Black Metal

I have found my second-favorite comic after Scott Pilgrim: Black Metal, by Rick Spears and Chuck BB. It fulfills everything I want in a comic – a unique & fantastical story, excellent art, craft that takes advantage of the medium, and a sense of humor that just jibes with me. And it even has a nod to Scott Pilgrim in it.

Black Metal is why comics exist. Not superheroes or other fare designed for mass consumption. Unique, creator-driven stories are where it’s at – and it’s what comics excels in.

Twin brothers, Shawn and Sam, aren’t typical kids – their grim dedication to metal isn’t that unusual but their mysterious parentage sure is! Empowered by the legendary sword of Atoll, these kids are determined to battle however many demons it takes in order to fulfill the ancient prophecy of the Hell Baron! Infused with the ancient myth and high adventure of the music that inspired it, BLACK METAL is a truly epic tale.

There aren’t enough comics inspired by metal; I’m not surprised that I enjoyed this (after all enjoyed the hell out out of Murder Falcon). But I am surprised that I liked it so much that it immediately vaulted to #2 after Scott Pilgrim status.

The Scott Pilgrim vibes may have a lot to do with this newfound love. Same size book, in black & white. An art style in a similar vein. Magic realism with some snark and sarcasm. Except this has a stronger swords & sorcery feel – plus metal and some wry social commentary.

black metal
I have just realized that I can avoid spoilers by sharing pages in other languages O.o

The two brothers are foster kids, so they have the Parentless Hero trope going. And of course their foster mom is a total (and totally nice) normie. Of course they’ve been in & out of multiple schools. Everyone speaks with seriousness, yet the story is not serious (yet it is). And the story gets kicked into high gear thanks the metal band Frost Axe.

And here’s the homage to Scott Pilgrim, which is a very clear inspiration for this story:

omg scott pilgrim reference
omg scott pilgrim reference

Frankly it’s such a good book that I’m going to rewrite one of my stories to fit in this clever vein of magical realism with damn good black and white art.

I also took a moment to peruse user reviews and see a few 1 & 2 star reviews. Ignore them – they are ignorant posers (possibly even poseurs).

(Though I’ll admit to being pleased that such ignorant people read books, which means there is hope for this world.)

black metal
They even have some fun amongst all the grim seriousness.

To sum up:

  • If you like Scott Pilgrim, you’ll like this book
  • If you like Scott Pilgrim and swords & sorcery, you’ll really like this book
  • If you like Scott Pilgrim and swords & sorcery and metal, you’ll LOVE this book

(Yes, my whole review is just I REALLY LIKE THIS BOOK.)

Photo of author


Arp Laszlo

Hi, I’m Arp! I make comics and write about life as an Indian-American with late-diagnosis ADHD. I’m a self-taught and self-employed creator so I write a lot about art, learning, and entrepreneurial stuff that I’ve picked up along the way.

My stories are kinda weird, because that’s just how I am. My formative influences are Indian mythology, Batman, Tintin, 70s Bollywood, Ray Harryhausen, and Monty Python. There’s no way anything normal could come out of that, right?

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