Almost a year after the November, 2014 release of their latest album, Space Joe: Ad Astra, Ultimate Power Duo is remaining relevant with a comic book rendition of their demolition rock music.
“Depending on the experience you want, each story is portrayed in a different way. You can go along with the comic or the music or do both at the same time,” said bass player and vocalist Brennan Risling.
There are two versions of the album, one being the limited edition “hyperdrive” version as a shortened record. This one was recorded on vinyl and it’s much faster than the normal rendition. It’s a three-sequence, featuring three different versions of the Space Joe story.
Where did the band name come from?
“We had our first gig at Band Wars, in the early 2000s. Scott and I signed up as a joke. And that’s how it all started,” said Risling.
Ultimate Power Duo backstory
UPD is a Canadian band hailing from Saskatoon. It’s a rare thing to hear modern punk rock coming from Canada these days, and they are shaking things up across the border with their new album.
The rest of the band leads their own lives, collaborates via email or Skype. They spend time developing their skills separately, then come together in the studio to produce a personal outpouring of creativity.
There’s also the fact that 12 artists contributed to the 20 stories throughout the record and comic book. It took them four years to create the album, and it shows.
Here’s a snippet from the UPD website:
Space Joe: Ad Astra is a 22 track concept album following a single, continuative story line. To the Stars follows the story of a boy named Joe, an Air Force army brat who has his first experience with zero gravity in high school, before finally making his full ascension to the stars as an adult. Once among the regions of space, Space Joe meets an amazing array of characters, discovers a new meaning to his life, and creates a celestial course previously uncharted by any other human being.
The way they portray this story in many different arenas was made possible by the artists who worked with them on the comic book. It all came together when fellow guitarist ScottRP went to the Joe Schuster (co-creator of Superman) award site, looked up the artists, and made a proposal via email.
“We wanted to do a double record, like Batman, where you can read along,” Risling said.
His favorite characters are often secondary characters in the comics he read growing up. Now, that he’s midway into adulthood, he follows writers more than the artists, but still has the capacity to appreciate the art of the comic book.
His favorites include:
- James Robinson (Starman, Earth 2),
- Garth Ennis (Preacher, Punisher),
- Mike Alred (Mad Man, Silver Surfer),
- Kaare Andrews (Iron Fist),
- Jeff Lemiere (Sweet Tooth, Frankenstein).
“Another all time favourite series is Stray Bullets by David Lapham. Anyone who likes strong story writing with a bit of a crime edge should pick it up,” Risling said.
But a little bit more about Batman:
“My favourite Batman run was with Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams from the late sixties,” Risling said. “Adams’ artwork for me is still the cornerstone of measurement for other sequential art, in my humble opinion.”
What’s next for Ultimate Power Duo?
Risling said, “I’m really happy about the drawings. I have a lot of comics, but I’ve never made one, so the process is new. We’re planning on following up with the next album, with six stories for that one.”
You can download the comic on PDF or buy the vinyl record at your local music store.