Comic books are the new music videos. Or the old music videos, come back to the new. They’re something, anyway. Music is having a more direct effect on comic books, to the point where comic books are starting to refer to themselves in music industry terms. For example, the anthology PopGun (which is awesome, by the way, and will appeal to both old lovers of comic books and neophytes alike) bills itself as “the ultimate comics mix-tape.”
Musicians are finding a lot of success in the comic book world. Some admittedly are doing things of dubious quality (Courtney Love published a short lived series through TokyoPop which was incredibly underwhelming), but on the flipside we’re getting some really cool comics out of the music industry.
One of the most awesome things to come out of this are music/comic collaborations, wherein comic book artists and writers go back to musicians songs and adapt them into short comics. Tori Amos, for instance, has long been tangentially involved in the comic book arena (she wrote the intro for Death: The High Cost of Living) through a relationship with Neil Gaiman, the great author of the Sandman series. Amos has just published her own music/comic collaboration. Comic Book Tattoo, a massive book put out by Image Comics, is huge collection of comics based on Amos’s songs. It is so cool. Not everything in it is for everyone, but there’s at least one thing you will like.
Belle and Sebastian have done a similar thing with Put the Book Back on the Shelf. However, Put the Book Back on the Shelf just seems to be quirky for the sake of quirkiness -- indie just to be indie. I love Belle and Sebastian’s music, and when this book first came out, just the idea of it blew my mind. But since its sequel and the subsequent publication of Comic Book Tattoo, the shiny veneer of novelty has worn off. Hardcore fans will still like Belle and Sebastian's result, but bigger, more diverse anthologies like the aforementioned PopGun and Comic Book Tattoo are probably the way to go.
But for comic book nerds everywhere, our time in the spotlight is coming. We’re getting hip, my friends. Between awesome bands and Christian Bale, comic books are being drawn out of the basement and into the light. They’re claiming some of that cool that emanates around the music scene. Someday, someday soon, a sweet ass pen collection and a stack of Green Lantern issues will be as hot as a kick ass Fender Stratocaster.