BELZEBUBS: It’s a Book Now

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Way back when, I used to read this webcomic about a black metal family and their slice of life exploits. It was pretty cute overall, and with the announcement of a book from Top Shelf Productions (notable for putting out Alan Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen series after his bitter exodus from DC Comics), as well as an album through Century Media, things seem to be going pretty well for Belzebubs creator JP Ahonen.

Now, I had originally thought this would be a more long form work, but it turned out to just be a collection of the webcomics. It’s still pretty cute overall, though your enjoyment may depend on where in the spectrum you fall in the black metal community:

The book starts out with a nice little introduction by Becky Cloonan (Southern Cross, Gotham Academy, Batman) where a bunch of TRVE KVLT dweebs flock over to make fun of her for not being tuff enough for black metal and make her get all corpse painted up. After that we’re brought straight into the comic, which in typical web/syndicated comic fashion, doesn’t have much of an overarching plot until much, much later.

Again, in typical webcomic fashion, a lot of these are observation humor-based:

After Ahonen has had some time to introduce and develop the characters, figure out their personalities and the like, we do start to get a few longer story threads moving through, such as the frontman’s son going through their rebellious youth phase right before his parents take a lovely vacation to hell.

There’s also the quest of their teenage daughter as she pines for a boy in her class, though he’s not particularly TRVE and her mannerisms scare him off fairly often. This story gets the most attention throughout the comic’s run and has some nice glimpses into the relationship the girl has with her best friend as well.

Not every comic has aged well, though, as references to old memes that pop up once in a while bring groans more often than not.

(Google Books is orange at night to get rid of blue light)

Honestly I’m not quite sure what the overall narrative for this Lupus comic is. Something’s lost somewhere in there, and it’s not all the outdated meme’s fault, though that is the part that causes the most disconnect for me. Maybe it’s because the dog only showed up here and then never again?

However, the cute, clever, and funny far outweigh the parts that fall flat and even the pages that don’t quite connect still have great, Calvin and Hobbes-esque art to make up for it.

Belzebubs would make a great addition to any bookshelf, though I wouldn’t mind seeing Ahonen try for a longer narrative, especially with the story threads that were only touched upon in the webcomic. There’s a lot of space to explore and right now it feels like this is the true beginning for Belzebubs, so it’ll be interesting to see where things go from here.

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