Marvel has honoured some of music’s biggest rock bands by adapting their famous album covers into comic book covers.
The four covers to be adapted are Guns N’ Roses Appetite For Destruction for The Inhumans, Nirvana’s Nevermind for Rocket Raccoon of Guardians of the Galaxy, The Clash’s London’s Calling for Thor, and Blondie’s Parallel Lines for X-Men Blue and X-Men Gold.
Marvel has done this before in 2015 when they adapted the covers of 50 artists including Drake, Jay Z, Beyoncé and Frank Ocean. This year the covers will be more limited with the press release via Movie Web stating: “[as] a truly unique and limited collection, only five covers will be released, each paying tribute to a classic rock band that defined and expanded the music form.”
The comic book form has proven to be popular with a range of bands. The four-piece band Charly Bliss released a comic to coincide with their debut album Guppy. The comic also included a flexi-disc with two unreleased tracks from the Guppy sessions. Like the Marvel covers, the comic is having a limited release with only 500 worldwide being made available to fans.
Using a comic or book to add context to an album and offer fans a new form of content is a growing trend. Canadian singer Lights and former member of The Maccabees, Orlando Weeks have both released books with their latest albums.
Lights released a comic to increase interest in her latest album Skin & Earth. A new issue has come out each month during the build-up to the album’s release date this September. The first pages of Skin & Earth were made available online. Orlando Weeks wrote and illustrated a book called The Gritterman to be released alongside the album of the same name. In an interview with NME, Weeks said that he got the idea for creating a book while he was composing a song about a seasonal hero. “I started building a backstory and thinking about what he looked like. I guess that was the beginning of it.”
Expanding a band’s brand outside of the music industry has become a key part of generating interest and revenue. Fans now expect to interact with their favourite bands through multiple mediums. Guns N’ Roses, for instance, have tapped into two modes of the gaming industry to promote their band and expand their fan base. The first example was when the band allowed the gaming franchise Guitar Hero to use two of their iconic songs (‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ –Guitar Hero II and ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ – Guitar Hero III). As the game was popular amongst players of all ages, many new fans were exposed to their music. As the popularity of online gaming has increased in recent years the band also took advantage of this and collaborated with online entertainment outlet Slingo for their Guns N’ Roses Video Slots game. Like the Marvel comic covers, the game uses instantly recognisable symbols associated with the band. One advantage of the game is that it attracts fans of online gaming, in the same way, that the comic book covers appeal to comic fans, who may not have heard of the band.
The combination of mediums is an exciting prospect for music fans. As the trend continues there will surely be more exciting merging of mediums in the future.