Music and comic books have been intertwined for some time. Examples include the rock band KISS appearing in comics published by various companies (including Marvel, Archie, and Image Comics) to Todd McFarlane’s entertainment company producing music videos to many musicians getting involved in creating comics (most notably Gerard Way of “My Chemical Romance”). To this end it is not surprising that “Tomorrowland”, one of the biggest electronic music festivals throughout Europe, would be making the leap to comic book art. Originally organized in 2005, it is held every summer in Boom, Belgium and seems to get larger and larger every year. To this end, U.K. based Titan Comics are releasing the first of a four issue mini series this week based around the convention, which is written by Eisner award winning writer Paul Jenkins (“The Inhumans”, “Wolverine: Origin”, and “Spider-Man”). He is also joined by artists Alti Firmansyah and Beny Maulana from Stellar Labs.
The main characters of the series are DJ’s Dimitri Vegas and Like Mike – who are two real life DJ’s who have been attending the festival every year since 2011. The night before their gig, they both appear to have dreams linking the energy of music itself across time, space, and dimensional barriers. While only Dimitri takes it seriously, Mike wanders to a fortune telling gypsy and gets a mysterious gem which coincidentally resembles the logo of the festival itself. During their performance, the energies they both envisioned begin to emerge from the sky, and a battle between demons, fantastic creatures and beings from across history – from centaurs to William Shakespeare – emerge within the jazzed up crowd.
The issue does what most debut issues should do. It properly introduces the leads, the villain, and the structure of the universe it wishes to establish. The artwork by the Stellar Labs duo lives up to its name, with a lot of clean lines and especially vibrant colors. As for the story, it is difficult to tell where slight promotion for the music festival ends and the fantasy story begins. The angle of music being a universal constant has been done before in fiction, although a supernatural angle is perhaps a new one. The dialogue reads smoothly, although there is a bit of exposition to go through, with the “music is the weapon” detail coming off a bit bluntly. Regardless, fans of music or Jenkins should check this out as the start to something magical.