Written and Drawn by Various
Published by
Image Comics

If you were looking at a list of the most anticipated releases of 2008, COMIC BOOK TATTOO would certainly be somewhere towards the top of it. This 500 page anthology of stories based upon singer/songwriter Tori Amos’ work has been surrounded by mega-buzz since it was announced. So when it filtered in to San Diego during the con, there was an explosion of interest and buyers, the book almost flying out of Image’s booth. You could attribute this to two factors right out of the gate; one, Amos is a deeply beloved musical talent, and a known comics fan. That’s in part thanks to, two, Neil Gaiman and SANDMAN. Amos was not only a fan, but also the template for Delirium. Geeks take care of their own, and Amos is revered. But the one thing none of those buyers could be sure of was the most important element: was the book any good? After all, the Belle and Sebastian anthology that Image produced, PUT THE BACK BACK ON THE SHELF, was ultimately kind of a tepid effort.


It’s great.

I mean really great. In any year, FLIGHT’s latest volume is a good bet to be the best anthology to hit the shelves. But it will be hard for any anthology book in 2008 to top COMIC BOOK TATTOO. The material within hits a wide variety of formats and emotions; there are some stories told in straight-forward manner, and some done in experimental styles. Some tales take Amos’ lyrics literally in their storytelling, others use her words as metaphors and deliver stories that reach the lyrics solely on a tangent. Some of the art is extremely detailed, some is simple enough to appeal to a younger, less sophisticated eye. There’s something for everyone.

And the format? Some will love it, some may feel a bit iffy about it. I dig it- the book is the size and shape of a 33rpm record album and printed on heavy paper. It’s not an easy haul, but it’s a worthy one. From start to finish, for better or worse, this is the Tori Amos album that dozens of talented writers and artists have pictured in their heads. And it’s worth every penny.

Marc Mason