Marvel Premiere #50 (Alice Cooper) classic comic review – welcome to my nightmare

January 29, 2021
Louie Fecou 0
Comics
5

Summary

Fans of Cooper have pushed the price of this book up, and a nice copy of it could cost you anything from £20 to £50 depending on the condition, but a beaten-up copy is easy to grab, and for comic book fans it is a real oddity from an age of comics where experimental storytelling was embraced, even if it was only for one issue.

5

Summary

Fans of Cooper have pushed the price of this book up, and a nice copy of it could cost you anything from £20 to £50 depending on the condition, but a beaten-up copy is easy to grab, and for comic book fans it is a real oddity from an age of comics where experimental storytelling was embraced, even if it was only for one issue.

This classic comic review of Marvel Premiere #50 (Alice Cooper) contains some minor spoilers.


A 1970’s Marvel comic that appeared from nowhere, shocked its readers, then disappeared like a bad dream. Marvel Premiere was a way for Marvel to try out creative teams and ideas, without committing to a regular title of a book that might not sell. From Woodgod to The Liberty Legion, there would be a lot of concepts that would have a moment in the spotlight before falling into limbo.

By the time Marvel Premiere #50 rolled around, it seemed that any idea was an option, and readers were treated to the first comic book appearance of Alice Cooper.

I suppose when you think about it, Alice was already a larger-than-life rock artist, whose live shows were often a spectacle of horror, magic, and music, so becoming a Marvel character probably seemed like a natural progression.

The single issue has a lack of credits on the splash page, however, the art is from Tom Sutton, with inks by Terry Austin, and a team of writers is attached to the book: Jim Salicrup, Roger Stern, Ed Hannigan, and Alice Cooper himself.

The book is set in an asylum that Alice is trapped in, and there are more than a few nods to One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. The cover is a homage to the old EC horror comics of the ’50s, and the whole comic is based on the Alice Cooper album From The Inside.

On the splash page, Alice is trying to climb from the window of his cell, as Nurse Rozetta appears in the doorway to stop his attempt. Alice is dragged by the orderlies to see Doctor Fingeroth, who feels Alice needs some time in the quiet room. In the darkness of his confinement, Alice breaks the fourth wall to address the reader, and explain how he ended up in this situation in the first place.

We see Alice picked up by mistake after checking into a clinic to “dry up and calm my nerves” and ending up in the madness of the asylum. Shock therapy and a haircut later, and Alice is wheeled into the belly of the beast, where we meet the staff and inmates of this crazy hospital that puts Arkham to shame.

Ex-soldier Jack Knife Johnny has PTSD, Millie and Billy are a clean-cut couple with a deadly secret, and Alice often can’t discern the inmates from the equally messed up staff. Realizing his predicament, Alice begins his plans to escape, but there’s a typical EC twist at the end of the book that scuppers his plans.

“Tales From The Inside” is a weird and wonderful Marvel comic that certainly comes from nowhere and no doubt bamboozled readers of this title. With a twisted tone, mixed with the darkest of humor, the book has more in common with a Mad parody than a Marvel title.

The art is detailed and sublime, with many jokes hidden in the backgrounds, and the satire is reminiscent of Howard The Duck.

This issue from 1979 would lead to future appearances of Alice Cooper in comic form, including an entry from Neil Gaiman, but this first appearance is a true gem.

Fans of Cooper have pushed the price of this book up, and a nice copy of it could cost you anything from £20 to £50 depending on the condition, but a beaten-up copy is easy to grab, and for comic book fans it is a real oddity from an age of comics where experimental storytelling was embraced, even if it was only for one issue.

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