Comics and Music: Your New Playlist

Comics and Music: Your New Playlist

BY MATT TUCK, BLOGGER SUPREME

IG@matt.tuck.writer

FB@The Comic Blog

For a change of pace, let’s talk about music today, and do I have a superhero playlist ready for you. 

Comics and music have been inspiring each other for decades now. Whether it’s comics taking cues from popular music of the times or musicians pulling song lyrics from the comics themselves, the two are firmly meshed together. That explains the numerous hip-hop and rock album tributes that grace many variant covers.

When it comes to comics and music, collectors can be just as opinionated about their songs as they are about their books. Today’s list is focused solely on rock songs either written about or inspired by rock songs, particularly metal songs. Load up your playlist with these gems on your next road trip.

For a change of pace, let’s talk about music today, and do I have a superhero playlist ready for you. 

Comics and music have been inspiring each other for decades now. Whether it’s comics taking cues from popular music of the times or musicians pulling song lyrics from the comics themselves, the two are firmly meshed together. That explains the numerous hip-hop and rock album tributes that grace many variant covers.

When it comes to comics and music, collectors can be just as opinionated about their songs as they are about their books. Today’s list is focused solely on rock songs either written about or inspired by rock songs, particularly metal songs. Load up your playlist with these gems on your next comic con road trip.

Amon Amarth

TWILIGHT OF THE THUNDER GOD

There’s no metal quite like viking metal, and Amon Amarth is the reigning kings of the genre. No song quite puts the crown on their heads as “Twilight of the Thunder God,” and it was too cool a song to leave off the list.

Maybe the Swedish metal band was not thinking about Marvel Comics’ version of Thor when they wrote this, but it is a song about the thunder god nonetheless. The tune is high-octane all the way and will make you a fan of Amon Amarth. Granted, if you are not accustomed to hearing the growling vocals of lead singer Johann Hegg, it may come as a shock, but it will grow on you. It is an amazing song that tells the story of the Norse mythological Ragnarök. Maybe it is not as mainstream as “Immigrant Song,” but it would have made for epic theme music for the battle on the Bifrost Bridge. Even better would be a recut of Thor’s arrival in Wakanda during Infinity War with the pulsating drumbeat and guitars raging as he bellows, “Bring me Thanos!”

Rollins Band

GHOST RIDER

He is a leather-clad, chopper-riding, demonic skeleton with flames shooting from his head. Is there anything more metal than that aside from maybe Satan? It is fitting that a second song about Ghost Rider made the list, but this one is much more metal. Then again, it came from Henry Rollins, so I would not expect anything less.

What we have here is a cover song about a comic book character slid into a movie about a different comic book character. As I type that, I hear Robert Downey, Jr. reciting the line, “I’m the dude playing the dude disguised as another dude.”

This ode to the Spirit of Vengeance was included on The Crow movie soundtrack, which at the time featured an all-star list of grunge and hard rock pioneers headlined Stone Temple Pilots, Nine Inch Nails, and Pearl Jam. Mixed in with those names, it is easy to overlook a solid gem like “Ghost Rider.” Henry Rollins does his best Jim Morrison impression for this one. Paired with the song’s heavy, thrumming bass line, it fits beautifully with the imagery of Ghost Rider on his chopper. The best part is that the full version of the song goes on for 10 minutes.

Green Jelly

CARNAGE RULES

Green Jelly is the pseudo-comedy rock band of the ‘90s that gets lost in the shuffle of Generation X music. The same band famous for their tongue-in-cheek, metal versions of “Three Little Pigs” and “The Bear Went Over the Mountain” were tapped to record the theme song for the classic SNES game, Maximum Carnage. The song itself is heavy and perfect for the most homicidal and bloodthirsty of all the symbiotes. It’s a pity Sony didn’t include it in Let There Be Carnage.

Anthrax

I AM THE LAW

Admittedly, I am not a hardcore Anthrax fan, but this is a cool song about an often overlooked yet great character, Judge Dredd. These guys are obviously comic fans because this 1987 song predates the Judge’s mainstream coming out party in Sylvester Stallone’s dismal action-comedy. The lyrics quote much of the Dredd lines and specifically mention Mega City as well as his trademark line, “I am the law.” Whenever I listen to this track, it reminds me that we never got a sequel to Karl Urban’s 2012 masterpiece, Dredd

Entombed

WOLVERINE BLUES

Swedish metal bands apparently like comics. Released in 1993, this was such a novel concept. Not only did Marvel allow the relatively obscure Entombed to use the name and likeness of Wolverine, but the album came with a mini Wolverine comic. If there’s any genre that suits Logan, it’s metal, and Entombed put together a thrashing, heavy rhythm that lives up to his name. The album was released in the thick of the grunge rock movement, but “Wolverine Blues” was a bit heavier than the Seattle rockers that dominated the charts at the time. 

So, who has the mini comic from the album?

The Ramones

SPIDER-MAN THEME SONG

Punk rock makes anything better. Put a cheesy ‘60s kids cartoon theme song in their hands, and suddenly they’ve transformed it into a punk anthem. The fact that the Ramones turned a kids cartoon song into a cool rock song is so much of a contradiction that it suits the basis of punk in an ironic way.

Obviously, the Ramones obviously did not write this song, but their punk rock take on the 1966 cartoon theme is infectious. It made it into the credits of Sam Rami’s original Spider-Man movie, and Spider-Man: Homecoming featured “Blitzkrieg Bop,” further tying the Ramones to Spider-Man. 

Rob Zombie

RETURN OF THE PHANTOM STRANGER

Rob Zombie’s eccentric, horror-inspired stage persona lends itself well to comic characters, especially one with horror roots like DC’s Phantom Stranger. The song itself is not necessarily an ode to the ethereal superhero, but it is hard to believe that the title didn’t originate from the actual Phantom Stranger. The imagery of the song doesn’t paint a portrait of the Stranger, but the general tone suits the character, which is how Zombie’s song made it on today’s list.

Suicide

GHOST RIDER

This is the second of two Ghost Rider-themed songs on today’s list, but this version is the original. Why wouldn’t there be two Ghost Rider songs on the list? The Spirit of Vengeance deserves the attention. Although the lyrics to both Ghost Rider tunes are similar (there’s only so many ways you can describe a flaming skeleton), musically, they are near-polar opposites. Suicide’s rendition is closer to being a 1980s new wave predecessor and would be a perfect hipster anthem.

Crash-Test Dummies

SUPERMAN’S SONG

How many of us remember the Crash-Test Dummies? If there ever was a sound that could be classified as alternative rock, it belonged to CTD. Most kids of the 1990s will recall their one Billboard hit, “Mmmm,” but Superman’s Song actually got a decent amount of air time in its day. Better yet, they gave a nod to Solomon Grundy in the song, which is a testament to their comic credibility. The video itself is hilariously corny with the CTD lead singer belting out the lyrics on a gothic set that would make Meatloaf jealous.

Roy Head & The Traits

NOBODY LOVES THE HULK

As I was researching songs for today’s list, the title to this 1969 tune caught my eye. On the surface, it may seem like an upbeat bubble-gum pop ode to the Green Goliath that would be fitting for his ‘60s cartoon theme. Listen closely, and the song takes on new life. It is very much a sign of the 1960s societal changes, and it even uses the green-skinned Hulk as a metaphor for discrimination during the Civil Rights movement, which takes this song up a level, lyrically. 

Paul McCartney & Wings

MAGNETO AND TITANIUM MAN

In his Beatles days, Paul McCartney could write some off-beat songs. Need I say more than, “Rocky Raccoon?” The thing about Sir Paul is that he is so talented that he makes it work. Here we have McCartney strumming out a song about an X-Men villain that I wouldn’t have thought he even knew existed. It’s such a weird little song, and it basically describes Magneto having a fairly normal day with his friends. What’s more is that McCartney added references to Crimson Dynamo to 1975 light-rock tune, so he clearly was somewhat familiar with Marvel at the time.

WHAT DID I MISS?

There are plenty of songs that take inspiration from or can be associated with a comic book character, superhero or not. When you include other genres, there are well over 10. Did I leave your favorite off the list? Sound off in the comments, and share a link to the song.

WHAT DID I MISS?

There are plenty of songs that take inspiration from or can be associated with a comic book character, superhero or not. When you include other genres, there are well over 10. Did I leave your favorite off the list? Sound off in the comments, and share a link to the song.

Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and the Blogger Supreme. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog, or on Instagram at matt.tuck.writer.


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