Art Brut frontman Eddie Argos, who has been a comic book fan since the age of 7, recently contacted his favorite comic book artists to ask if they would do a graphic representation of one of the songs from Art Brut’s latest album, Brilliant! Tragic!, for a collection. Each comic—one for every song on the album—will be a part of a Brilliant! Tragic! comic book. “I thought one or two of them would say yes,” Argos told CMJ while paging through one of the only hard copies of the comic book. “They all said yes. It’s amazing.”
Argos’ enthusiasm for bringing together two of his greatest joys in life doesn’t end with the Brilliant! Tragic! collection. He has written a number of songs about his favorite superheroes for his Spoiler Alert! side project and a song called “DC Comics And Chocolate Milkshakes” for Art Brut. Furthermore, Argos told CMJ he would write a musical himself about one of his most beloved heroes for the modest sum of $500,000—a fraction of what producers have already spent getting Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark up and running on Broadway. In light of the disaster-prone and much-delayed re-debut of the Spider-Man musical, CMJ met with Argos to mine his expertise for a few tips on how best to combine comic books and musicals on one stage.
1. Go For The Gold
Argos’ first suggestion for a comic book musical is to look to DC Justice League superhero Booster Gold instead of Spider-Man. While he said “anything could be a musical,” Argos explained that Gold has all the most important elements for a successful crossover: an awesome gold costume, a vivid and boisterous personality, a certain level of camp and, as a member of the Justice League, lots of other characters to interact with. “He’s a moron, basically, but his heart’s right,” Argos explained of his dark-horse leading man. “[Booster Gold] would be good as a musical because you’d see this guy being an idiot and you’d get to interact with all the other characters.”
2. Consider Different Forms Of Musical Theater
As a fan of the Batman films and comic series, Argos turned next to Batman as a candidate for a successful fusion of comic books with musical theater. “It would be a bit dark—maybe an opera,” Argos mused. “That’s it, an operetta. A Batman operetta would be pretty good.” Batman, with his tragic origin story and often violent or risqué exploits, isn’t the only hero whose story lends itself better to an opera than a musical. “All the characters would be better as an opera, I’d say, than a musical,” Argos decided. Why not throw them all together for the ultimate comic book/musical theater mashup?
3. Explore The Whole Universe
As a final proposition, Argos pitched a writing piece that incorporates “the whole DC universe” rather than limiting the opera to one character. Argos describes each character as a gateway to the stories and lives of each Justice League member, so he sees no reason to tear them apart. For Argos, Booster Gold was a “starting point” that “exposed [him] to the DC universe, to all these other superheroes.” Instead of picking one character with one origin story, one entertaining personality and one flashy costume, Argos suggests putting them all together for one monumental, action-packed musical theater experience. Biff! Bam! Pow!