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Thursday, July 14, 2005

I caught The Fantastic Four last night and I must say, the similarities to a Fab Four movie are uncanny.

First off the bat...we've got four specially talented individuals who suddenly come to fame due to their powers of inducing massive public spectacles. They become heroes in the press and followed by millions not just as superheroes, but figures of public intrigue. Johnny Storm (The Human Torch) / John Lennon as the show-offy leader...Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) / Paul McCartney as the wholesome, intelligent one...Ben Grimm (The Thing) / Ringo Star as the less photogenic outsider of the group...and Sue Storm (The Invisible Woman) / George Harrison as the quiet one who can go invisible when angered. It felt like watching some alternate reality of The Beatles Anthology, with Viktor Von Doom as the jealoius Phil Spector, the mad, rich genuis who can send massive amounts of electricity (the infamous and often destructive Wall of Sound) from place to place wih his fingers. Spector's toupee is Von Doom's mask, hiding his loss of youth and giving him a more imposing look.

The Fantastic Four convert the narrow minded, to accept and even love of mutantism. The Fab Four similarly brought rock n' roll beyond youth culture and made it something parents or grandparents could at least try to understand. "Ah, yes, I'm not one much for rock n' roll, but those Beatles are nice fellas and sing some lovely songs." I wonder if perhaps these comic book heroes do the something similar (not in real life, but within the narratives of their stories). Comic book characters, from the shallowest heros to the most reprehensible villains, have always taken on some outsider characteristic through which they gain power and repsect. So have famous musicians. Bowie was a freak, Lou Reed an art fag, Madonna a sexual futurist, hell, even The Beatles were poor blues rebels. Yet all of these artists rose to a certain acceptance from skeptics and even hostiles as talented performers with large followings who enrapture devotees because of their larger-than-life personas.

So do other stars fit into the plots of other super hero stories? The Talking Heads, for instance...could they be the The X-Men? With Eno as Professor X producing their albums from inside his brain? Is Prince then Batman, a wealthy recluse who retreats to dark places and plays with gadget in dark costumes?

Since there's very little of anything relevant in the above post, I'm not convinced of it…so for those of you who've had enough of the over-the-top academia, here's a Summer Superhero Soundtrack for you, courtesy of ESB:

PRINCE – Batdance
* Most people remember this, I'm sure, if they watched television or listened to the radio in 1990, but for those too young, it was Prince's surreal funk odyssey into the world of the caped crusader. It's like a Stooges song from the future!

TENACIOUS D – Spiderman (Live)
* Jack Black's absurd improv on the latest Spiderman films. Absolutely fab0-lus.

* I had no idea!

DAVID BOWIE – The Secret Life of Arabia
* The closing song on the Heroes album. This one's got Eno's brain mixer written all over it.

DANNY ELFMAN – Batman Finale
* The Joker's lying in a heap on a Gotham street and Batman's about to get it on with Vicky Vale…and the Bat Signal goes up for the first time! What do we get from the soundtrack? A Nazi Symphony, and all of a sudden the film becomes a Riefenstahl.

HANS ZIMMER – Corynorhinus
* A piece from the new flick. Very emotional, if you cry bat tears.

DJ CLUE ft. Cam'ron, Canibus and Noreaga – Fantastic Four
* Ok, I hate hip hop for the most part, but this track is seeeerieoussss.
"My muthafuckin brain is IBM compatible!" Ohhhhhhhhhh!

THE CURE – Lullabye
* Spoida mon is hoving me fo dinnoh tonight.

DAVID CROSS – Spierman vs. Superman vs. Wonder Woman on the Rag
* This doesn't have much to do with the superheroes, but it's fuckin' funny.

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Fluxblog also has a few things to say about Fantastic Four, and even offers us a vintage radio drama about the wily scientists-cum-freak-heroes, narrated by Stan Lee.


Blogger M. Hunter said...

I dunno the fantastic four all that well, but I'm willing to bet that the similarities to the fab four have something to do with an archetype that's been around for ages.

(disclaimer: this may ruin the way you look at the brilliance in bands, stories, movies, plays, shows, etc)

The archetypes are: the patriarch, the matriarch, the craftsman, and the clown.

You'll see it everywhere, but it is especially vivid in The Beatles.

John - the patriarch
Paul - the matriarch
George - the craftsman
Ringo - the clown

Again, I dunno the fantastic four very well, but I'm willing to bet that you can easily put them into the same categories.

9:52 PM  
Blogger Guy Stevos said...

i was totally unaware of anything about the fantastic four until i saw this movie...well, i guess i knew one of the dudes could do the whole stretch armstrong thing. but yeah, i agree with you that archetypes are often what make stories similar to one another.

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