows, especially the ones hosted by promoters Metal Invictus (Angie Gabriel, Jimmy Armenta, Cesar Escobar, and Adrian Mejia) and Church of the Eight Day (Daniel Dismal), and got introduced to more bands, and they all became the coolest friends. One band in particular is metal band Madrost, who I have to thank for keeping me awake during my drive to work, and I should have their music as my alarm clock since they energize me for the day! And through Adrian Mejia of Metal Warzone's videos, I listened to more local metal bands. It was at these shows that I became a fan of Black Metal music, after seeing bands like Arachnigod and Highland. And through friends like Andrew Melendez, Anna Hummell and Alix Vallecillo,  I get recommendations for black metal bands to listen to (mostly from the bands they post on FB too).  And of course, I thank my hubby Mike Naz for exposing me to bands like Meshuggah, Carcass, Cannibal Corpse, Behemoth, Cattle Decapitation and many more, and special thanks to Angie Gabriel and to Silver Gutierrez of Nuclear Blast Records for the awesome CD package (which included bands like Testament) they sent me this year.

I currently watch the bands on youtube, since my current health and mobility issues (I have nerve damage and a nerve/muscle disorder) prevent me from going to as many shows as I would like. So I found a way to support the music I've come to love, and the bands I admire. They are indie artists just like me and we pretty much do the same thing when it comes to promotion and getting our creations out there, and doing what we love. If I can't go to shows, I share their flyers on facebook and their info on twitter,  and I put the band in my comic books (Coming issues will have bands Sacred Ruins, Madrost, Highland, and Arachnigod, and the staff of metal promoters Metal Invictus and Metal Warzone). They've supported me and accepted me, a newbie, into their metal family, and I support them, and this is my way of saying thank you.

Future issues will continue, and I'm hoping to have a web comic series going where I can include more bands as well. (And no, no one has to pay to be in the comic book. Like I said, it's the bands I know and am friends with and it's all for fun and to help them with promotion and I really don't make money from it. All the sales from the comic book actually go to my artists and to bring them here to Los Angeles for Stan Lee's Comikaze--it pays for their airfare etc.) It does take a year to create each comic book but even though it takes a while, it does get done, when my artists have time between their day jobs to draw and color the artwork.

So hails to all the metal bands and promoters out there. You've got a fan for life. \m/

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