Back in 1989, when I first started working with David, before the release of Sound + Vision, we had invested a lot of money (for us) in his catalog. If it hadn’t worked out - if he wasn't self-aware enough to know he needed to take steps to reinvigorate his art - we would’ve gone out of business. For a second I pondered that possibility and the germ of Gunning For Hits was born, and it burned inside me for decades.
30 years later, the loss of many of my heroes in 2016 finally motivated me to bring it to life as a comic book, which I’ve been very fortunate to have published by Image (Walking Dead and Saga, to name a few). They connected me with the amazing artist Moritat, who brought aboard the incredible Casey Silver to color and letter. Now all six issues are collected in a graphic novel so you can read it in one sitting.
If you’re interested in the music business and enjoy shows like Madmen and The Wire, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy this book, which crosses crime with an inside-baseball look at the music business. I assume you, it’s a lot better than HBO’s Vinyl.
Here’s the publisher’s blurb: “Record company talent scout Martin Mills jumps at the chance to make a comeback album with his favorite rock legend, Brian Slade. But when it goes sideways, Martin is forced to use deadly skills from his past in a desperate bid to save his reputation, and the artist’s career. Set in the 1980s New York City music scene, this real-world music business crime thriller from writer/music producer JEFF ROUGVIE (David Bowie, Big Star) and artist MORITAT (Spirit, Harley Quinn, Hellblazer). Check out the massive Spotify playlist! Collects GUNNING FOR HITS #1-6.”
Bowie fans will get the Brian Slade reference of course. The book contains an all-new essay answering the much-asked question: “Brian Slade & Brian Slade & David Bowie - Are They The Same Character?” Also included are a new intro and a cover gallery with commentary and gorgeous book design by the Image team including Deanna Phelps, who, like all my collaborators, performed with generous grace under pressure and delivered the goods every time.
Barnes & Noble has picked it as one of the best graphic novels of July and I’ve been truly overwhelmed by the response from the comic community (see some pull quotes below). It’s going to be exciting to see what the larger world makes of it.
“Fucking amazing! This book was phenomenal – above and beyond! 5/5” - Geek Brunch Podcast
“I give GFH 4.8 out of 5 Bowie Blackstars.” - Thecomicslounge
"When Jeff Rougvie describes the '80s record industry as the "only business dirtier than killing people for money" in Gunning For Hits, he's speaking from experience. Only a seasoned A&R pro could so easily weave insider details into this fast-paced tale of ego, power and greed." - S.W. Lauden, author of the Greg Salem Punk Rock PI series and That'll Be The Day: A Power Pop Heist
“Rougvie continues to parley his industry experience into platinum level hits. The fully realized characters. The Mad Men-like interactions and A, B, and C plots, and the air of danger and excess that this book breathes make it a must for heavy rotation. This is definitely a book for everyone that absolutely everyone should read.” – Comic Watch
“nearly flawless” – you don’t read comics
“dripping with authenticity. The premise (and the clever title) is very original. The dialogue is West Wing and Mad Men-level good. The theme and feel reads like a Neil Strauss music bio.” – popcult HQ
If you’re attending San Diego Comicon, I’ll be signing the book at the Image Comics booth at the following times:
If not, I’m planning to do a tour throughout the Northeast celebrating the 30 year anniversary of the Sound + Vision box (!!!) in the fall, and will bring copies of the signed hardcover if any remain.