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Music meets comics in Nine Inch Nails tribute anthology


In its strictest sense, music and comics couldn’t be further apart — even the most flagrant of comic book sound effects are, in fact, silent. But in the past decade, a number of comics creators with a passion for musical acts have stepped forward and created tributes to their favorite musicians — with notable comics based on or inspired by the likes of Tori Amos, Johnny Cash and Spearmint. Shawn Demumbrum has turned that trend into an informal line of independent anthologies through his company SpazDog Press, peaking now with Nothing Can Stop Me Now: Stories Inspired by Nine Inch Nails.

This upcoming graphic novel anthology, now seeking funds on Kickstarter, has writers and artists creating four- to eight-page stories based on songs from the band’s catalog. Led by a story by Caleb Monroe and Jason Copland based on “Every Day is Exactly the Same,” the collection also features contributions from such creators as Dirk Manning, Caanan White, Salgood Sam, Ryan Cody, Artyom Trakhanov and Joel Gomez. Unlike Demumbrum’s three previous “Inspired by” anthologies, Nothing Can Stop Me Now will be a full-color hardcover.

“Making comics with people who are passionate about the same music I like is something that want to continue to do. I want to continue to challenge myself as a creator and a publisher,” Demumbrum said in a press release. “Going from black and white to color and soft cover to hard cover are just two of the challenges. I wanted to add a pinup gallery so I could attract creators who didn’t have time in their schedule for a full story, but could create a single image for the book. For the previous books, I wanted to make the books PG-13 so that stores could carry them without restriction. The comic book industry has broadened even in the past few years. Comic books like Saga have pushed a mainstream mature to the forefront. I want the Nine Inch Nails book to reflect that type of book.”

Nine Inch Nails and its frontman Trent Reznor have a surprisingly long history of inspiring comics: An early issue of J. Scott Campbell’s Gen13 had a villain created as a homage to Reznor, and the 2004 independent comic Chang Fury featured the singer/songwriter as a fictionalized character. Likewise, Reznor and his bandmates have mentioned they’re comic readers as well, and the band’s 2007 album Year Zero reportedly had an tie-in comic in the works, but was never officially released.

The Kickstarter for Nothing Can Stop Me Now has raised nearly $12,000 toward its $14,000 goal with more than two weeks left.

Please please please let me kickstart what I want

Rubber Ring

I love that Shawn Demumbrum discovered The Smiths the same way I did: through the Pretty in Pink soundtrack. But more than that, I love that he’s put together a group of storytellers with a similar affection for the band who want to make an anthology based on its songs. There’s a Kickstarter campaign of course, but it’s already reached more than double its initial goal of $3000.

The plan is to have 13 stories answer this question about 13 songs: “What story plays in your head when you listen to your favorite Smiths song?”  According to the Kickstarter page, each creative team will make a 4-8 page story inspired by their favorites. Demumbrum writes that “The song acts as an inspiration, jumping off point, theme or mood for the story” and that “Each story varies in style and genre.”

The set list is:

“Death at One’s Elbow” by Glen Curren and Madame M
“Shoplifters of the World Unite” by Shawn Demumbrum and Matt Goodall
“Rubber Ring” by Dennmann
“Girlfriend in a Coma” by JP Manzanares
“Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before” by Henry Barajas and Christian Vilaire
“Cemetry Gates” by Libbi Rich and Eric Schock
“That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore” by Emily Rich and Jenn Fuguet
“How Soon is Now?” by Foo! and Sam Lagreen
“Pretty Girls Make Graves” by Thomas Healy and Justin Miller
“Panic” by Matthew Burke and Joshua Green
“What Difference Does It Make?” by Michael Kessler and Jeff Pina
“Handsome Devil” by Shelby Robertson
“Suffer Little Children” by John Chihak

Demumbrum hopes to debut the book at Tucson Comic-Con in November.

Update: Sterling Gates tweets that he’s also contributing a story to the book based on “William, It Was Really Nothing.”

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