Five Comics by Rock Stars

Numerous rock stars have tried to cross over into other mediums, whether it's acting (Henry Rollins, Meatloaf), painting (Marilyn Manson, John Mellencamp), or making their own liquor (Geoff Tate, Maynard James Keenan).

One medium rich with rock stars is comic books. Over the years, many musicians have either penned their own comics or starred in them. In anticipation of this weekend's Phoenix Comicon (taking place Thursday through Sunday at Phoenix Convention Center), we bring you five comics by or about rock stars.

Kiss #1 (Marvel, 1977): There have been many Kiss comics printed since this first one, but what makes this comic the Kiss comic to have is the way it was printed: using the blood of the band members. A registered nurse drew blood from Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Ace Frehley, and Peter Criss (which was witnessed by a notary public), and then the blood was dumped into vats of red ink at Marvel's Borden Ink plant. The comic features Kiss in four different stories, with guest appearances by such characters at The Avengers, Dr. Doom, and Spider-Man. Inked by Allen Milgrom (Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-ManX-Factor) and written by the late Steve Gerber (co-creator of Howard the Duck), the first Kiss comic is the most collectible in rockdom. The first pressings of the 66-page comic included a concert centerfold, and to buy one today, fans will need to fork over anywhere from $100 to $150.

The Amory Wars (Evil Ink Comics, 2004 - present): This comic is written by Claudio Sanchez, frontman of progressive metal band Coheed and Cambria. The comic's storyline is also the focus of the band's concept albums. The basic premise is that there's a struggle for power in a place called Heaven's Fence, a collection of 78 interconnected planets. The hero is Claudio Kilgannon, and he must ultimately fight Wilhelm Ryan, ruler of Heaven's Fence and murderer of Kilgannon's family. While I'm a huge fan of Coheed and Cambria's music, I couldn't get into The Amory Wars. The artwork (by Chris Miller) is decent, and the slick, full-color pages are nice, but the traditional sci-fi plot (struggle for power on a fictional planet) didn't pull me in. I never warmed up to the story's hero, either, and there aren't any intriguing, strong supporting characters to help maintain my interest, either.

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