Tori Amos, big comic book geek. Before she was famous, she wrote songs inspired by comics -- especially the "Sandman" series by Neil Gaiman, who she later became friends with and who incorporated her lyrics into his work. So it should come as no surprise that other writers and artists might want to do the same thing with her songs -- and that they came up with enough to fill a whole book. A really heavy coffee-table book, at that.
It's called "Comic Book Tattoo," and while it's already in comic book stores, it hits the regular book world this Tuesday. The title is a reference to a song she wrote called "Flying Dutchman" (in which she sings, "They say your brain is a comic book tattoo") to comfort her comic book artist friend (and the book's editor) Rantz Hoseley back when he and she were starving artists.
"Rantz was actually the person who introduced me to Neil [Gaiman]," Amos said. "And he e-mailed me last year, 'Hey, Tor, I got this idea,' and that was the beginning of this concept."
Some 90-odd writers and artists -- including frequent Gaiman collaborator Mark Buckingham, Pia Guerra ("Y: The Last Man"), David Mack ("Daredevil") and Alan Moore's daughter Leah Moore -- figured out which songs they wanted to adapt into stories and how. "There were some that were painful to read through," Amos said, "and some that shocked me."
One song-to-story adaptation even shocked Amos' 7-year-old daughter when she stumbled across it on her mother's computer. For "Teenage Hustling," C.B. Cebulski came up with a wordless story about a girl who goes to a boy’s house -- they have sex, and she leaves immediately afterwards, to his dismay. So he does the same thing: goes to another girl's house, has sex with her and leaves her immediately afterwards. The story ends when she then goes to the house of the girl at the beginning of the story, to repeat the cycle.
"The song didn't end like that for me, but it did for someone else," Amos said.
"So my daughter said, 'Mommy, why are these girls kissing?' And I said, 'Because it's a choice, and some people do that.' Not all 7-year-olds should read all the stories in the book."
Now, thanks to "Comic Book Tattoo," Amos has even more ideas for new songs. "One form of creation, regardless of how it's formed, can inspire another," Hoseley said. "She's now writing music that's energized off the comics we created, that were energized from her songs, that came from comics in the first place!"
Do you want to see Tori's songs as comics? Are there any other musicians who have the kind of songs that could stand up to adaptation? Who would you want to see adapted?