Nothing More: Spirits Vol. I (Graphic Novel Review)

Working class and hands on, Nothing More has been floating around the Rock-n-Roll world for two decades now. A history full of ups, downs, what has helped Nothing More rise has been persistence, personal belief and integrity to their craft. Attributes that have served them well, in 2014, the career independent band broke big into the mainstream with their self-titled record. Featuring powerful anthems that included “This Is the Time (Ballast),” “Mr. MTV,” and “Jenny,” it was clear that Nothing More was digging deeper beneath the surface, stimulating us to think more about what makes us who we are. Not religious or overtly political, Nothing More’s approach toward provocativity is much more subtle – raise a question, plant the seed, and allow the listener to arrive at their own thoughts. 

A powerful type of inspiration, the band carried their ideas further with 2017’s The Stories We Tell Ourselves; earning themselves three Grammy nominations in the process. Serving as further warning of the dangerous trajectory humanity is hopelessly tumbling toward, this would not be the end, as Nothing More returned in a massive way with 2022’s Spirits. An album filled with an array of emotions ranging from anger, disgust, frustration, to heartbreak, what truly separated the work is the lack of despair so many other contemporary artists seem to display. Instead, the overall theme of the record is not that darkness has ascended, engulfing us in nothing, thus resulting in our doom, but that the light that many are so desperately seeking is buried deep within us.

Something that can be construed as spiritually, Nothing More remain clear of labels, but do feel strongly about inviting their listeners into a world outside the fringes of the mainstream to find their own truth. Something that might seem a little abstract, Lead Vocalist and Lyricist Jonny Hawkins curiously created what he calls the Spirits Test; something of a zodiac concept created to allow you to measure your own personality traits. Broken into seven types, fans are welcome to take the test at and perhaps discover something about themselves in the process.

Now taking the concept to the next level, Nothing More has teamed up with accomplished graphic novel publisher Z2 Comics for the release of their first ever graphic novel, Nothing More: Spirits Vol. I. Released on May 30, 2023, the novel comes in three formats – standard hardcover edition with slipcase, oversized hardcover edition, and oversized hardcover edition with slipcase and autographs of the entire band. All very cool editions, the bound book is solidly crafted with cover art from Ghonz, illustrations by Christian Rosado, and stories by Dan Watters.

Broken into four short stories, they follow the concept of Hawkins’ Spirit Test types – The Constant, The Ballast, Fuse, and Exile. With this Watter, a rather prolific writer who has worked with other bands that include King Diamond to Amon Amarth, creates tales that tap into Hawkins’ ideas in a magical well. Each one telling a different story of different people struggling to find purpose in their own worlds. However, the interconnecting theme within all is that the answers almost always lie within ourselves. Building our curiosity, the stories have a beginning, middle, and climax where the realization sets in that the petty aspects of life are what truly hold us back.

Artfully executed with well-written plots and beautiful illustrations, it will be interesting to see what Spirits Vol. II might bring as an exploration into the other Spirit types. Worth picking up if you are a fan of Nothing More, their thoughtful approach, and yearn to tap into some clarity, Cryptic Rock gives Nothing More: Spirits Vol. I 5 out of 5 stars. 

Nothing More: Spirits Vol. I / Z2 Comics (2023)
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