Ten years ago it wouldn’t have even been conceivable to bring names like Metallica, GWAR, or Tom Morello to San Diego Comic-Con. As the movie studios, game publishers, and money took over the entire city from the convention center through the Gaslamp it quickly became a magnet for everything that transcended genres of pop culture.
Well, ladies and gentlemen, we can all just stop with this Comic-Con nonsense. We got a Watchmen movie, there’s a Marvel Cinematic Universe, and this year…Slayer took over San Diego Comic-Con. There’s probably no bigger sign of the nerds have taken over. With a sold out performance at House of Blues San Diego to several autograph signings, the most iconic name in thrash metal kicked down doors and rocked faces at pop culture’s national convention in support of their upcoming comic.
You may not think so but Slayer owns one of the unique positions in pop culture. Slayer has legions of fans all over the world who can recite the lyrics from every one of the bands lyrics from Die by the Sword to Americon. Yet there’s another group in the mainstream audience who though they may have never heard a Slayer song can instantly recognize the name. It’s lead to imagery like this filling up our feeds.
When asked about the memes, guitarists Gary Holt and Kerry King both thought “it’s a wonderful thing.” Though they know the band has earned its place in the stratosphere of pop culture, Holt remains modest about it, “I just consider myself a guitar player…I’m just doing what I enjoy more than anything in life, you know.” While King, who doesn’t do the social media, “somehow it finds its way to me. I have tons of em on my phone cause some of them are pretty funny.”
Fans will be happy to be reassured that musically Slayer is still very much looking to the future. The band’s last album, Repentless, took longer than expected due to hardships and the untimely passing of founding member Jeff Hanneman. While talking about new music, Kerry King mentioned the band has loads of material that didn’t make Repentless. “We got tons of stuff left over from the last one, which is unheard of for us”, exclaimed King. The wait may not even be as long for another record, this time around, as the guitarist is constantly working on riffs for unfinished material even during concert rehearsals.
The band is set to bring the Reptenless story to Dark Horse Comics in December. A lot of times, partnership books like these feel gimmicky on both sides, but from what King and Holt have seen in artwork and outline, Repentless the three issue mini-series very much represents what the band is about artistically. The books written by one of pop culture’s most prolific guru’s, Jon Schnepp (Metalopocalypse), will focus on the violent one-eyed murder that massacres a prison during a riot. This character was first seen in the band’s video for the song Repentless. [word of warning the video is graphic, duh it’s Slayer]
Readers will learn a bit about the character’s past and future. Speaking to Schnepp a bit later, he talked about his process for writing the mini-series, “putting on Slayer and going to some really dark places.” Interior artist, Guiu Vilanova (Twilight Zone) will illustrate the series with regular covers by Glenn Fabry and a special issue one variant by Goon creator Eric Powell. The Powell cover for the book was also used on a special Comic-Con takeover shirt available only at the band’s concert. When asked about his thought on drawing such a radical image for Slayer, Powell responded, “this is one of my favorite band’s ever, it’s just surreal.”
Dark Horse Comics brings Slayer: Repentless #1 of 3 to comic book shops this December. In the meantime, you can pick up Slayer’s Repentless the album on Nuclear Blast Records in stores now.