Why Does This Pantera Comic Book Exist?
My dear, sweet friend and podcast co-host hates me. 365 Days of Horror, that grumpy blogger you all know and love, sent me a box filled with all kinds of strange delights. Hidden inside this box of treats was, like a razor blade in an apple, a comic book simply titled Pantera. It is terrible.
This Pantera comic, not to be confused with a one-off 1994 comic book featuring the fictional adventures of the band as printed by Rock-It Comix, is a comic biography of the legendary Texas band. It was published last year as the 8th issue of Rock And Roll Biography Comics published by Acme Ink. Other entires in the series include Slayer, Iron Maiden, Metallica, and uhhhhh NOFX.
I’m not much of a comics person, but the business concept of this series seems pretty solid to me. Acme Ink publishes comics about mega huge metal bands for their legions of obsessive fans. Why bother spending the time or energy creating an original story when you can simply regurgitate a band’s biography in 20-or so black and white pages and sell them to a built-in audience? Sounds like a great way for a small publisher to move a lot of books, right?
The story of Pantera, as presented by this comic book, provides the kind of rich biographical detail that can only be gleaned by skimming through the band’s Wikipedia entry. We begin with Dimebag Darrell glossing over the first four Pantera albums as, “fag shit” and spouting inscrutable dialog like, “I feel like Johnny Fuckin’ Rotten.”
Soon, the Abbott boys kick Terry Glaze to the curb and replace him with Phil Anselmo, a tough metal dude that completely revitalizes Pantera’s sound. But all is not well. We learn that Anselmo begins dabbling in hard drugs, as demonstrated by this masterful scene:
Eventually, Phil’s tiddie-snorting becomes an issue and destroys the band. Nathan Gale, a Pantera-obsessed Marine is incensed at the news. In the book’s only action scene, Gale murders Dimebag Darrell alongside several bystanders before being shot in the face by a cop. The art and dialog, childish for the entirety of the comic, are especially objectionable for this part of the story.
Speaking of art, just what the fuck is up with these drawings of Dimebag? If you somehow forgot, this is what the dude actually looked like:
And yet for some reason he’s represented in the book as a cartoon Dave Navarro.
Rock and Roll Biographies is currently publishing new comics. The most recent entries in this illustrious series include Opeth and System of a Down. If you have four dollars and enjoy cringing for up to 6 minutes at a time, consider picking them up at a comic shop near you. If you’d like this particular copy of the Pantera comic, please come get it out of my house before an adult sees it.