Forget everything you knew about comics, and pay close attention to the cover of BLACK LIGHT DISTRICT, because that’s exactly what you want to be doing.

BLACK LIGHT DISTRICT, marketed by Image as a one-shot, six issues deal, is no ordinary comic, because it’s not just a comic.

Jesse Blaze Snider, a lover of music and comics alike, made an entire six-track album for this comic, because who hasn’t wanted the experience of listening to music while reading that fits perfectly with the story?

Black Light District by Jesse Blaze Snider

This here is a game changer, because now the book by itself isn’t enough: This series demands that you immerse yourself in the full experience by listening to the album while you read. The music and the comic go hand in hand—each half by itself can be abstract, but combined, it’s mesmerizing.

And if you can’t get your hands on BLACK LIGHT DISTRICT yet, don’t worry: Each track has its own music video that’s largely similar to the comic, with the added effect of subtly-picked motion graphics. That means, if you love music, AND comics, AND music videos, you’re in for something sweeeeet—with substance, because the videos go a level further and connect the story to ongoing real-life issues.
(Start
here.)

READ: Curious about the behind-the-scenes? This interview with Snider has more about BLACK LIGHT DISTRICT!

I’m geeking, because I’ve always loved the idea of creating a multimedia storytelling experience, and Snider does just that. Also, because BLACK LIGHT DISTRICT is so unique for what it does that it levels out the love for both music and comics: You can be a music lover and experience the music on a whole different level by reading the accompanying comic. You can be a comics lover and experience the comics on another level with the music guiding the experience. You can be a lover of both and experience the synthesis and pure fusion of two things you can’t live without.

Black Light District by Jesse Blaze Snider

So, in the spirit of happy, all-out geekery, I absorbed BLACK LIGHT DISTRICT with the music in play, to see how it affected my experience.

It’s like reading a music video if the video was laid out in storyboards: You read the panels lyric by lyric, word by word, so your pacing alters from the norm because now you read with the rhythm. So with the pacing varied, and the shots changing, it alters your experience.

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This is taken a step further when you realize that the comic is in six different art styles, with six different aesthetics, telling six different stories. From the retro, Sunday comics feel, to watercolor, to that digital paint style we know and love, you’ll be able to sample everything—all with a dash of noir, some grunge, some post-apocalyptics, some Halloween, even more social commentary, and a lot—A LOT—of sci-fi.

The music by itself could speak to anything, but let’s go with some tracks/issues to get a feel:

Black Light District by Jesse Blaze Snider

$YMPTOM$

Plot: Politicians zombified by their greed and need for power.

Art Style: Traditional. Pop-art-esque. Animated expressions.

Music: Punk, grunge.

Together: It’s Green Day-meets-MJ’s Thriller. So, so good.  

 Black Light District by Jesse Blaze Snider

GREEN

Plot: Vampire’s nostalgic backstory.

Art Style: Noir, dark. Thin lines, more focus on color. Elegant and beautiful.

Music: Rock ballad. Sing your heart out, Snider. She’s in serious pain.

Together: Epic, agonizing, and very, very green.

 Black Light District by Jesse Blaze Snider

MADHATTAN

Plot: Open to interpretation. Possibly about the pressures of being a comics writer/artist.

Art: Retro, mostly isolated panels, faded colors, mimicking traditional 50s/60s comics

Music: Chill.

Together: Dear comics artists everywhere, I’m sorry that I enjoy it when you make worlds end. I am bloodthirsty. You have moved me, but still, I am addict. Sincerely, Guilty Reader.  

 Black Light District by Jesse Blaze Snider

FROZEN

Plot: Cryonics. Cold. Metal.

Art: Watercolor. Gorgeous, gorgeous watercolor.

Music: Bit more pop in this. Pop-rock. Some falsetto backup vocals.

Together: Doctor Who’s “A Christmas Carol,” without the love, or people, or anything warm of any kind. So, the opposite. In space. Just. Cold. As cold as you can possibly get.

READ: You need to see this awesome discussion of SHIN GODZILLA. Especially if you’re diehard for GODZILLA.

As with many projects of this scale, there’s collaboration involved. To experience these different flavors of story, Snider collaborated with several artists to make it happen. That means, all in one shot, you can enjoy the smooth styles of Chris Burnham, Phil Hester, Jason Pearson, Andrea Tamme, David Witt, J.K. Woodward, Michael Spicer, and Erik Larsen. Lovely enough, artists get credit for their work in the videos also, so this project gets bonus points for artist appreciation.

BLACK LIGHT DISTRICT is now released! Check it out and explore this sweet project.

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