BRUCE DICKINSON Doesn’t Rule Out Releasing Another Solo Album To Coincide With End Of ‘The Mandrake Project’ Comic Book Series

In a new interview with Qobuz, IRON MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson was asked if he plans to release another studio album at the end of the three-year, 12-episode comic book series which is accompanying his latest LP, “The Mandrake Project”. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “Oh, you know what? That is something I don’t know. Obviously, it’s a possibility, but I’m not going to force myself to go, ‘Oh, I have to do this because it’s at the end of three years.’ If something happens naturally, then great. I’m not gonna sit on my butt and do nothing. But what I’ve learned from this process is when you do stuff, just do stuff that is really great quality. Rather than do ten things that are all average, do one thing, which is really good.”

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.”

Last November, Bruce told Brazil’s Omelete about the lyrical concept for “The Mandrake Project”: “So ‘The Mandrake Project’ is, one, is an album. It’s the name of the album. The comic is a 12-episode graphic novel, kind of adult. There’s lots of stuff in it — there’s lots of sex and drugs and violence and all kinds of stuff. But it’s basically a story about a guy who is looking for his identity, Dr. Necropolis. He’s an orphan, he’s a genius, and he hates it, and he hates life, but he’s involved in The Mandrake Project. And The Mandrake Project aims to take the human soul at the point of death, capture it, store it and put it back in something else. And the guy that’s running the project, Professor Lazarus, he has one vision of what’s gonna happen with this technology, and Necropolis has other ideas. And on we go with the story.”

Asked how he came up with the idea to mash together music and comics, Bruce said: “Well, I think they do kind of go together. They really do. Music and games, music and comics, comics and games, they’re all related.”

He continued: “Years ago, IRON MAIDEN, we were doing some cover art, and I said, ‘Why don’t we do a comic?’, like the comics that I used to read when I was a kid… When I suggested doing some covers, comic covers, we did some single artwork for IRON MAIDEN, and I thought, ‘You know what? This is kind of cool.’ Then later, MAIDEN had a video game called ‘Legacy Of The Beast’; we still do. But what came with a video game, somebody produced a series of comics. And I thought they looked fantastic, but they lacked a story. And that got me thinking, what if you had an album that had a story that could be turned into a comic and the two things would work together? As it happened, they’ve actually grown apart. So, the [original] album, in 2014, was gonna be one comic with the album — that’s it. Then, COVID happened, other things happened, seven years went by, and I had a 12-episode graphic novel. And I went, ‘I don’t wanna restrict the album to being like a script for this.’ These two things exist separately, but they inform each other. So you can look at the album and go, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s kind of related to the comic.’ And you look at the comic and go, ‘Oh, I see that might be a little bit related to the album,’ but they’re not dependent on each other. So you can buy the comic or you can buy the album — or both.”

“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.


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