Joe Satriani’s ‘Crystal Planet’ Comes To Comics Through Heavy Metal & Incendium

by James Ferguson

Crystal Planet, the critically acclaimed album by guitarist Joe Satriani is making the jump to comics. Incendium and Heavy Metal Magazine has announced a new five-issue mini-series through its music-focused OPUS imprint. It’s created by Satriani and Ned Evett, written by Tony Lee, illustrated by Richard Friend, colored by Carlos Cabrera, lettered by Jacob Bascle, and edited by Llexi Leon.

A vivid space odyssey where Satchel Walker, a man out of time, finds himself caught between desperate factions as they battle for resources in the perilous orbit of a dying star. In a bold and brutal saga of sentient storms and Wingsuit armies, it’s music, and more importantly the power and emotion that music can conjure, which could bring an end to the conflict, restore harmony to the timestream, and reveal Walker’s true place in the universe.

Crystal Planet will be released as a prestige format limited edition collectible comic book with cardstock covers, specialty foil treatments, glossy pages, and individual numbering. Each first printing will be limited to 1998 copies and priced at $19.98. (Can you guess what year the album was released?) They’re available for pre-order now and beginning shipping in March 2021.

“Funny how things get their start” says Satriani “July 1994 I’m on tour with Deep Purple and I’m warming up with my guitar backstage in a bull’s isolation cell at the Plaza de Toros in Gjion, Spain. Then and there I start writing the opening riff to a song that will become “Crystal Planet” and a few years later it’s the title track for my ’98 album release.”

He continues “Fast forward to 2013, friend and fellow guitarist Ned Evett makes an animated sci-fi video for my song “Lies and Truths” using artwork from my “Joe’s Art 2013” book. We projected that video on a 30ft. screen every night of the Unstoppable Momentum Tour. It was a hit with the fans which got us thinking we could expand the clip into a “Crystal Planet” sci-fi epic. Ned and I formed Satchtoons, a company focused on creating animated content, and we got to work on scripts and demos for the “Crystal Planet” pilot. Seven years later, thanks to Llexi Leon and Heavy Metal, here we are with our first comic book series! Llexi and I had worked together on his awesome “Eternal Descent” comics, and by coincidence we met again when Heavy Metal published a short excerpt of “Crystal Planet” adapted by Brendon Small for the magazine’s 2019 music issue. Both Ned and I love working with Llexi and the Incendium creative team, they bring so much artistry and expertise to our time-traveling adventure. I am thrilled to finally offer our fans the first full issue of what will ultimately be a three novel trilogy.”

Crystal Planet is a thrilling rollercoaster through space and time, it’s Mad Max Vs TRON – with guitars! This has been an incredibly rewarding project to bring to fruition, digging deep into the lore behind one of the greatest instrumental rock records. Working with Joe has always been a pleasure, having collaborated in comics with Eternal Descent years ago his love of the medium is well known.” Llexi Leon says, “There was a treasure trove of concepts and character exploration compiled over decades by Joe and his writing partner Ned that formed the basis of this project, with the ultimate goal to take fans on a journey to Crystal Planet for the first time. Tony, Richard, Carlos, and Jacob have done a tremendous job realizing an incredible world and telling it’s story. It’s fitting that our publishing venture with Heavy Metal would begin with a space faring time travel adventure!”

The comic is not the only Crystal Planet adaptation in the works. There’s also a Joe Satriani action figure featuring the guitarist in a Tri-Diver suit from the comics with his signature Crystal Planet Ibanez guitar. These retail for $29.95 and are available for pre-order, shipping in May 2021.

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