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Author Topic: Comics Creators = Musicians?  (Read 5799 times)
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JulianPerez
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« on: October 22, 2006, 11:04:26 PM »

What comic book creators have their doppleganger in the musical world, the person that has the exact same niche and perspective?


Alan Moore = Billy Joel

I mean, think about it: SUPREME and 1963 = "An Innocent Man." SUPREME was all about combining a modern aesthetic to classic ideas about the superhero to give them longevity, which is what "An Innocent Man" was all about: doing a nostalgic retro project that was a tribute to Motown and Tinpan Alley. But 1963 was not *exactly* the Marvel heroes, and likewise, no song on "An Innocent Man" was entirely borrowed from the Doowop sound: there were all sorts of twists in the songs that colored them as original, clearly distinct and just as interesting as the songs they were based on. "Christy Lee" was not EXACTLY Jerry Lee Lewis song, but captured his energy and piano sound to create a new sound. Likewise, in the middle of these homages and clear starting points, there is always one character in Moore's works that seems like he's inspired by five or six characters at once: the "hardly human Hypernaut" or "Spacehunter." Likewise, "An Innocent Man" had "Uptown Girl," which was clearly "inspired" by a specific aesthetic...but by several songs.


Alan Zelenetz = Jobriath

Both of these are equivalent because at one point both were all but deified as the Next Big Thing, but instead their failures were so colossal that they were retroactive: nobody remembers them today. At the time, both were horribly overrated and are both now forgotten. There was one article from the early 1980s or thereabouts (I think it was the Gary Groth one), which listed the comics creators that were going to take the medium forward in the next decade. What was interesting was theygave the usual gushing, slobbery praise, but to: Alan Moore, Frank Miller, and...Alan Zelenetz?

Oh, wait, but it gets better: Alan Zelenetz's most famous work is being "the guy that was on MIGHTY THOR just before Walt Simonson took over."  Grin

Jobriath on the other hand, was supposed to be the American David Bowie. Advertisements were everywhere, even in Times Square. The guitarist from Led Zepplin was on his album. Jobriath even had a stage show that involved him - in a King Kong costume, climbing the Empire State Building, only to have him take the costume off to reveal a Marlene Dietrich outfit, and the building below him reveal to be an erupting penis.

Like Alan Zelenetz, Jobriath had an equally embarassing moment: when Morissey tried to find Jobriath to open for him in a tour back in 1996, he discovered that Jobriath had been dead for over 12 years.  Grin


Stan Lee/Jack Kirby = The Beatles

Like the Beatles, the Lee-Kirby combination produced something greater than the sum of their parts. None of the Beatles solo careers were as grand as what they produced when they were in divine syzygy.

If Lee and Kirby are the Beatles...does that make Coletta Ringo?


Jack Kirby in the Seventies = The Flaming Lips

My first instinct was to say "Wings," because it's solo work by a guy best known for working in a team. But really, a better match would be the Flaming Lips, because both Kirby in the seventies and the Flaming Lips created a subgenre that pretty much only consists of themselves. You can only compare Kirby in the seventies to other Kirby work, and you can only compare Lips albums to other Lips albums.


Grant Morrison = Blondie

Blondie was a pop band that took what it wanted from the punk challenge. Blondie, like Grant, emphasized simple and short 3 1/2 minute songs, with a hip "weird for the sake of weird" gimmickry that comes from punk (e.g. "Rapture"). Grant, whatever else I can say about him, does give you bang for your buck, as did Blondie, who always had 10-12 tracks on their albums (remember, this was when David Bowie's "Station to Station" had only six songs total).


Steve Gerber = The Alan Parsons Project

Alan Parsons vacillates between whimsical and humorous electronica pieces ("Pie in the Sky" = Howard the Duck), cold, tragic science fiction numbers ("Hyper Gamma Space" = Guardians of the Galaxy), and atmosphere-heavy, Zeplin-esque horror pieces like his concept album dedicated to Edgar Allen Poe, "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" (Man-Thing).

Like Steve Gerber, the APP is a litmus test I take to see if a person is cool or not. "Hey, do you like Steve Gerber?" "Yeah, I'm a big fan of DAREDEVIL AND THE BLACK WIDOW, and DEFENDERS." "Really? We should talk sometime..."


Frank Miller = Flava Flav

I mentally cringe when I realize the same genius that in the eighties did such incredible, tough "tell it like it is" work with Public Enemy as "Fear of a Black Planet" is now a Viking hat wearing madman on reality TV dating Red Sonja. I get this exact same squirmy feeling when reading ALL-STAR BATMAN.


The Image Founders = Trevor Horn

Trevor Horn, originator of "Video Killed the Radio Star" and the "wall of sound" electronica best seen in groups like Frankie Goes to Hollywood, created a type of sound that emphasized production values over any kind of originality or soul.

One music critic in ROLLING STONE argued that "Like a Virgin" was the single most important song of the 1980s because it was simple, only 12 tracks and only a one note overdub, and because of its influence there was a "back to the basics" approach with pop afterward. Likewise, post Image, comics only got good when they went back to basics.


U2 = Kurt Busiek

Both emphasize a return to classic greatness and basics like good old fashoined skill with instruments, and both are an ultra-rare combination: superhumanly great but simultaneously also really, really popular and beloved by nearly everybody.

Does that mean that his AVENGERS is "The Joshua Tree" of comics?


Warren Ellis = The Sex Pistols

As I've never thought much of the Sex Pistols, this is not a flattering comparison. Like Ellis, they are full of very studied, inarticulate antiestablishment sound and fury that signifies nothing. Both use generous amounts of swear words.

"Never Mind the Bollocks" is barely 50 minutes long, and has barely TWO good songs on it. Buying it, you're left unsatisfied - which is a better metaphor for Ellis's movie-style decompressed style as I've ever seen.

Tragically, there is no comics equivalent of The Clash to totally redeem the niche that Ellis occupies.
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TELLE
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« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2006, 05:34:24 AM »

Los Bros Hernandez=The Clash
(or at least The Replacements or maybe The Zeros?)

Jack Cole=Spike Jones & his City Slickers

Gil Kane=Dave Brubeck

If Stan and jack were the Beatles, in the 70s Stan was Goerge and Ringo and Jack was John (DC) and Paul (Marvel).

There is a Jack Kirby classical music group:

http://www.kirbyquartet.com/

very interesting playlist...

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« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2006, 08:14:57 AM »

Adrian Tomine=(early)Jonathan Richman esp. the lonely industrial zone feeling.
Steve Ditko=Buddy Holly He's a geek, but he's the best and the most sincere.
Neal Adams=Bruce Springsteen Sometimes it's embarassing to be a fan, but they're both still great
DC Jack Kirby/Mike Royer=Ramones The most elemental style. Non-initiates still don't get it, imitators mostly fail.

I loved the Miller/Flav comparison, although I think Flav still has his sense of humor. "I'm the goddamn Miller" does not. Gerber _is_ still the acid test, isn't he?

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JulianPerez
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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2006, 11:49:25 AM »

Quote from: Solo
Steve Ditko=Buddy Holly He's a geek, but he's the best and the most sincere.

Wouldn't a better comparison to Ditko be Brian Wilson? He started out with dominating and beloved pop tunes, but then later on grew a beard, went crazy, and did albums like "Pet Sounds" based on his obsessive studio habits.

Quote from: TELLE
If Stan and jack were the Beatles, in the 70s Stan was Goerge and Ringo and Jack was John (DC) and Paul (Marvel).

George Carlin said - and I agree - that the wrong two Beatles died first.

If Kirby is any Beatle, I'd say he'd be George Harrison: a Beatle whose creative contributions are only now fully being analyzed. Previously, the case was that the success of the Beatles was explained as a balance between John being "crunchy" and Paul being "smooth," with George honored but his contributions not being recognized. Now the pendulum is shifting the other way, with lots of fans pointing to George as being the driving force between the Beatles success.

Likewise for Kirby: previously, it was Stan Lee that got the lion's share of credit for the Marvel U, with Kirby honored but thought of as "that weird guy that created the Fighting Fetus." NOW, we've got Mark Evanier saying Kirby created the Marvel Universe, but then again Evanier probably said Kirby domesticated the dog, too.

The truth is probably somewhere in between, and the credit is probably more balanced.

Stan Lee certainly was very influential, and you need look no further than see how different Kirby was with Stan than without him. There's a tendency to break Kirby's "god" books up in three periods: the MIGHTY THOR period, the DC period, and his return to Marvel with ETERNALS. Actually, I'd break Kirby's "god" books two ways: 1) his MIGHTY THOR period, and 2) everything else.
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« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2006, 06:50:05 PM »

Quote from: Solo
Steve Ditko=Buddy Holly He's a geek, but he's the best and the most sincere.

Wouldn't a better comparison to Ditko be Brian Wilson? He started out with dominating and beloved pop tunes, but then later on grew a beard, went crazy, and did albums like "Pet Sounds" based on his obsessive studio habits.

I don't think (No... I KNOW) having a major case of depression and anxiety means that someone "went crazy".  Unfortunately, it hit him at a time when depression was misunderstood and for all Brian's weath, the only thing he could do was stay in bed and "grow a beard".

Sheesh...
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« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2006, 08:03:01 PM »

Quote
George Carlin said - and I agree - that the wrong two Beatles died first.

Wow.  I don't know the context, but taken alone, that line is pretty harsh.  I can counter, however, with a harsh line of my own: getting killed was the best career move Lennon could have made.  After releasing years of stuff too intensely personal and avant-garde to appeal to much of anyone (after "Plastic Ono Band" and "Imagine," noone cared much about his stuff), Lennon at the time of his murder had just released the "Double Fantasy" album.  Designed to be a more commercially viable album, critics and fans were already lambasting it as a sell-out return to bubblegum pop.  So which way to go?  Try for big sales and get accused of taking the McCartney route?  Or keep making eclectic stuff that eventually only his closest friends and family would buy?

Anyway, the problem was solved.  Once he was killed, the same album most music reviewers blasted as rubbish became a huge seller, and his five-year retreat from recording due to writer's block was ret-conned into a bold act of defiance against the recording industry.  And a guy prone to bitter screeds became the messiah of peace and love ("Give Peace A Chance," he sang, while writing checks to the Irish Republican Army).

By getting killed when he did, Lennon became the martyr of the Boomer generation.  They can always remember him as the young, vital, angry young man and never the settled-down, fat and happy company man he didn't hang around to become.  In other words, the same transformation that happened to most of his fans never had to happen to him.  And with his death, songs like "Watching the Wheels" (in which the one-time chart-topper and political gadfly says, essentially, "I'm content to sit back and be a non-participant in life") and "Woman" (in which he grovels for Yoko's forgiveness and validation) go from being a sad come-down for a once vital super-hippy to now being elegiacal, pathos-laden masterpieces ("Wow, man, just when he found happiness and inner peace this had to happen...")

Lennon joins JFK in the pantheon of icons who left us when their legends still loomed large and big things still seemed possible...thus avoiding the very real possibility they would slip into mediocrity and irrelevance had they lived on.  Anyone remember Fat Elvis?

Quote
If Kirby is any Beatle, I'd say he'd be George Harrison: a Beatle whose creative contributions are only now fully being analyzed. Previously, the case was that the success of the Beatles was explained as a balance between John being "crunchy" and Paul being "smooth," with George honored but his contributions not being recognized. Now the pendulum is shifting the other way, with lots of fans pointing to George as being the driving force between the Beatles success.

Really?  George the key to the Beatles' success?  I'd like to meet those fans, if only to lecture them on the evils of THC.

I never like the Stan and Jack = John and Paul analogies, they don't really fit.  And since it's "cooler" to be a John fan, people try too hard to make Kirby into the Lennon mold ("He was a radical thinker, while Stan was the snake-oil salesman, yadda yadda).  If anything, I think Jack might be more the Paul type; capable of creating wondrously beautiful things seemingly without effort, stuff borne more of emotion than reason...but when asked to put words to it, prone to either trite hyperbole or stunningly inarticulate ramblings and nonsequiturs.

Actually, maybe I should say Curt Swan = Paul McCartney.  The artist who keeps on working in the same style decades after the audience has stopped appreciating his aesthetic.


Joe Kubert = David Bowie.  100 years old and still cooler than everyone else working.
Joe Shuster = Bo Diddley.  Invented the riffs they're still milking to this day.
John Byrne = Rod Stewart.  Look at me, I'm still a big star! Hello?.....Hello....?
Rob Leifeld = Milli Vanilli.  The poseur.  Lip-syncs, light boxes, it's all the same.


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nightwing
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« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2006, 08:09:10 PM »

Wow.

In case anyone's wondering, the word "H.E.L.L.O" in my last post was changed to "Hecko" by this board's Prude-A-Tron censoring software.



Keep it clean, kids!

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MatterEaterLad
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« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2006, 08:54:16 PM »

Wow, a word filter...must have come with the new forum software, amybe Rao can turn it off, I can't think of a forum that uses less profanity than here.
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