The Ten Best Musician/Comic Artist Friendships

Grant Morrison in the video for My Chemical Romance's "Sing"

Grant Morrison is a U.K. comic book writer known for known for highly singular--or insane, if you prefer, in a good way--takes on established mainstream properties like X-Men and Doom Patrol as well as his own, peyotesque original series like The Invisibles and Seaguy. He is also a friend and mentor to My Chemical Romance lead singer Gerard Way, and even adroitly played the part of "menacing bald guy in a rock video" for their "Sing" and "Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)" clips.

Their relationship is an example of a long-running but increasingly public trend. Comic books and rock/rap music have always had a close relationship. Both were tagged as mind-rotting, juvenile trash for much of their early existence, and over the years we've seen everything from KISS getting their own Marvel comic (printed in their own blood, they would have you believe) to Rivers Cuomo singing about his favorite X-Men members.

With the rise in cultural prominence and respect for funny-book creators, liking comic books--or graphic novels, if you're fancy--is no longer an activity that will blow your cultural cachet or get your lunch money stolen, and many musicians have quit being shy about waving their fanboy/fangirl flags. In honor of our recent Comics Issue, we present the ten best musician and graphic novel-type friendships. We even reached out to some of our favorite artists about their collaborations.

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Shows This Weekend: TV on the Radio in Central Park, Hangover-Obliterating Techno, and Alcoholic-Chef Competitions

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Noted Björk collaborators the Dirty Projectors join 2008 Pazz & Jop winners TV on the Radio in Central Park Friday night to benefit this year's free Central Park SummerStage slate.

Beware of projectile vomiting
at Webster Hall; Chromeo's Dave 1 is DJing tonight.

Trumpet virtuoso Ralph Alessi plays a pair of intimate, confoundingly affordable sets at the Cornelia Street Café.

Last call for shambolic pranksters Art Brut's Mercury Lounge residency.


Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble perform at Lincoln Center. There's a sliver of a chance that stand-bys will be admitted.

Nasty lyrics, nasty beats-- Electro trio Menya play the Cake Shop.


There's only way to get rid of that hangover: techno. On the beach, or on the roof.

Rock 'n' roll cornerstone Little Richard returns to B.B. King's.

Representatives from the Food Network, Brooklyn Brewery and Crif Dogs descend on the Bell House for the Brooklyn Beer Experiment, a competition for amateur brewers and alcoholic chefs.

Live: Art Brut's Second Night at the Mercury Lounge

It's been four years since Art Brut released its debut album Bang Bang Rock & Roll, and frontman Eddie Argos's persona remains a perfect blend of irony and disarming sincerity. "I'm not shambolic," he said on Tuesday night between songs, before correcting himself: "Oh, okay, okay, I'm shambolic." (No one had asked whether he was or was not shambolic.) Then Argos abruptly dropped the thought to describe his gleeful visit to DC Comics that afternoon, and Art Brut launched into "DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshakes," a simple and sweetly nostalgic track from Art Brut Vs. Satan.

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Tonight They're Gonna Rock You Tonight: Art Brut, Lykke Li, and of Course, Dave Matthews

We'll think of a better name for this soon: Until then, here's Monday night's finest NYC shows.

Holding tickets to the sold-out Dave Matthews gig at the Beacon this evening? Well, here's the most responsible financial advice you've gotten all year: SELL SELL SELL. Watch the thing on Hulu instead, and you'll make enough of a profit for round-trip fare to Johannesburg.

Ohio teen Jessica Lea Mayfield, who spent her childhood singing for the family bluegrass band, plunges Bowery Ballroom into Rust Belt lethargy. Her glimmering songwriting has turned all sorts of heads, including that of Black Keys guitarist/producer Dan Auerbach.

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Live: Art Brut/White Rabbits at Highline Ballroom, 07.09.07

Categories: Art Brut

Minor problem: camera ran out of batteries when Argos let his fat flag fly. Photo by Cami D

Art Brut/White Rabbits
Highline Ballroom
July 9, 2007

By David Marchese

About halfway into last night's set, Eddie Argos unbuttoned his shirt and let his fat flag fly. Jelly bellies have a certain appeal in their own right, but the best thing about Argos' skinshow was its matter-of-factness. On a hellishly hot night, when being onstage probably felt like being stuck inside a piece of spanakopita, there was no Les Savy Fav sense of confrontation about Argos' gelatinous display, no Craig Finn intimations of normalcy. In a way, the act laid bare some of the secret to Mr. A's onstage awesomeness: what you see is what you get. For all the insecurity of his songs' lyrics, our man Eddie has the charisma and confidence of a born performer.

A born wiseacre too. Argos' ability to imbue Art Brut's songs of excruciating geekiness with something approaching riotous glee is what gets the band over live. On record, particularly on the new, "It's a Bit Complicated," Art Brut are a tight little machine, all spiky riffs, straight-ahead drumming and bratty unsung vocals. Last night though, the band's edges were blurred, with too many songs mashing together into a barren chord haze. When the two guitars/bass/drums momentarily wrestled attention away from Argos with honest-to-goodness hooks—e.g. the ones on "Emily Kane" or "Post Soothing Out"—it only underlined how important the impressively eyebrow'd frontman is the rest of the time, when the hooks aren’t catching. With his unabashedly awkward physicality—he didn't stagedive so much as stagefall—and gifted with a comic's timing, Argos was capable of holding the crowd in sway despite some seriously dodgy music. Simply put, Art Brut's songs need Argos a lot more than he needs them.

Opening act White Rabbits gave off almost the exact opposite vibe as Art Brut—boring show, good music. On the basis of a half-hearted listen to "Fort Nightly," I'd written the Blanc Bunnies off as a Specials-gone-prog curio. Yesterday though, the trebly, rhythm-heavy and vaguely Caribbean honky pop the band bounced off the walls worked as music in ways Art Brut's remedial riffing didn't. Bonus points too for the sub-Waits fedora and ratty sport coat combo worn by the vox/keybs player. The bit of Depression-era flair brought some much needed grit to the venue's vapid prettiness. (The Highline Ballroom is the Sienna Miller of rock clubs. Discuss.)

But a rakishly tilted chapeau could hardly compare to Art Brut's blubber. Compete with a man sporting a medium-sized muffintop who stalks the stage whinging charmingly about his sexual dysfunction and you will always lose. Unfortunately, the same rule applies to backing bands. Art Brut? Try Eddie and the Argonauts.

Art Brut Live at Studio B, 04.19.07
An Art Brut interview