One of my favorite components of comics is the "day job"; I mean, superheroes can't spend all their time in tights, right? We have journalists, policemen, millionaire playboys and many other professions, including those who like to tune a guitar and jump on stage. This article highlights five characters who love to perform, and a little bit of history for those who might not be familiar.
I wonder how these characters might manage a touring schedule and a secret identity?
Lila Cheney is a mutant with the power of long-range teleportation; she cannot travel any distance shorter than a light-year (a little under 6 trillion miles). When her powers manifested, she was taken by an alien slaver, from which she escaped using a Dyson Sphere (a colony built around a star). This sphere allowed her to tour the galaxy as an intergalactic pop star, picking up considerable skills as a thief along the way. While performing on Earth, she planned to sell the planet itself by moving it through a stargate to some prospective buyers; this plan was thwarted when a band member betrayed her, and she was convicned to give up her scoundrel ways by the New Mutants.
I enjoy the concept of Lila because for all the drama that being a mutant seems to be attached to, she seems to avoided anything that's gotten in her way. I mean, the fact that she can just jump away from any trouble is one answer to danger, but Lila just seems to be doing her own thing. I'm a fan of this, as not everyone who goes into space needs to be an inept, fish-out-of-water sterotype. Lila earns some cool points (and a place on this list) for being a rockstar and awesome musician, rolled into one.
DJ Random Fire
Random Fire is a DJ that resides in the demilitarized zone of Manhattan in Brian Wood's Vertigo series DMZ. A local kid that has spun records even before the bombs started falling, RF continues to perform in clubs despite persistent threats, like militias and airstrikes.
Random Fire's story isn't exactly robust, as he only appears in one issue, but I've wanted to write about him for a long time. His importance to the story is twofold: he represents a large part of the DMZ's effort to "stay normal" by performing, and his loyalty to the Zone saves the lives of many people in the issue he's featured in. While he can be seen as brash, naive and in search of glory, he has a good heart, which seems to be a bit rare in the DMZ.
RF spins hip-hop, and is mentioned in one of the earlier issues of DMZ by main character Matty Roth. One of Brian Wood's greatest abilities is to take passing mentions and turn them into one-shot issues that are powerful: I'm glad we got to finally meet Random Fire, and hopefully he survives the end of the war intact.
Red Rocket 7
I haven't read much Mike Allred, but one of his more mainstream works is Red Rocket 7, a seven-issue look into a rock and roll clone. Seven is the seventh clone of one of "the originals," an alien man; each of his clones ends up with a different quality pushed to their forefont, with Seven's happening to be music.
Functionally long-lived (or possibly immortal), Seven interacts with a number of rock history's greatest stars: there are pictures of him playing guitar with Jimi Hendrix, interacting with the Rat Pack and getting hair advice by Little Richard.
Embroiled within all this history is the story of a murder mystery, and an art style that definitely harkens back to old pop comics from the 50's and 60's. I find that Allred's art really fits the "rock 'n roll" motif, which makes for a pretty entertaining read. Track it down if you can find it.
Perhaps one of the X-Men's most flamboyant members, Alison Blaire's ability to change sound into light definitely benefits her occupation as a singer. Unwillingly thrust into her role as a superhero, Alison has gone through many character revisions to reflect changes in music. Some of her more memorable outfits include enough glitter (and roller skates!) to put Lady Gaga to shame.
For some reason Dazzler's always been on my list of favourite X-Men; I'm a big fan of characters who aren't exactly suited for their role, but relish in what they have and perform to the best of their ability. Alison Blaire represents what would happen if mutants existed in real life: some people, while having cool powers, would not want to give up the dreams that they've already established in life.
Now, however, Dazzler remains in San Francisco with the rest of the X-Men, and survived M-Day with her powers intact. She remains one of the most popular X-Men in the 616 Universe due to her popularity in the music world, which provokes some interesting questions: does she have to worry about sales when mutant sentiment is low? Does she sign autographs after destroying Sentinels? Does she worry about music piracy?
Scott Pilgrim (and Sex Bob-Omb)
And last we have a little bit of hometown flavor. Scott Pilgrim's got a little bit of a place in my heart because I'm from Toronto, where the series is based. A brief synopsis of the story is that in order to date a girl, Ramona Flowers, he must defeat her seven evil exes.
The story is very much an acquired taste, as Scott isn't always the best character; through numerous broken hearts, failed ideas and immature moments, Scott grows into something more. While he's not exactly perfect by the end of the story, Scott is on the road to becoming better, which is what we should all strive for.
Scott's musical career is long and varied: he has played bass for bands that reference classic video games in their names, like Sonic & Knuckles, Kid Chameleon and Sex Bob-Omb. His bands are very indie: you probably haven't heard of them. I like their role in the story because they give Scott a supporting cast (like the awesome Stephen Stills and Kim Pine) and some backup in the huge tasks he undertakes.
Of course, Sex Bob-Omb have a large part in the film Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World and the accompanying soundtrack. This is perhaps the best look we get at any of these bands' real music, so check out the video below, and enjoy the smooth indie jams. I'll be over here enjoying Alison Pill.