Detroit Metal City Vol. 1 (VIZ Media)

dmc-header.jpgSoichi is a mild-mannered singer-songwriter by day and a death metal god by night in this manga-fied cousin of Metalocalypse.



200 pages B&W;  $12.99

(W / A: Kiminori Wakasugi)


Mild-mannered Soichi Negishi is a coffeehouse singer-songwriter at heart. He just wants to perform his mellow pop tunes about sharing cheese tarts with his girlfriend, and having quiet moments.

The cover to the first volume of Detroit Metal City. Click for a larger image.There are not many quiet moments, however, for Lord Johannes Krauser II. The lead singer for death rockers Detroit Metal City is a walking advertisement for a depraved, Satanic lifestyle. The "corpse-painted" maniac claims to have murdered his parents. He performs songs like "Pig Bitch Intercourse" and "Death Penis." He concludes concerts by yelling, "Now fuck off! And see you next week!"

Negishi wants no part of Krauser. Trouble is, they’re the same person. Inveigled into the death-metal scene, Negishi adopted the alter ego of Krauser and met with so much success as part of DMC that now there’s no going back.

Now, when Negishi suggests DMC perform a gentle song he’s composed called "Raspberry Kiss," the band’s crazy Ari Gold-style manager amends it to "Raspberry Fuck." When an old friend, ignorant of Negishi’s secret life, says "I heard the band members are all drug addicts and serial rapists," our man thinks, "I don’t even smoke cigarettes, and I’m still a virgin."

A series of misunderstandings and humiliations make this one the Japanese version of Metalocalypse. Indeed, there’s a very popular manga series and even a live-action film (with a cameo by Gene Simmons) based on it.

The book milks metal clichés and Negishi’s terminal chagrin with his career for great laughs. A legendary death rocker scheduled to share a bill with DMC is discovered in his dressing room with live snakes coiled around his neck, a female slave in chains suspended from the ceiling, and another one fellating him while he humiliates her by idly pouring liquor onto her back. (One of this guy’s songs is called "Fuckingham Palace," and he brings a wild buffalo onstage during a song—he calls it "the buffalo of metal.")

The book is extraordinarily profane and really funny. The translation for English readers is truly top-notch. And, drum roll, please… it comes with a page of temporary tattoos.

Good stuff. | Byron Kerman

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