But you know what I realized when I began researching for the column...all of the best original rock acts in comics books are highly female driven! Even the ones that didn’t make the list like Marvel’s Lila Cheney or DC’s Riot Grrrls (which featured Lucy Lane for a time)! Female artists from Aretha Franklin to The Runaways to Madonna to Beyonce have been a huge force in music for decades now...but comic books have been championing it for just as long!
Let’s crank up that list machine, Igor!
5. Sex Bob-Omb (Scott Pilgrim)
I gotta confess, I’m a bit more familiar with the Scott Pilgrim movie than the comics (I know, I’m a barbarian), but I am well aware of the appeal of my fellow Canadian Bryan Lee O’Malley’s quirky indie book that merges his love for video games and Anime with the messed up love life of a 20 something. For every writer, it’s totally a “why didn’t I think of that?!” concept.
Sex Bob-Omb (I shouldn’t have to explain the Super Mario Bros. connection to the name, but Sex Bomb was totally a Tom Jones song. Millenial readers...uhhh, look up who that is on your own, if you don’t know) was Scott’s band who seem to rock with such energy and power that they look like they are about to go super saiyan any second!
The name alone deserves all of the points and cheat codes!!! And what's funny is, that while there's two guys in the band, my favorite member of the band is definitely thier female drummer, Kim Pine (played by Alison Pill in the movie)! ONE! TWO! THREE! FOUR!
4. Black Canary
So when DC decided to revamp Black Canary with Brendan Fletcher and Annie Wu at the helm, they decided to make her the lead singer of the “Most Dangerous Band On The Planet”! The band itself is known as Black Canary with Dinah Lance using those strong chords of hers for deafening music fans instead of badguys! .....Okay, she still beats up the badguys too!
Okay, what makes this one so significant is that to promote the new comic DC decided to create a viral ad campaign, including a mock website where you can actually find out the band’s “tour dates” and even buy ACTUAL SONGS (or you can just listen to them for free). The music is actually pretty good too! I can’t help but think the song “The Man With The X-Ray Eyes” is about a certain Big Blue Boyscout.
Here’s the link to check it out yourself! This could be one of the coolest ideas to help sell some comics EVER!
3. The Mary Janes (Spider-Gwen)
Not to be outdone, Marvel turned not one but TWO of their most beloved female characters into rockstars too! This time it was two ladies that would have a lot of stories to share about one Peter Parker...that is, if they lived in another reality. Of course I’m talking about Em Jay Watson and Gwen Stacy (a.k.a. Spider-Gwen), who form the band, The Mary Janes! Glory Grant, a less popular member of Spidey’s supporting cast was also a member.
Gwen was the drummer and MJ was the lead singer, and I’m sure if they really existed, they’d be the best looking girl group of all time, right? Wowzers. Talk about getting your spider-senses tingling!
Sadly, the band broke up...but the concept was still off the chain original. And like Spider-Gwen herself, is gaining a cult following with comic fans! The Mary Janes definitely hit the jackpot, Tiger (sorry, it had to be done)!
2. Josie & The Pussycats
Yes, younger readers, that movie with Rosario Dawson and Tara Reid when you were a kid was a comic book! In the Archie Universe actually (don't worry, that movie's a guilty pleasure of mine too)! Josie & The Pussycats has been around since before I was born and gained most of their popularity from a Hannah-Barbera cartoon show they starred in, and somehow, are still going strong to this very day. In fact, a revamped, updated comic reboot is on its way later this year, and the band will appear in the new live action, Riverdale series as well!
Sure they wore skimpy leopard print bikinis and probably worried about boys more than their music careers, but it was the 60’s...where comics like that were the norm! It doesn’t make Josie, Melody and Valerie any less the comic book rock band pioneers that they are!
Without Josie & The Pussycats, we may have not gotten any of these previous bands on the list, and maybe even not the top entry....which is the only SOLO act on the list!
1. Dazzler (X-Men)
Of course! It’s not a list on comic rockstars without her. Alison Blaire, known as Dazzler to music fans and supervillains alike, has had a torrent life both on the comic page...and in reality!!
Starting out as a disco queen back in the 70’s, believe it or not...Dazzler was meant to be the first virtual music act like The Gorillaz. There was a deal made with Casablanca Records to cross-promote with comics AND AN ACTUAL SINGER portraying Dazzler in which the studio would provide! How weird would that be!?
Marvel wanted Dazzler to be involved with one of their major titles. They decided to go with the X-Men and make her a mutant, with the story of her using her abilities to become a huge star. Sadly, Casablanca had other plans for the character (one being her having the power to make others tell the truth instead of pyrokinetic powers), and so, due to creative differences, the whole real life Dazzler thing fell apart. What a shame. Imagine a world where Dazzler would be just as big of a star as Cher or Madonna?!
By the time Marvel got the ball rolling in 1980 and had complete control over her, Disco was well...dead! So they came up with an idea for a story where her career came crashing apart because of the world discovering her as a mutant, and the amazing lights and pyro at her shows were coming from her! Why was that a problem? Most of us have a hard time figuring out bigots. They just hate people for dumb reasons.
Over the years Dazzler’s looks changed almost every time we saw her, but most people remember what she looked like at the time she was a full-fledged X-Man in the late 80’s, with the short hair, Rambo bandana and tight blue jumpsuit. She appeared in a few cartoons and video games like that.
Most recently Dazzler took a much darker, tougher look after discovering Mystique was assuming her identity for months. She cut her hair short and styled it into a jet black mohawk on top, leaving the sides blonde, and wore a tattered, shredded and revealing punk rock style outfit. It reminded me a lot of when Storm’s attitude changed and her look went all punk rock with it. Seems to happen to these X-ladies!
No matter what she looks like, Dazzler has always been the “Madonna” of comic books in my eyes, and her powers to turn sound into different forms of light is a lot cooler and creative than it sounds. Writers over the years have found a lot of cool ways to use her powers. My favorite?! Why, finger lasers of course! It takes a man with a great taste in superpowers to appreciate a good finger laser!
Oh, and I almost forgot! Someone actually made an AMAZING fan-made music video a few years back that retro and amazing...and the song is amazing...and there’s a guest star featuring one of my all-time favorite X-Men!!! And you guessed it...finger lasers. HERE IT IS!
And yes, I’m sorry that song is now stuck in your head forever. But what the heck...I’ll add to it! The same studio did an AWESOME homage to one of my favorite single issue comics of all time, New Mutants Annual #1, the first appearance of Lila Cheney! Trust me, THIS one is worth the view. It’s so good I NEEDED to add it to the column even though Lila didn’t make the list. I geeked out all over this thing. It’s a perfect way to cap off this column which celebrated fictional comic book rockers, and really turned into a celebration of FEMALE comic book rock stars! Enjoy!
Rock out and Bleed out!