Tube Surfing: Comics’ Musical Connections

Joe Satriani - Surfing With The Alien

 

Kerrang! is known for writing about music, but some of us at the heavy metal magazine also spend an inordinate amount of time reading comics and, are, apparently “stupidly excited about the upcoming London Super Comic Convention, taking place  14th – 15th March at the Excel Centre London.

In fact, they got so excited that our brains overheated, so to cool down they made a list of songs about superheroes. You’ve probably already read about how superhero films have a long and illustrious history of rock soundtracks, but said superheroes also appear in rock songs, too. Their list includes Weezer name-checking the X-Men in “In the Garage”, “I Am the Law” from Anthrax (we’ll let them off calling Judge Dredd a superhero), Iced Earth singing about Spawn in “The Dark Saga” and Joe Satriani’s glowing tribute to Marvel’s Silver Surfer with “Surfing With the Alien”.

(The cover to Satriani’s most successful album to date featured artwork inspired by work John Byrne did for Silver Surfer #1, published in 1982.  He never received payment for the usage).

 

A Scandal in Bohmeia by Jazz Butcher, cover art by Hunt Emerson

A Scandal in Bohmeia by Jazz Butcher, cover art by Hunt Emerson

 

 

Talking of music, we’re amazed just how many album covers have either been inspired by comics or drawn by comic artists. A recent shout out for examples on Facebook resulted in a huge number of examples that not only included Jamie Hewlett for his work on the Gorillaz albums (a new album is out next year), Robert CrumbHunt Emerson (who has done a huge number!), Dave McKean and Dave Gibbons but others such as Kevin O’Neill (working with Alan Moore on the “Sinister Ducks”) – and 2000AD‘s Ron Smith, who says he did covers for several heavy metal bands. Here’s some of the many that were suggested… enjoy!

 

Anthrax cover by Alex Ross

Anthrax cover by Alex Ross

Barry Windsor Smith: Preflyte by The Byrds

Barry Windsor Smith: Preflyte by The Byrds

 

Kim Wilde: Cambodia

Rod Vass: Kim Wilde’s 7 inch single Cambodia

 

Dave Gibbons Jethro Tull album cover

Dave Gibbons Jethro Tull album cover

Hunt Emerson created this cover for The Beat

Hunt Emerson created this cover for The Beat

Dimple Minds: Krank Not Dead by Graham Manley

Dimple Minds: Krank Not Dead by Graham Manley

Frank Quitely's cover for Robbie Williams

Frank Quitely’s cover for Robbie Williams

 

Other artists making the leap to record cover design include Enki Bilal (Sommeil du Monstre), Geoff Darrow, Jamie Hernandez (Indigo Girls – All That We Let In), David Lloyd, Graham Manley, Barry Windsor Smith and Phil Winslade.

There’s a comics-inspired cover fro B.A. Roberton’s Bang Bang that is fondly remembered, along with comics-inspired David Bowie albums (particularly, The Man Who Sold The World), Mothers of Invention’s Weasels Ripped My Flesh and Doctor Who Magazine‘s ‘Woah!’ artist Baxter AKA Jamie Lenman who designed Caretaker’s Providence cover.

Despite the huge number of male artists mentioned, we only had two female illustrators mentioned: Mary Fleener, who drew the cover of  Beloved Stranger by Cindy Lee Berryhill; and Lisa ‘Cool Cheese’ Holdcroft, who did a great cover for Andy Roberts’ band Linus… Anyone think of others?

Thanks to everyone who sent me suggestions and especially Hunt Emerson for sending me so many of his. Always great to see more of his work.

 

emerson-spritely-string-puppet

A Spritely String Puppet by Hunt Emerson

 

 

 

The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek Magazine) and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of "Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies" for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.



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