Advance Review: Fame Comes At A Cost In ‘The Silver Coin’ #1

by Brendan M. Allen

‘Eisner-winning artist Michael Walsh teams with an all-star lineup of collaborators—Chip Zdarsky, Kelly Thompson, Ed Brisson, and Jeff Lemire on a new horror anthology miniseries for mature readers. 

Each issue will tell a tale of terror in a shared supernatural world. The story starts in 1978 with a failing rock band whose fortune suddenly changes when they find the mysterious Silver Coin. Little do they know that fame comes with a cost, and a curse is always hungry.’

In the first chapter of The Silver Coin, we meet a rock band, Running Red, that used to be pretty hot on the local scene. Then the disco craze hit, and now they can’t book a decent time slot at any of the clubs in town. It’s looking grim, until the guitar player stumbles upon a haunted relic that instantly makes him Hendrix, Page, Clapton, Allman, and Santana all rolled into one super cocky, ambitious package.

First, let me say this is a brilliant sort of twist on typical anthology formats. Usually these things either have completely different teams working on each individual offering, or the writer stays on for each chapter, with a rotating cadre of artists, colorists, letterers… This is the first I’ve seen with the artist/colorist/letterer as the common thread between stories. 

I’ve already had the opportunity to read the first three chapters of this five piece, and while it’s supposedly the titular coin that draws all the stories together, it’s Michael Walsh’s art that’s really doing it. I’m starting to think it could have been anyone penning the scripts, and he would have found a way to make them each creepy as hell, and cohesive as part of a larger set. 

This first installment is sort of an updated version of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Red Shoes, by way of Tenacious D’s The Pick of Destiny. Magic coin/pick turns up, imbues the holder with preternatural shredding abilities. All hell breaks loose.  

Reading the dialogue between bandmates in this book, I’d lay money that Chip Zdarsky has been in a band or two. These three main characters, they exist in every group, to varying degrees. There’s the hobbyist, who shows up to practice and gigs, but their ‘real job’ and other pursuits are always present. The purist, who’s only ever been in it for the music, the gig, the thrill. 

And then there’s the egotist, the one who’s always shitting in the oatmeal. Too good for the gig, the band, the scene. This is the guy who will walk over his mother’s grave to get more money, more recognition, more of the pretty things. This is the dude who breaks up bands. Give this guy just a small taste and watch what happens. (It’s never good.)

The Silver Coin is a fantastic modern horror anthology. I can tell you after reading the first three, I’m over here trying to figure out how to get ahold of the other two, like, right now.

I really want to see how this thing wraps up. The only thing that ties the narratives together is that damned coin. Sort of. The first three chapters read as complete, brilliant, standalone stories, but I get the feeling this is headed somewhere, and I hate that I have to wait three whole months to see the bigger picture.

The Silver Coin #1, Image Comics, releases 07 April 2021. Created by Michael Walsh, Ed Brisson, Jeff Lemire, Kelly Thompson, and Chip Zdarsky. Written by Chip Zdarsky, lines, color, and letters by Michael Walsh.

Summary

The Silver Coin is a fantastic modern horror anthology. This first installment is sort of an updated version of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Red Shoes, by way of Tenacious D’s The Pick of Destiny, but way better than that sounds. Guitars and rock and roll and… death. 

Overall
8.5/10
8.5/10

Brendan M. Allen

Brendan Allen has probably had more jobs than you would reasonably believe. Dog trainer? He’s done it. Flooring contractor? You bet! EMT? Army NBC specialist? Road dog for a Celtic rock band? Yes, yes, and och aye! Now he reads comics and writes about them. It's a rough gig. You can follow Brendan on Twitter @SaintAmish where he tweets about comic books and cystic fibrosis awareness.

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