It’s been 20 years since Alice Cooper’s The Last Temptation hit record stores (remember those?). What you may or may not remember is that Neil Gaiman also wrote a companion comic series, with beautiful and creep-tastic art by Michael Zulli (and gloriously Sandman-like covers by the almighty Dave McKean), that incorporated themes and lyrics from the album in a macabre tale about a preteen boy’s encounter with the Theatre of the Real, with a very familiar looking Showman.
To celebrate this anniversary, Dynamite is re-releasing Gaiman’s dark tale in hardcover, complete with Neil’s original 1995 introduction, a 2014 afterword from artist Michael Zulli, and a treasure trove of extras, including Zulli’s art and inked panels, Dave McKean’s cover gallery, and Gaiman’s correspondence with both Cooper and Zulli, along with Gaiman’s scripts for each of the three issues in the series.
To quote Neil Gaiman himself, The Last Temptation is “a rotting Hallowe’en story, a gothic baroque, and a coming-of-age story.” There’s no improving on that statement, so I’ll expand on it. A middle schooler named Steven and some boys from his school happen upon an old theatre. They dare him to go in, and a Showman – who looks a lot like Alice Cooper – talks him into attending the show.
The Theatre of the Real is a gruesome show, and Steven is shaken. The Showman knows he’ll be back, and taunts Steven by showing up in Steven’s imagination, as well as his life, offering him the chance to become part of the big finale.
The writing is pure Gaiman – it’s beautiful and skin-crawling, disturbing because he has the gift of seeing into people and pulling out our deepest fears, secrets, even desires we’re too afraid to admit entice us. Zulli’s art is pure dark fantasy, drawing readers in no matter how much we think we want to pull back.
This is a great volume for collectors – whether you’re an Alice Cooper fan, a Neil Gaiman fan, or just a huge horror fan. The book hits stores on October 8th, so ask your comic book store to order your copy! In the meantime, enjoy a preview of images from The Last Temptation:
THE LAST TEMPTATION
Writer: Neil Gaiman
Artist: Michael Zulli
Cover Artist: Dave McKean
On Sale: October 8, 2014