As we’ve spoken about on Comicon.com before, Z2 Comics are going to be releasing an original graphic novel, Murder Ballads, by Gabe Soria, Paul Reinwand, and Chris Hunt. They even released a Free Comic Book Day prelude to the graphic novel. However, the book has always had a music connection, with a soundtrack provided by blues musician Robert Finley and Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys coming up, too.
This week, Mondo have announced that they’ll be doing a limited edition 10 inch vinyl record release of the soundtrack, which includes Finley and Auerbach’s work, consisting of the Leadbelly song “In the Pines” and four new songs created for the graphic novel: “Bang Bang,”“Butter Sandwich”, “The Empty Arms” and “Three Jumpers.” The limited edition vinyl soundtrack will also accompany a limited edition version of the graphic novel.
The standard edition of the Murder Ballads graphic novel will be released by Z2 Comics this July for $24.95 and will include downloadable codes to the original soundtrack.
The Limited Edition Murder Ballads Original Soundtrack and Graphic Novel from Mondo will retail for $200 when it opens for pre-order on May 24th on mondotees.com, and will feature original album cover art by Jon Langford, the visual artist best known for his portraits of country and rock music icons including Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley.
The graphic novel, in parallel to the musical elements of this project, will have a “side A” drawn by Paul Reinwald and a “side B” drawn by Chris Hunt. Murder Ballads also deals with musical themes, as you might guess from the title. It’s described as a “a meditation on music, obsession and how far someone will go to see their vision become real”, and tracks the fall and “reinvention” of Nate Theodore, the owner of a failing record label who is on a cross-country drive in the dead of winter, fleeing the wreckage of his business and trying to save his marriage. He seems to get a second chance at success when he “discovers” two African-American brothers who play the blues on his journey.
Writer Gabe Soria says:
I’ve always been fascinated by the unglamorous side of music making. Accounts of glorious obscurities and the characters working the fringes…that’s my meat and potatoes right there, the stuff that has nothing to do with fame and everything to do with love, obsession and compulsion to MAKE.
Artist Chris Hunt reflects:
Music has always been an important element in my life, and a key part of my creative process as a comic book creator and artist. The Blues in particular drew me in at a young age and to be able to work on a project that not only lauds such a storied musical genre, but also incorporates it into the actual DNA of the storytelling process is a rare opportunity.
Artist Paul Reinwald adds:
I’d been playing more with screen tones and heavier spot blacks in my work when MURDER BALLADS was offered to me, and it just felt like such a natural fit with where I was at the time. Gabe had such a clear idea of the characters, but was extremely supportive of anything else I wanted to do, which meant I just got to have fun on the page, and I think that comes through.
Mondo will open pre-orders for the limited edition Limited Edition Murder Ballads Original Soundtrack and Graphic Novel on May 24th.
You can listen to Finley and Auerbach’s version of “In the Pines” below: