Comics Review: “Black Light District” by Jesse Blaze Snider

Jesse Snider is no stranger to the world of comics; he created his first series, Dead Romeo, all the way back in 2009. The story then was about a rock and roll vampire faced with the dire choice of protecting his one true love and suffering for it, or killing her to free his own soul. In Black Light District he again explores the darker undercurrents of society, with plenty of commentary on capitalism, mental illness, loss and our path towards self-destruction.

This time, however, there’s a soundtrack to these six issues of the apocalypse. Originally hosted online at Black Light District, the idea behind this visual/aural collaboration is straightforward. Each of the six tracks corresponds with one short comic story, providing the reader with background music to reinforce the tone set by the comic pages. The result is a better grasp of what the message being sent is, and a sense of the mood.


It’s an interesting take on both mediums, since the best music inspires its own variety of mental imagery and a good piece of visual art often provides a sense of what soundtrack it could have. Each ‘issue’ of the series has a radically different style from the other, and the music blazes the same trail. While Symptoms had a decidedly rock feel for its sound, Hammer has more of an electronic feel. The result is the music tracks and their stories mesh with each other before anything else. Some might find this a bit discordant, but I was very fond of the bold choice. It represented a lot of creative freedom on both sides — something that at best in a lot of big name publications still faces the editor’s scrutiny by the end of it.

I have to recommend that when you do read this, you have the music accompany it — whether it’s by streaming it through Snider’s website for the project, or his YouTube account. While the comic images alone are great works, I really do think folks are missing out if they don’t have the EP to go with it. The two are clearly halves of a complete whole, and to deny yourself part of the work is very much missing out.

BLACK LIGHT DISTRICT: SIX ISSUES (ONE SHOT) (Diamond code: AUG160593) hits comic book stores Wednesday, October 12th.

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