Exclusive: Mondo to release limited edition Murder Ballads graphic novel, blues soundtrack

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May 17, 2017

The already colorful medium of graphic novels is getting an extra shot of the blues with a new limited-edition vinyl album from Mondo paired with the Z2 Comics book Murder Ballads about the music industry.

Available for pre-order May 24, the 10" vinyl original soundtrack will feature music by bluesman Robert Finley on vocals and Grammy Award winner Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys as composer/producer, and accompanies the rock 'n' roll noir graphic novel by comic writer and music journalist Gabe Soria and artists Paul Reinwand (illustrating "Side A") and Chris Hunt ("Side B").

According to a press release, Murder Ballads is "a meditation on music, obsession and how far someone will go to see their vision become real … [and] follows the fall and reinvention of Nate Theodore, the dead-broke and deadbeat owner of a failing record label who is on a cross-country drive in the dead of winter, fleeing the wreckage of his business." But he is given a chance to reverse his fortunes when, "during a stop in a desolate rust belt town, he 'discovers' Donny and Marvell Fontweathers, two African-American brothers who play a raucous brand of doom-laden country blues."

"I've always been fascinated by the unglamorous side of music making," Said Soria. "Accounts of glorious obscurities and the characters working the fringes … that's my meat and potatoes right there, the stuff that has nothing to do with fame and everything to do with love, obsession and compulsion to make."

Because the blues is such an integral part of Murder Ballads' plot, the Original Soundtrack contains the iconic Leadbelly blues song "In the Pines" as well as "Bang Bang," "Butter Sandwich," "The Empty Arms" and "Three Jumpers."

The limited edition Murder Ballads Mondo soundtrack and graphic novel will retail for $200 when it opens for pre-order, and will feature original album cover art by Jon Langford (shown here), the artist best known for striking of music icons including Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley. Meanwhile, the standard edition graphic novel will be released this July for $24.95 and will include downloadable codes to the soundtrack.

And to get you in the right bluesy mood for the release of Murder Ballads, check out the very cool video below of "In the Pines" from the soundtrack, sung by Finley, which also offers up a tease of the book.