Bruce Dickinson Discusses The Transformation Of ‘The Mandrake Project’ Beyond An Album

During a recent conversation with Brazil’s Omelete, Bruce Dickinson unveiled the journey of ‘The Mandrake Project’ from album to ambition.

Speaking about the lyrical theme of his upcoming solo album, the Iron Maiden vocalist shared:

“So ‘The Mandrake Project’ is, one, is an album. It’s the name of the album. The comic is a 12-episode graphic novel, kind of adult. There’s lots of stuff in it — there’s lots of sex and drugs and violence and all kinds of stuff. But it’s basically a story about a guy who is looking for his identity, Dr. Necropolis.”

Character Focus On ‘The Mandrake Project’

Detailing the main character of the story, he continued:

“He’s an orphan, he’s a genius, and he hates it, and he hates life, but he’s involved in The Mandrake Project. And The Mandrake Project aims to take the human soul at the point of death, capture it, store it, and put it back in something else. And the guy that’s running the project, Professor Lazarus, he has one vision of what’s gonna happen with this technology, and Necropolis has other ideas. And on we go with the story.”

Creative Evolution Of The Project

When asked about combining music and comics, Bruce said he believes they naturally fit together. He thinks music, comics, and games all have a connection and relate to each other. The singer then recalled suggesting the creation of comic book-style covers for their singles. This idea, initially inspired by the comics he enjoyed as a child, later expanded when Iron Maiden developed the video game ‘Legacy of the Beast,’ which was accompanied by a series of comics. He added:

“And I thought they looked fantastic, but they lacked a story. And that got me thinking, what if you had an album that had a story that could be turned into a comic, and the two things would work together? As it happened, they’ve actually grown apart. So, the [original] album, in 2014, was gonna be one comic with the album — that’s it. Then, COVID happened, other things happened, seven years went by, and I had a 12-episode graphic novel.”

Separate Yet Connected: Album And Comic

Dickinson reflected on what he had planned next after completing the graphic novel:

“And I went, ‘I don’t wanna restrict the album to being like a script for this.’ These two things exist separately, but they inform each other. So you can look at the album and go, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s kind of related to the comic.’ And you look at the comic and go, ‘Oh, I see that might be a little bit related to the album,’ but they’re not dependent on each other. So you can buy the comic or you can buy the album — or both.”

Bruce Dickinson and his band are set to perform songs from ‘The Mandrake Project’ on a big tour next spring and summer. His touring group includes guitarist Roy Z, drummer Dave Moreno, bassist Tanya O’Callaghan, and keyboard player Mistheria. ‘The Mandrake Project’ is Dickinson’s seventh solo album and his first since 2005’s ‘Tyranny Of Souls.’ The album will be released on March 1.

You can watch the full interview below.