Iron Maiden Launch Legacy Of The Beast Comic Book Series
Metal fans who also like comics! Something wonderful has happened: Iron Maiden have launched their first ever official comic book series, starring their iconic mascot, Eddie. The comics are based on the heavy metal titans’ hit mobile role playing game, Iron Maiden: Legacy of The Beast, and share that name.
In the game, players fought as Eddie across the many worlds of Iron Maiden’s discography, from the ancient dangers of Powerslave to the dystopian, robotic future of The Final Frontier. The comics expand on the game’s narrative across a five-issue series published by Heavy Metal Publishing (of course!).
Iron Maiden: Legacy of The Beast is written by Llexi Leon and Ian Edgington, with the incredible artwork coming from the fingertips of Kevin J. West, Jason Gorder and Santi Casas. Take a look at how well executed the first issue looks below:
Issue 1 goes on sale worldwide at comic retailers everywhere on October 11 and are available for pre-order right now. We’ve also got an exclusive first look at the second issue, which sees Eddie battling the Egyptian God Horus, a reference to their 1984 album, Powerslave.
Ahead of the release, we spoke to creator and writer, Llexi Leon, about creating the comic book, his love for Iron Maiden and tackling the complex character that is Eddie…
What inspired you to create the comic?
We spent a good 18 months figuring out what form the Iron Maiden: Legacy Of The Beast game should take and a big part of that was creating an immersive narrative that weaved together aspects of Iron Maiden mythology from across their entire discography. We ended up with a very detailed story treatment that the band, management, and game development studio were all heavily involved with and excited by.
Of course, that story is certainly conveyed in the mobile game and drives the action forward, but we don’t get many opportunities to really expand on the supporting cast around Eddie and take a moment to look at the general goings on of the universe we’ve created - beyond the trials Eddie faces in the game, it’s all a bit condensed on a mobile phone screen(!) - so I felt that a comic book series would be a fantastic way to share the story in a bit more depth. It acts as both a great standalone adventure and also a killer companion to the game for those that have played through and are familiar with the path Eddie travels on his many quests.
Obviously, being one of the biggest names in metal, what was it like adding to their incredible legacy?
I’ve had the pleasure of working with Maiden on a few projects now, from the Speed Of Light music video and Book of Souls tour cinematics, through to Legacy Of The Beast and beyond. It’s always an exciting challenge to dive in and look at everything that has come before to try and inform new directions for Eddie and the Iron Maiden mythos that maintain the integrity and quality of everything they’ve done to date. The album artwork is iconic, there is endless lyrical lore to mine for ideas, it’s just an awesome sandbox to play in and it’s good fun every time, even though the benchmark is very high.
How much of the story is taken directly from the mobile game?
The comic is pretty much exactly the story we intended for the game, but when you’re developing for mobile you have to focus on bursts of player engagement (maybe you play on the commute to work or on your lunch break) and so there’s rarely an outlet during mobile play to really dig into a big epic narrative and get into a flow, even if that story is the thing tying it all together. I think having it in comic book format will really enhance the game’s premise for the players out there, and it’s a great jumping on point for anyone to explore that universe.
Awesome, and can you tell us what the over-riding story is about?
There is a dark power in the farthest reaches of the universe that is conspiring to spread its dominance throughout the galaxy. Eddie is a pivotal foe for this mysterious entity as an enduring force of free will and chaotic good that would stand against such an infinite empire of authoritarian rule. However through a cunning ruse, Eddie’s soul is shattered and he falls to earth in a weakened state as the world, and many other worlds, fall to a shadowy corruption.
Fortunately, this turmoil was foreseen by the Clairvoyant, who arrives to aid Eddie and guide him across space and time to reclaim the lost fragments of his soul, restore his power, and face this unholy enemy to bring balance to the cosmos…
Check out an exclusive look at Issue 2! How fucking cool does that look, eh?
Do you think music and comics share a common ground?
Absolutely, much like music, there are comics of every genre for every taste. That said, there are a huge number of incredible fantasy, horror, and hero based comics, and certainly there is a great love of those genres throughout the rock and metal community – it’s not hard to find metal lyrics that would be great source material for a comic book series, but few bands could boast quite the breath of material from the dawn of time to the far flung future that Iron Maiden have explored.
Did you have to work with the band at any point to make sure everything went smoothly?
We had the whole band come out to the game studio a couple of times during development of the game and the narrative which was fantastic to get their take on things, Steve Harris worked very closely with the team on getting all the music right for the game. They’ve always been in the loop throughout the creation of Legacy Of The Beast and helped established the tone for the project which has been a huge help to date.
And did they give you any pointers or tips?
Much of the feedback from the band and Rod [Smallwood, band manager] has been around Eddie as a character, he’s a complex creature to nail down and particularly tricky to write for as he never speaks. Having the insight from his creators has given me the confidence to tackle him head on.
How fun was it writing about Eddie?
Eddie is just this intensely unpredictable force of will, so trying to imbue that attitude and endurance has created some great scenes in the books I think. He’s certainly a very powerful and relentless figure but there’s a sense of humour and humanity there that keeps things interesting and makes me root for him. I always want Eddie to prevail no matter what he goes through. No retreat, no surrender.
Are you an Iron Maiden fan yourself?
Of course, and the more I dig into the lyrics and the art over the years the more engaging it is for me – there’s plenty of fantastic songs and the band are incredible live. I had an absolute blast joining the band on tour in 2016 for a dozen dates which I’ll never forget – but it’s this incredibly rich implied mythology and vivid imagery that keeps me coming back and digging deeper.
Finally, will you be sending these out to the band?
I had the pleasure of giving Bruce an advance copy in person just the other week! I’ve been keeping the band in the loop by email so they’ve all seen the first few issues digitally now, but they’ll all be getting a hard copy fresh of the press in October.
Words: James Hingle - follow him on Twitter.