If you’re reading this, then one of your favorite bands probably has a shirt with Holy Mountain Printing. The Raleigh print shop has specialized in extremely extreme music and movie merch. They’ve also joined the ranks of collectible toys and print magazines. Now Holy Mountain is releasing their foray into comic books with the twisted adventure series Deathblazers. Decibel Magazine is thrilled to bring you a sneak peruse of the first issue’s gnarliest frames before the September 18th release date.
“What if your favorite metal album cover had sex with your favorite psychedelic album cover and then H.R. Giger turned it into a Satanic Saturday morning cartoon?” That’s one helluva pitch for the smirking weirdness that awaits in the pages of Deathblazers. Issue one follows Holy Mountain’s undead Templar Knight mascot hacking ‘n’ slashing his way through many-headed and many-tentacled foes. Jonathan Kociuba’s artwork and designs feel like a pastiche of ’80s and ’90s cartoon and comic references, but covered in grave rot and spiderwebs. Brockton McKinney’s script is just as vibrant as the artwork, rife with anachronisms and profane quips. As the company’s name implies, there’s a heavy dose of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s bizarro sci-fi. The balance of gonzo sword ‘n’ sorcery and interdimensional madness is built for serialized fun. Holy Mountain is crafting a world where every creative whim can be indulged and no decapitation is permanent. Hop on your zombie steed and join the crusade.
Enjoy the preview below from writer Brockton McKinney and artist Jonathan Kociuba ahead of the official Deathblazers release.
Brockton McKinney: I really love Page Four, Panel Four, because it’s the first appearance of our three-headed villain Nerk’s vehicle, the Graveship. Before we started the actual book (series artist and co-creator) Kociuba and I were having these long, unhinged, totally off-the-wall conversations about all the things we wanted to see in the series, design-wise. We both immediately agreed on the inclusion of Master of the Universe style transport machines, and the Graveship was born. The side panels of this evil cruiser are a nod to another toy line we both loved, the less-well-known Visionaries. I was so enamored with K’s illustration that I changed the story to have our protagonist, Frank, steal it from Nerk, so that the barge of souls could have more screen time.
BM: Page 8 is a beast! Essentially, it’s a splash panel, but we needed to figure out how to show the enormous size of our main villain, Abbadon, and still work in a good bit of important dialogue, as well a few mini-panels. Kociuba and I worked longer on this page probably more than any other on the book and I love how it came out. If you compare the monstrosity of my original terrible sketch to what he actually produced, you will see just how phenomenal an illustrator K is. (Also, this is the favorite panel of our editor, Taylor!)
BM: I believe Kocuiba will probably choose pages 16-17 as one of his favorites as well, and I agree. To me it is one of the coolest visual highlights of the book. In the script I asked for this massive monster (the mission statement being “The Thing meets Akira”) whose body was composed of hundreds of the smaller humanoid-snake creatures, the Vyprids. Not only did K deliver a colossal monstrosity even more freakish than I could have imagined, he came up with the idea of doing the double-page spread landscape-style, so that you have to turn the book on its side to see it. It’s the Playboy centerfold of serpentine behemoths and it’s one of my favorite illustrations in the entire book.
BM: Page 19, Panel 1, because it’s the first full reveal of our character Illex the Glaivecaster and her patented Bladeblasters. We have such extensive plans for her, and she is the most fun character to write, as she has an insanely foul mouth and takes zero guff from anyone. She’s a “shoot dark-magic lasers first, ask no questions later,” kind of warrior. Her name comes from a genus of about 480 species of flowering plants, known as ilex, or holly, which is not-by coincidence my wife’s name.
BM: Page 21, Panel Four just makes me smile for a number of reasons. First off, you really get to see the scale of Frank versus the snake-monster, as he’s 10 feet from it’s gaping maw. Secondly, I got to use a line that I’d had in my head since we first started the book, when Illex says “Send this thing to Hell” and Frank replies, “No–” then jumps at the creature screaming, “Hell is for winners!”