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Despite the occasional tribute show (such as last Saturday at The Blue Note) or a random annual concert, seeing Tom Morello along with Rage Against the Machine is a rare sight. Although chances have improved after coming out of hiatus in 2007, the band still rarely tours and only played one show in 2011. Tom Morello and Zach de la Rocha have teased possible artist endeavors in the near future, but for now, RATM still resides in the nineties.
But Tom Morello has been busy. It seems as if each new year brings a new side project: Audioslave, The Nightwatchmen, Street Sweeper Social Club and what seems like a hundred different other side projects. But it’s not only music that has taken up Morello’s time.
It’s not a secret that Morello has a nerdy side. In 1998, before RATM’s dissolution in 2000, Morello played an uncredited role on Star Trek: Insurrection, and two years later, portrayed a starship officer on Star Trek: Voyager. He even played a guard in Jon Favreau’s Iron Man in 2008. Morello expresses his love for the classic metal-clad hero here.
Looking at it from this point of view, this next bit of information might not come as a surprise. Tom Morello is also writing a comic book. In recent years, comic books have seen some new firsts such as Obama’s appearance on Amazing Spider-Man #583 and Stephen King writing his first pages of a comic in American Vampire #1.
Orchid, which premiered last fall and is published by Dark Horse Comics, is only a few issues in, but is already an impressive display for the freshman comic writer’s talents. Morello develops a complex world where man’s own greed and destructive nature has created the end times. Although some ideologies from RATM transfered to the comic, there is also subtle story telling and artful character building as well. Despite an impressive debut, Morello succumbs to a few pitfalls. At some parts the dialogue is a little flat or scenes are inconsistent or illogical, but the book is an ambitious start for someone new to the medium. Four issues are out with the fifth on the way.
Tom Morello joins only a select few other musician-turned-comic-writers. Perhaps the most impressive example is Gerard Way’s (My Chemical Romance) The Umbrella Academy. Of course there is always the lesser known Jaguar God by Glenn Danzig, but let’s just keep that to ourselves.
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