When the metal/rock band Within Temptation wanted to create a concept album for their next CD, the project evolved into not only a studio album, but also an accompanying comic book and series of short films.
The Unforgiving, the six-issue comic inspired by the album of the same name, is being released to comic shops via Diamond beginning in September. The comic tells a stand-alone story but also fits with the album's concept.
"I love comic book tie-ins to other media," said Steven O'Connell, the Echo 3 Worldwide owner who's writing The Unforgiving. "They go hand in hand. It gives exposure to the product in areas it might not have the push."Besides the exposure in comic shops, the title will get an extra push through digital when Diamond begins its partnership through iVerse, offering something unique to digital readers. According to Diamond, Within Temptation's lead singer, Sharon den Adel, is providing an exclusive video clip that will be bundled with the digital version of the comic.
But for people who just read comics, O'Connell said the story works even without the music. It's what he called "dark and gritty," but with a grounded, detective element.
"Think the movie Se7en meets the television show Fringe," O'Connell said of the comic, which will feature art by Romano Molenaar.
"It's about redemption," he said. "Mother Maiden is a powerful psychic with the uncanny ability to raise the dead. Her servants are culled from those that have killed. We're not talking the serial killer type here. People who may have accidently killed someone, but nonetheless they have killed. Now they work as part of Mother Maiden's Wraith Taskforce in order to redeem themselves or to wipe the slate clean, as they say."
But the comic is also down-to-earth because it ends up involving a cop named Janyce Beecham. "Her teenage daughter was a victim of The Disciple a year earlier," the writer said. "Janyce wants to find The Disciple and stop his reign of terror. It's more than personal now."But O'Connell said the comic also works as an accompaniment to the Unforgiving album by Within Temptation.
"I was lucky enough to hear early track mixes of the album when I signed on," he said. "The first one I heard was Faster. To me, that song is the score to the whole series. I think the comic and the CD tie in well together. In fact, you should read the comic while the CD is on in the background."
Molenaar and O'Connell have worked together before on the comic tie-ins to the video game BloodRayne. "I went after the licensing rights to the video game BloodRayne back in 2003," O'Connell explained. "I had asked Romano if he'd be interested in doing some sample artwork. He agreed. I submitted the artwork and the company behind BloodRayne loved it. I then asked Romano if he'd do the interior artwork for the first BloodRayne comic called Skies Afire, and he agreed."It was actually Molenaar who met some of the band members from Within Temptation and suggested O'Connell for the project the group was planning.
"Romano works for a video game production company, and Within Temptation recorded two songs as promotion material for the video game The Chronicles of Spellborn," O'Connell explained. "Romano struck up a friendship with Sharon and Robert and the rest of the band.
"Robert had mentioned to Romano they were thinking of creating a concept album for their next CD," the writer said. "They also wanted to create a comic book to go along with it. Romano thought of me as writer for the project, and I'm so glad he did."O'Connell, who's also behind the indie comic Dark 48, said he wrote the comic to play to the artist's strengths. "Romano is unmatched in his uncanny ability to draw really beautiful and powerful women," he said. "He can also choreograph amazing fight scenes on the page. I think I write a decent fight scene, but when I see it laid out on a page by Ro, I even step back and say wow." Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!