Music is remarkably difficult to convey properly in a comic book, what with them being non-auditory and all. Yet time and again, fictional bands have turned up on the comic book page. Sometimes, they’re rock stars looking to turn into superheroes, like KISS. Others, they’re just there in the background. But every once in a while, there’s a band that just sticks with you – and maybe even breaks through into the real world. Here are ten of the best fictional bands in comic books:
10. Steeltown Rockers
A six issue mini-series from 1990 that only loosely referenced the Marvel Universe – which it was based in – the series was about a band dealing with the realities of trying to make it in a steel town after the mill has closed, and everyone loses their jobs. So basically, Bruce Springsteen: The Comic. Though we have no idea if the music is any good, the series is fondly remembered for dealing with human issues in a realistic way, and not just by throwing your problems into the sun.
Joss Whedon and Fabio Moon’s webcomic only very briefly dealt with music, before sending the band of Sugarshock! into space to fight aliens in a literal battle of the bands. But we can’t help but fall in love with Dandelion, the wacky, patented-Whedon heroine who anchors the band.
8. The Archies
They may have started out on the cartoon show, but come on: they wrote “Sugar, Sugar.” And they were conducted by a dog. That’s just fun, you guys.
7. Josie and the Pussycats
Possibly the most widely known fictional band on this list, the Archie spin-off actually has the opposite pedigree of The Archies: it started in the comics, then was spun off to TV. Despite being developed for an inferior medium (JK you guys), Josie has gone on to star in a terrible feature film, before making a huge comeback, booking the plum spot playing at Veronica and Archie’s wedding. Go Pussycats, go!
6. Red Rocket 7
Made up of alien rock n’roll enthusiast Red Rocket and his six clones, Red Rocket 7 is writer/artist Mike Allred’s typically trippy take on the world of music. Weaving throughout the history of rock, Allred also supplemented the original mini-series with an album and animated film.
5. Amazing Joy Buzzards
Basically, Amazing Joy Buzzards posits: what if Weezer was secretly traveling around the world to fight monsters? So you get the CIA posing as the Creative International Artists Agency, and a Mexican luchadore genie who can be summoned by yelling, “Go El Campeon Go!” It’s goofy, weird, and feels like you’re reading what pop music sounds like.
Though not even remotely a band, online comic Achewood wins a lifetime achievement award for its creation of hilariously brilliant – and inappropriate - band names: ANIMALICIOUS, Heartbeatzz, The Rapping Dog Who Loves, Naked Lady President, Sex Funeral, and The Sexual Homeboys… Just to name a few.
3. Dazzler’s Band
Dazzler is actually the name of the band, but its also the name of the mutant singer who fronts the band, in Marvel’s fusion of disco and comic books. Dazzler turns sound into light, which she can use to create a cheap and easy show while singing – or use her power to blast the bad guys. Fun fact: Marvel’s other big music star, Lila Cheney, had Dazzler as part of her band for a while, but they were actually the real life folk-rock band Cats Laughing, who have made various appearances throughout the Marvel U.
The most intense, famous, and disgustingly rich metal band of all time seamlessly made the leap from Adult Swim to comic books – bringing the same brutal sensibility from the screen to the printed page. Credit to creator Brendon Small for taking the time to write the comic as well, then – and making it gross, disgusting, and hilarious.
1. Sex Bob-Omb
Number one with a Bullet Bill is Scott Pilgrim’s band from Bryan Lee O’Malley’s series of graphic novels – recently adapted to the screen. Fans of the movie might be shocked to learn that unlike on screen, where they’re actually pretty good, Sex Bob-Omb in the comics TOTALLY SUCKS. But we love them anyway. Special note should go to the other fictional bands in the Scott Pilgrim books, like The Clash at Demonhead, and Crash and the Boys – though Sex Bob-Omb will always hold a special place in our heart (and in our T-shirt drawer).