Thursday, November 9, 2017

Prince Street News: Comic and Cartoon Characters' Favorite Musical Artists (complete)

The new BACK ISSUE! spotlights rock & roll comics of the Bronze Age, featuring pieces on Alice Cooper, KISS (many, many articles about KISS), Flash Gordon, Paul McCartney, and much more. Finally, with this issue's theme, I was able to bring a new installment of what might be my signature piece to PRINCE STREET NEWS.

The first installment of  “Comic Characters’ Favorite Musical Artists” appeared in Warner Bros. Records’ promotional faux-zine, DIRT in the 1990s (wherein I contributed a monthly comic strip called THE RETAIL ADVENTURES OF KALLI & REX about the joys and travails of running an independent record store… remember those?). The concept’s next appearance was in my online strip, YOU DON'T LIKE ANYTHING! (which also appeared in the music magazine, THE BIG TAKEOVER). From 1999 through the first decade of the new millennium, I added more installments of the series, which eventually went viral in 2011, aggregated by dozens of websites including CBR, Buzzfeed, and Flavorwire (to name a few). 

Ever since I started doing PRINCE STREET NEWS for BACK ISSUE! that same year, I’ve been hoping to bring the concept to these pages. Finally, with this rock & roll comics issue, the format fit.

But as I set to writing the strip, I realized something: Every other installment of CCFMA was aimed mostly at a music fan audience; the bands chosen could be obscure, but the characters expressing their affection had to be known by the general public (for the most part). This time around, I had to take the opposite tack: Since I was doing this for BACK ISSUE! readers, the characters could be more obscure, but the musical preferences needed to be (again, for the most part) more mainstream. 

Still, not everyone will get every joke. That’s inevitable. Few will recognize every single artist mentioned. And the reasons for the pairing are all over the map. Some are obvious, groan-inducing puns (e.g., Mysterio, Hawkman). Some are due to iconic songs that could relate to the character (e.g., Thor, Underdog). Some are jokes that you might need to think about—or even do some Googling—to get (e.g., The Crypt Keeper, Little Dot). And some are actually chosen because, well, they make sense (Foghorn Leghorn, Hawk & Dove). My hope is that (in true music industry form) the 35 gags herein yield more hits than misses.

For this fifth installment, all the characters are new to the series, but I had to reuse one band from an earlier strip because it fit the new character so much better than its original champion (I won’t tell you which band, but in the old strip, they were loved by Space Ghost). 

For this post, I've included the previous four installments of CCFMA, combined into two bigger pieces, with some updated jokes and a few redrawn panels. I'm not going to explain each and every joke (part of the fun is trying to figure them out), but if there's something you don't get that's driving you nuts, feel free to ask me in the comments.