Have you ever listened to MERCYFUL FATE or a KING DIAMOND album and thought the amazing story telling in those songs would translate to a kick ass graphic novel? Well you are not alone! Graphic artist Mark Rudolph had this same idea and from there it grew until it became a full-fledged project. Entitled Satan Is Alive: A Tribute To Mercyful Fate is a result of a fascination with the band an a love affair with metal music. Not only is this a really cool idea, with the KING himself playing shows again and mounting a comeback, this will be essential for fans to own. To fully bring it to life, Mark has started a Kickstarter campaign so he can properly produce the book in a form worthy of the awesome content. He has not only recruited some of the top artists in the field but also a who’s who in the metal world to bring his vision to life. With just under a week left to the campaign, Metal Army America decided to touch base with Mark, whose art you have no doubt seen in fine publications like Decibel in the USA, Metal Hammer UK, Marvel Comics and other places about the project.
MAA: What inspired you to create the SATAN IS ALIVE project?
MR: I had just adapted an H.P. Lovecraft story into a comic and really liked the process, so I was listening to Mercyful Fate drawing one day and thought “these lyrics would make a rad comic.” A few emails later, I drummed up a lot of interest and it just kind of exploded. I’m mostly known for my metal-related illustrations and I’ve always wanted to do a “metal” comic, so this kind of satiated everything in one book.
MAA: How did you begin assembling the talented writers and artists?
MR: I met Tom Neely last year at a show in Minneapolis and briefly discussed the idea with him and from there it snowballed. I started emailing people and before long I had amassed a pretty impressive list. Even artists I’ve never met before seemed to be really into the idea and no one said no. This whole project is a visual tribute album to Fate and it’s clear in the art, that there is a lot of love in Satan is Alive.
MAA: Why raise money at all to produce physical copies and why choose Kickstarter as a platform?
MR: Physical books still mean a lot to me. As much as I like technology, I like the immersive experience you can only get from a printed book. I am offering PDF copies as well, but the goal is to have nice offset book. I’m using Kickstarter since I’ve had good luck with it in the past. I think it’s a great way to get niche projects funded without forking over all the money yourself. Like my last campaign, I had nearly the whole book completed before I even started the fund raising. I think that’s an important step to let potential backers know you are serious and not just throwing out ideas and hoping some will stick. I think that’s a lousy way to use the service. As of this interview the project is already several hundred dollars over our goal with 7 days to go.
MAA: What are some of the reward tiers you are offering for backers?
MR: Original art, hardcovers, co-publisher, retail bundles, prints and commissioned art. I try and keep it related to the book and not just “extra junk”. The book is the most important part, so I feel the incentives should enhance the book if anything.
MAA: I believe metal fans will be most familiar with your illustrations in Decibel Magazine. (your cover with DANZIG riding a wolf in 2010 is still my favorite issue). Where else can people see examples of your work?
MR: Haha! Thanks. My site cvomics.com has a ton of examples of my work (also portfolio and store), but I also do monthly illustrations for Metal Hammer UK and I’ll have an 8-page story in Henry & Glenn Forever and Ever #2. I’ve also done a bunch of merch design for bands like COALESCE, HELLMOUTH, BEAST IN THE FIELD and many others.
MAA: Any final message to the fans contemplating a donation to SATAN IS ALIVE
MR: With all the recent interest in metal history (Look at Bazillion Points, Choosing Death, etc) I wanted to add to that rich wealth with something totally different. If I really devoted the time, I’m sure I could write a book about a band or a genre, but being more of a visual guy, I thought doing a visual love letter to one of my favorite bands would be more apt. I can’t really think of another metal-related anthology book that’s filled with such a diverse group of artists either. I really need to thank everyone involved that’s made this book possible. If I did it by myself, it would have been about 30 pages and not nearly as rich. With the whole group it feels much more metal!
You can learn more about the project and donate on the Kickstarter page.