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Marvel Comics' Best Rock and Roll Moments

Marvel Comics' Best Rock and Roll Moments
Sayre Berman

It seems though every other movie being released this summer is based on a Marvel comic book. With new editions of Captain America, Spider-man, X-men and the cinematic debut of the Guardians of the Galaxy hitting the screen, Hollywood and the Marvel Universe continue their intimate tango.

But Marvel comic books have another long-standing relationship with a different form of popular culture: rock music. Here are ten ways Spider-man and his amazing friends have infiltrated the music world. Much of these relationships were chronicled in Sean Howe's excellent book, Marvel Comics: The Untold Story which is a must read for any Marvel Zombies wanting to know which of their favorite comics were plotted on LSD.

1. The Silver Surfer, one time herald of the world devourer Galactus, was the cover boy for Joe Satriani's 1987 album, Surfing with the Alien. And in 1971, there were talks of a Silver Surfer movie starring Beach Boys drummer Dennis Wilson.

2. Black Bolt, king of the Inhumans, had vocal chords so powerful, his utterance of a single word could tear down mountains. Thus, it made sense renowned screamer Gene Simmons from Kiss would base his onstage costume on the Jack Kirby designed costume for Black Bolt.

3. Gene Simmons' love for comic books resulted in Kiss being the stars of their very own Marvel comic book series in 1977 where the band mixed samples of their blood into the red ink used to print the comic. For Kiss completists, their first appearance in the Marvel Universe was in Howard the Duck #7.

 

4. Before Scarlett Johansson played the part of the Black Widow, David Bowie's wife Angela Bowie licensed the rights for a TV show about the Russian superspy. Though nothing was ever filmed, Bowie went so far as to shoot a photo spread of her dressed up as the Black Widow with actor Ben Carruthers from The Dirty Dozen dressed as a kinky S&M version of Daredevil.

5. In 1980's Amazing Spider-man Annual #14, Spider-Man, as his secret identity Peter Parker, goes on a date at the legendary New York club CBGB's. Perhaps to return the favor, CBGB regulars the Ramones covered the theme song from the Spider-man cartoon.

6. Desperate to feed off the disco craze, Marvel tried to go multimedia with a new character called Disco Queen. Not only would Disco Queen appear in her own comic, Casablanca Records would produce an album with an artist in that persona, as well as film a movie. At one point, the character was to be based on Grace Jones, but when Bo Derek was interested in playng the part, the character became Caucasian and blonde. But then disco died and the character morphed into Dazzler, an occasional member of the X-men with the power to turn sound into light who fought evil while wearing roller skates.

7. In 1994, Marvel released an imprint called Marvel Music which had comic books featuring such legendary artists as Bob Marley, Alice Cooper, and the Rolling Stones as well as unlegendary musicians like Billy Ray Cyrus.

 

8. Ron Dante who sang as another comic book character with the Archies made his Marvel with The Webspinners in the 1972 rock musical LP Spider-man: From Beyond the Grave which mixed Spidey fighting the Green Gobln, Kingpin, and the Lizard with catchy bubble gum pop.

9. In spite of Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" appearing at the end of the 2008 movie by the same name, the song has nothing to do with the comic book character. The same can not be said of his enemies in Paul Mcartney & The Wings 1975 song "Magneto and Titanium Man." The song also name checks Iron Man villain, the Crimson Dynamo, alas no mention of ol' Shellhead.

10. Though DC Comics can boast a character in Constantine based on a famous 1980s singer Sting, Marvel has Longshot, an obscure 1980s character whose super power was amazing luck. His look was based on an equally obscure musician. According to creator Art Adams, the X-man's haircut was inspired by British pop singer Limahl from the pop group Kajagoogoo, most famous for singing the theme song of The NeverEnding Story.

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