BRUCE DICKINSON: 'If I'd Have Been Able To Draw When I Was A Kid, I'm Sure I Would've Been An Artist'

April 2, 2024

In an interview with 4GQTVconducted at last weekend's WonderCon in Anaheim, California, IRON MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson spoke about the three-year, 12-episode comic book series which is accompanying his latest solo album, "The Mandrake Project". Asked if comic-book writing is a lot different from songwriting, Bruce responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Yeah, it is a lot different to songwriting. It has some similarities. Comic writing has similarities to all writing — screenplay writing and songwriting and book writing and art, obviously. But it is different to all of them. I mean, I approached writing this the same way I would approach writing, say, a screenplay. And then as soon as I went to turn it into a comic, my scriptwriter, Tony Lee, a very experienced comic writer —I realized that script writing, screenplay format is not comic format. Screenplay dialogue is not comic dialogue. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. And you've just gotta have a feel for what's gonna work in a comic. And it's really exciting for me to see the script that we do turn into the art and then the art and the script work together. So as I'm going through, I feel like I'm getting more of a handle on writing comic script. I mean, I've written the story, I've written the characters, I've written the backstory, but now the characters are starting to write the story, which, for me, it's, like, wow, that's really cool."

Regarding whether he is a fan of comic books, Dickinson said: "Well, I was when I was a kid. I liked a good story, and for there to be a good story, you need complex characters. So I made a distinction between art. I mean, if I'd have been able to draw when I was a kid, I'm sure I would've been an artist. But I can't — I mean, I'm like little stick people; I have no ability at art at all, except I love it when I see it. And I can visualize things. I just can't draw them. Which is good for artists, because you can have maniacs like me create the ideas, and then they draw them. So, if I could, I'm sure I would have been an artist. But without that, then you turn into a storyteller just through whatever medium you can get your hands on."

For the last decade, Dickinson has been developing the story of "The Mandrake Project", his saga about the century-long battle for the human control of immortality.

"The Mandrake Project" comic book project is scripted by Tony Lee and drawn by Staz Johnson. It is being published by Z2 Comics in 12 episodes, collected into three graphic novels, and is described as "a dark, adult story of power, abuse and a struggle for identity, set against the backdrop of scientific and occult genius."

"The Mandrake Project" album was released on March 1 via BMG. Bruce and his long-term co-writer and producer Roy "Z" Ramirez recorded the LP largely at Los Angeles's Doom Room, with Roy Z doubling up as both guitarist and bassist. The recording lineup for "The Mandrake Project" was rounded out by keyboard maestro Mistheria and drummer Dave Moreno, both of whom also featured on Bruce's previous solo studio album, "Tyranny Of Souls", in 2005.

This past February, Dickinson revealed the addition of two new guitarists to his solo touring band, which will hit the road in April in support of "The Mandrake Project". Swedish-born guitarist, songwriter and multi-platinum-credited producer Philip Näslund and Swiss session and touring guitarist Chris Declercq (who incidentally played on Dickinson's latest single, "Rain On The Graves") will accompany previously announced members Dave Moreno, Mistheria and Tanya O'Callaghan (bass). Ramirez will not be part of the touring lineup.

The first chance to see the six-piece live will now be at The Observatory in Orange County, California on April 15.

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