Twelve-time platinum rock band Skillet has released their first-ever graphic novel, Eden, that takes a supernatural spin on the incessant longing for eternity.
Following the release of their latest album Victorious, the book Eden was released in partnership with Z2 Comics. The comic book style novel was birthed from the John Cooper’s passion to write.
“I read all the time," Cooper, the band's frontman, told The Christian Post. "I'm an avid reader, and I always have little ideas for books. I kind of think, in an alternate universe, that I'm writing books, science fiction stories, maybe short stories.”
The lead vocalist, bassist, and co-founder of Skillet was approached to write the graphic novel and although it’s something he always wanted to do, he admits he had some reservations.
“It was always a dream of mine to have a Skillet comic book because I love comics, but I've always been trepidatious because there's nothing worse than a cheesy comic. And it's a really fast way to embarrass yourself,” Cooper said.
“So I thought, ‘One day, we'll do the Skillet comic. But what does that look like? Do we have superpowers? Do I have a cape?' Some of those things felt wrong to me. So when this opportunity came up, I said, ‘I've got lots of ideas; I'd like to do a serious book. And they said, ‘Yeah, that's what we're going for,’” he said.
Cooper decided to create a science fiction style comic book. It has a “Stranger Things” meets “Left Behind” vibe with illustration and dialogue that will draw the reader in, making it difficult to put the book down.
"John and Korey dreamt of a door to paradise, and the zealots claimed this meant they must lead them there. John and Korey refused- they had children to raise, and a town to protect from beasts outside its gates.
And so the zealots stole the machine that protected them all, leading to the slaughter of dozens.
Now John and Korey hunt them across the barren highways and crumbling skyscrapers of the future. Joined by ex-soldier Seth and cyborg Jen, they are drawn towards either death or salvation… for the truth of their dream will lead them to the secrets of Eden," read the comic book's synopsis.
“This book, it's hard to explain to people who haven't read it,” Cooper said. “The book is kind of like a book version of Skillet’s music, in that it feels kind of supernatural. There's a spiritual quality to it, but there's also some dark aspects to it. It's kind of hopeful and beautiful at the same time as being kind of dark, science fiction. So that's kind of where the idea came from.”
Cooper, who's an outspoken Christian and unapologetic about sharing his faith, said he also wanted to incorporate his passion for philosophy.
“There's an idea, a philosophy that all humans have a sense that we are trying to get back to where we came from," he said. "We feel like we were meant for something, but we don't know what that is. That idea runs through philosophy. Some people are religious, some aren’t, whether you're an atheist philosopher or whether you’re a Christian philosopher."
“I believe that is because God has put eternity in our hearts and we were actually meant for something more than this. And we go, ‘Well, what were we meant for?’ Well, we were meant for Eden. We were meant for paradise — that we would be one with God and that we would be friends with God, and we would be without sin. All of those wonderful things.”
The Tennessee native took those ideas and, while avoiding being “cheesy,” went back to the beginning, back to Eden, and what the Bible describes in Genesis Chapters 1 and 2 as a perfect place for mankind until the fall.
Cooper added: “Maybe this time, we won't mess it up. Maybe this time, we don't eat that apple, and we don't create the atom bomb, and we don't hate people that don't look like us, and things like that. And we know God, and we're friends with God. So that was the idea.”
“The book, of course, is we are dreaming of this gate that is leading us to paradise. Then there are really cool, philosophical, ethical questions of how to get to that gate. Who gets to go through the gate? And I think, to me, that's kind of the emotional part of the book.”
While he initially didn't plan to feature himself and all of his bandmates in the comic book, that’s exactly what he did. Skillet consists of Cooper, along with his wife, Korey, Jen Ledger, and Seth Morrison.
Cooper’s character in the novel is portrayed as “super mean” but sometimes also nice.
“The characters in the book were not necessarily originally intended to be our personalities,” he said.
“Jen being a half cyborg is so funny because Jen, in real life, is someone who doesn't know how powerful she is. She's someone that doesn't like to go on stage and play her drums, and feels like maybe she's not good at drums and she doesn't deserve the position she has. But no one knows that because she slays so hard and she's such a great drummer. She's so talented. It was really fitting, and that, to me, was the most humorous part of the book,” the rocker concluded.
Eden: A Skillet Graphic Novel is now available.