Interview: Mark Rudolph Discusses SATAN IS ALIVE: A TRIBUTE TO MERCYFUL FATE

Mercyful Fate and King Diamond fans, this book is for you. Mark Rudolph has fired up a Kickstarter to promote his Mercyful Fate-inspired metal meets comic anthology and he took some time to discuss where the book came from, how you can get in on the action, and what to expect from Satan Is Alive: A Tribute to Mercyful Fate.

Aaron Long: Can you discuss how Satan is Alive: A Tribute to Mercyful Fate came to be?

Mark Rudolph: In the last 5 years I’ve managed to combine my love of comics and metal into a living (something I thought would never happen) and in the process I’ve become friendly with a pretty sizable group of underground cartoonists and writers who share my love and enthusiasm for metal. So, last year I did my first adaptation (H.P. Lovecraft’s Dagon) and I wanted to do that again, but something completely different. I think at the time I was listening to Mercyful Fate’s Satan’s Fall and thought it would be cool to adapt the lyrics into a comic. A few days later I started emailing friends about contributing to it and before long, what started as a possible zine, turned into a 152-page book.

AL: Can you discuss the focus on Mercyful Fate? What about the band and their catalog inspired you to kick off this project?

MR: Mercyful Fate and King Diamond have always been very visual/evocative storytellers (similar to Dio). The music and lyrics always sprung imagery to mind when I listen and couldn’t think of anyone else who has ever really done anything like this. It’s my illustrated version of a tribute album. Up until about 10 years ago I really wasn’t a huge fan of The King’s vocals, but once I actually intently listened to it… I fell in love. It’s so theatric and over-the-top that their image almost seems cater-made to be adapted into another medium. King Diamond is the Jack Kirby of metal.

AL: You’ve got a lot of well known collaborators involved with this tribute project. Can you discuss how they became involved?

MR: I’ve met several at conventions or through mutual projects, but many of them I just reached out to them with the idea… and nobody said no. I think it’s ’cause this project is done out of a sincere love of Mercyful Fate and I’ve carved out a reputation as being a “metal” illustrator, so I guess I have some sort of caché within the scene. I was also spotlighted in a special comics issue of Decibel magazine where I shared space with Tom Neely, Ed Luce, Chuck BB and Johnny Ryan, so I think that helped a bit too.

AL: Satan Is Alive is a Kickstarter campaign. Can you describe some of the rewards people can get for specific pledge levels?

MR: For rewards, I tried to come up with things people would actually want. Basically everything relates to the book. I didn’t bother with shirts or totebags or anything. I tried to appeal to retail stores and fans of Fate. So it goes from PDF versions of the book to exclusive hardcovers to original art. A similar strategy to what I did for my last successful Kickstarter.

AL: Any final words for Satan Is Alive?

MR: I Hope to get as many backers as possible so I can get this book out as soon as possible. Anytime I do Kickstarter campaigns I try and have most of the book finished before starting. I find it shitty when people use the service as a testing ground to see if there is interest in the project. I plan on printing this no matter what, but going this route just makes the process quicker. But enough with that, I’m really excited for people to see a pretty remarkable group of creators, all with very different interpretations of one of the best metal bands out there.

The Kickstarter campaign for Satan Is Alive: A Tribute to Mercyful Fate can be found here.