ByJoey Esposito, writer at
Joey Esposito is a writer and hoarder of things from New England, living in Los Angeles with his wife Amanda and their cat Reebo. He thinks
Joey Esposito

It's easy to see how Prince was considered otherworldly; he often spoke in riddles, shared powerful philosophies and was a guitar god. His Royal Badness was perhaps at his most godliness in 1991, when a DC Comics imprint published a Prince comic book with a story called Alter Ego, wherein he returns to Minneapolis after a long tour and winds up stopping two rival gangs from killing each other.

io9 has done a great write-up of the comic — written by comic book legend Dwayne McDuffie and drawn by an equally legendary Denys Cowan, not to mention a cover by Brian Bolland — and how it explores the common themes of Prince's music. Specifically, it deals with his exploration of duality that often runs throughout his lyrics.

Cover by Brian Bolland.
Cover by Brian Bolland.

Duality is a common theme throughout superhero comics, and the Prince book basically read like one: It often brings up comparisons to Batman, a character that Prince had become closely associated with years earlier when he provided music for Tim Burton's Batman.

io9's Charlie Jane Anders writes:

Most comics creators, asked to do a Prince comic, probably would have just played up the “Raspberry Beret” goofiness of the man, with a lot of cartoon hijinks and Lake Minnetonka pranks. And that might have been a totally valid storytelling choice. But McDuffie and Cowan clearly love Prince a lot, and they try to capture something essential about his serious side. The moral and emotional struggles between not just good and evil, but also selfishness and generosity, that come up a lot in his work (especially in the ‘80s and ‘90s.)

There's some great insight in the piece and I recommend giving it a read. If you're looking to find a copy of the comic, though, you might be out of luck. The issue isn't available digitally, and prices have skyrocketed by flippers looking to make a quick buck from the musician's death.

It's not often there's a celebrity that stars in his or her own comic book that truly feels like they deserve the same larger-than-life treatment as a fictional character like Batman, but Prince was certainly one of them.

(Source: io9)


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