Friday, November 28, 2008

Superheroes and their music: DC (Part 2)

Green Lantern Alan Scott: Alan’s a stern old geezer and always was. All business—he was an engineer who somehow came to own a radio station (is that right?). It’s all classical for him. Everything else is noise. I hear Ayn Rand was into Rachmaninoff…

Green Lantern Hal Jordan: I’d say Bob Seger and some Credence. Bruce Springsteen, though like Hawkman, he hates when politics and popular music mix (is it generally accepted that Hal Jordan is a card-carrying Republican?). But remember: Hal was a traveling salesman and a truck driver for a number of years. I bet you don’t spend that much time on the road without getting acquainted with country music on your AM radio.

Green Lantern John Stewart: Don’t ask me why, but I strongly feel that he digs 80s electronica, and still plays the original CDs. Kraftwerk, Gary Numan, Brian Eno, Depeche Mode—hell, Devo.

Green Lantern Kyle Rayner: Kyle just goes to Pitchfork and buys whatever they recommend off iTunes so as to seem hip. Also, he will buy pretty much any CD at a coffee shop if there’s a cute barista working the counters. This is how he ended up with three copies of Corinne Bailey Rae’s album—and then he gave them away as Christmas gifts.

Nightwing: Dick Grayson has really broad tastes, I’d imagine. Part of this goes with what I said the other day in Wally West’s entry—the notion that the Teen Titans would hang around and talk about music all day. Dick just keeps up with things better than Wally. He likes obscure artists—it’s part of that detective mentality to root out what nobody else knows about. However, I am reminded of this panel from 1997’s Flash Plus Nightwing one-shot:

Okay, Nightwing looks ridiculous with that long hair, but this was a totally sweet comic

So we know Dick Grayson listens to White Zombie. Or at least, as somebody with very broad horizons, he is trying it out. He may like bands nobody’s ever heard of, but he won’t shun the popular stuff. I suspect he is a huge Foo Fighters fan, in fact.

Robin II: Remember how I said Wally West was probably a little into the Electric Light Orchestra? Well, Wally hangs out with Dick Grayson, and Dick hangs out with Tim Drake, and they all probably hang out together sometimes. Seeing as how Tim hangs out with a lot of adult superheroes (superheroes over the age of 18, not … well, never mind), he probably gets into older music than your average teenager. Makes him seem a little more mature, I guess is what he’s thinking. Anyway, Tim got a little taste of ELO from Wally and now he has every album. The early to middle-period stuff in particular is big and grandiose; since Tim began his career as essentially a Batman fanboy, “big and grandiose” is something we know he’s into.

Batgirl I: Barbara Gordon takes strong, kind of authoritative stances on certain musicians—Fiona Apple is a tremendous songwriter, Rufus Wainwright is egregiously underrated, Alanis Morrisette is awful. She also likes bands that are kind of funny and upbeat; she shared a deep love of They Might Be Giants with Ted Kord (the late Blue Beetle), and she liked Barenaked Ladies when they were popular. She’s very focused on lyrics—you can just strum three chords over and over as long as you’ve got something insightful or interesting to say.

Batman: Bruce Wayne doesn’t listen to music on his own time. I’m not a subscriber to the dark, tortured, brooding borderline psychopath version of Batman, but I can’t even really see the well-adjusted avenger from those 70s Steve Englehart/Marshall Rodgers comics sitting around grooving on his hi-fi. Bruce is certainly cultured—that’s part of his playboy persona—and knows, even appreciates, opera and Russian composers. But recreational music is something I imagine he never really had time for. Obsessive loner or consummate professional—with either interpretation you prefer, Bruce wouldn’t have much time for it. Musical tastes are generally formulated and solidified in your youth, but Bruce Wayne committed his life to his mission (or war, if you prefer) from an early age. I guess it’s another piece in the tragedy of Batman—the music doesn’t move him.

Next week: Image superheroes! What does Spawn have on his iPod? Is Grifter into vinyl?



Well, these last two weeks' worth of posts were very interesting, and by that I mean "aggresively nerdy." I just hope somebody dug these, or else on my deathbed one day I am going to demand whatever amount of time I spent on this back.


covill123 said...

The homoerotic overtones of most DC characters can be directly correlated to badly performed Wagnerian opera by poorly paid German musicians.


(The most evil uncle-in-law)

Eric said...

It's been addressed in a couple of places that Bruce Wayne is a jazz buff. I believe in a Batman that listens to jazz.