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‘Belzebubs’ (review)

Written and Illustrated by JP Ahonen
Published by Top Shelf Productions

 

It looks as thought Top Shelf Productions has decided to make a book out of JP Ahonen’s weekly web comic, Belzebubs.

It’s creator hails from Finland and while this isn’t my usual cup of tea, there were some incidental pleasures to be had. It was a lot of silly fun with even a bit of heart. And it’s all filtered through the lens of a heavy metal viewpoint.

The book focuses on Sloth and his wife Lucyfer and their children, Lilith and Leviathan. This whole thing is a bunch of various collected strips, featuring the family and their daily lives and cohorts. There are some themes like the son Leviathan watching a Christian channel and teen romance.

But mostly it’s like an old fashioned American family strip. Except the comic strips have darker characters here. And crazier.

Ahonen has an easy way of writing that is accessible. And the art is very appealing as well. He makes it easy to go into this world and spend some time there.

The strips also show the the behind-the-scenes life of the everyday Satanic black metal band, The Belzebubs. It is a real band of which Ahonen was a member of. (The characters here are based on them). He brings a personal touch to it.

There are certainly a few laugh out loud moments. One of the characters declaring he takes his looks seriously while dressed up as a death metal rocker is great. Another funny strip is when a rocker keeps requesting pointy spikes being put on him. He just keeps saying “more!” It gets to the point that his entire face is covered. It’s funny and great and very creative.

The only drawback is that there isn’t an overall story guiding this book. The good news is, you can forget the strips easily that aren’t so good. And yes, there are a few. Luckily, the good strips more than outweigh the bad ones here. There’s more to like in the strips than there’s not.

This book is a bit of a novelty book. It’s a book that some may not even appreciate. I liked it a lot though. I do wish Ahonen put a bigger story into it with scope, but I also understand it was a weekly comic strip. I commend Ahonen for using the comic form as therapy (as he has  been reported to have done here) and made a charming book in the process.

RATING: B+

 

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