PoP! Top 6-Pack: Comic Book/Animated Music Groups

The PoP! Stars narrow it down to the cream of the crop in categories ranging from (but not limited to) Comics, Movies, Toys and Geek Culture in general. This is the PoP! Top 6-Pack.

Last week’s teaser trailer for the August 13th comic book movie Scott Pilgrim vs. the World reminded me of one of the best things this series has to offer: Scott’s punk rock band. Immediately I thought: “This could be a good idea to put out a 6-Pack list of the best fictional music groups in comics and/or animation.” I could’ve waited for the release of the film in less than six months or even for the publication of the sixth and last book (Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour) in July 20, but why wait so long? Hit the piano, Rowlf.

6. The Archies (Archie)

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Archie Andrews and friends have been part of the American culture and funny books scene for almost 70 years. The main series featuring Archie Comics’ biggest star only recently reached past issue #600 but the redhead teen and his pals ventured into other realms over the years, most notably television with their own animated series, The Archie Show. During its early years the main characters formed a music group that played the cheesiest late ‘60s pop tunes you could ever think of, even with The Monkees around and the surf rock genre only recently having its last breath. The Archies were not only a fictional group, but real singers were used (literally) to record the band’s songs and were released as an “actual” Archies band (of course, the real singers remained faceless with the animated characters featured on the records, in the media and whatnot). The Archies’ biggest hit (#1 in the US in ’69!) was “Sugar, Sugar.” You can’t get any sweeter and cuter than that one.

5. Faith + 1 (South Park)

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If you’ve been watching South Park for the last 14 seasons you already know Eric Cartman is the biggest bastard on Earth. That’s why we love him so much, of course. During Season 7 when he was kicked out from the band led by Kyle, Cartman formed his own Christian pop band with Butters and Token, taking love ballads and turn them into, hum… okay, let’s call them Jesus love songs. While Cartman did it all just for money and fame (what successful doesn’t, nowadays?) his contribution to the genre was phenomenal and may not be appreciated until Jesus returns to us one day and show us what love really means.

4. Jem and the Holograms (Jem and the Holograms)

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Ah, yes. The answer to the glam music era, the flashy all-girl music groups of the mid-‘80s and a merchandising franchise for girls (as opposed to the then popular GI Joe and Transformers that were “for boys”). Who could’ve guessed that boys will also be into these beautiful girls in short skirts (that is, of course, if you could ignore the lame plots)? The animated show’s main plot was about a rich music company manager that was also Jem, lead singer of the popular band. The group’s main adventures were either on stage competing other bands, some of them villainous (like the main antagonists, The Misfits – not to be confused with Danzig’s old band); or in “regular” adventures, some of them involved a sort of fantasy and mostly fitted the Holograms against the Misfits. After a few records, a decently popular show and a toy line, the franchise went into limbo about 20 years ago. There’s no word about any future reunion of the Holograms or either they’ll ever face the real Misfits – but they surely should. Meanwhile, we still have the songs.

(BTW, am I the only one who thought for years that Susana Hoffs of The Bangles used to do the singing parts for Jem?)

3. Dazzler (Ultimate X-Men)

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The Marvel Ultimate Universe as it is had barely introduced any improved version of a 616 character or aspect to this day, not really. Captain America is probably the closest, being a more brutal and vicious version of his counterpart, yet the original Steve Rogers is still a much better character. There’s one exception, though, and her name is Alison Blair. Originally Dazzler was a joint creation of Marvel and a record company, attempting to create a character/actual singer that will work both in reality and comics. The original plan fell through and eventually Dazzler/Alison was introduced in the (Uncanny) X-Men pages as a mutant performer that used her sparkly abilities to excite her crowd. Not an interesting concept per se, but surprisingly Dazzler’s short-lived solo series got its fans, even to this day. Other than that, with the death of disco so did Alison’s relevance died and she was never much of a good X-Woman.

Ultimate Dazzler, however, took that concept and made Alison Blair a punk rock wannabe artist, leader of sophomore band Dazzler. They had their fans and Alison used her powers during performances, enjoying success. Not superstars, but famous and popular enough to buy another case of Miller. While not being a huge hit, Dazzler at least took the original timely concept, a lame disco dancer/singer with the power to generate “voice-based” colorful lights, and made it cooler. My only wish is that we had some recorded songs of Dazzler. The closest real band I can think of that may sound like Dazzler is The Distillers (Brody Dalle as Alison Blair?! Hell yeah!)

2. The Be Sharps (The Simpsons)

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The Be Sharps rose to fame in the mid-’80s as a barbershop quartet, consisting of Homer, Apu, Principal Skinner and Barney (replacing original member Chief Wiggum). Banking on nostalgia, the band went from a small neighborhood team-up into a huge success. And as fast as they went up, the harder was their fall. Like the Beatles, their break-up and failure were all thanks to an Asian wacky artist, Barney’s new girlfriend. Few people remember the Be Sharps, but for a short time many years after their actual success, their story was told to Homer’s children and eventually the quartet reunited for one last performance. Look out for The Be Sharps: Rock Band in spring 2012.

1. Sex Bob-omb (Scott Pilgrim)

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The Scott Pilgrim series is all about adventure, video games and growing up. What’s more fitting for a 20-something infant like Scott than being a member of a punk/alternative rock band named after a Super Mario character, then? The band consists of Scott on bass, Stephen Stills on lead singing and guitar (former member of Scott’s band in university) and Kim Pine on drums (Scott’s high-school girlfriend and former member of his first band). Their repertoire is not very famous and band is still active mostly in local capacity, but they have a following and hopefully the upcoming summer movie based on Scott’s memoirs will propel the band into fame. Probably the movie will also give us actual recordings of Sex Bob-omb to enjoy. In the meantime, we’ll have to settle for a couple of covers.

Tomer Soiker once dated a girl named Jem, but she turned out to be a transvestite.
tsoiker@panelsonpages.com

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Comments (25)

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  1. Jason Knize says:

    I’d have replaced Faith +1 with Timmy and the Lords of the Underworld, and the utter lack of Dethklok on this list is totally not metal.

  2. TENIME_art says:

    I speak for Ska, as well as myself, when I say, “No [live action] Josie & The Pussycats?” Lol

    And, I want a Be Sharps album. Get on that, Fox. XP

  3. Heytherejeffro says:

    What about the Gorillaz? Do they not count?

  4. potatojoe says:

    Where’s Dethklok?

  5. Tomer Soiker says:

    Never cared for Dethklok.

    The Archies are enough to represent that late ’60s/early ’70s animated pop music groups. Live action Josie & co. don’t count.

    Forgot about the Gorillaz…

  6. TENIME_art says:

    Damn, how the hell could I have forgotten Gorillaz!? I just bought their new CD for cripes’ sake! #~_~#

  7. Ska says:

    NO JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS!?!?! I still sing the songs from their live action movie in the shower!!!! For a group of people that make pussy a monthly column on their site, where’s the damn love for Josie?!

    Also, I think Interstella 5555 deserves a spot. It’s Daft Punk’s Discovery album completely animated into a story about a corrupt music company. How many people have done that?! *kick*kick*kick*kick*kick*

  8. Juan/denim says:

    No love for Steeltown Rockers? I get mega nerd points for not only knowing Steeltown rockers but having the whole mini series.
    Josie should of made the list for thier cartoon version, I understand why the live version wasn’t used (great soundtrack on that btw) Caroon Josie had better songs then The Archies, plus, Cheryl Ladd singing the Melody parts.

  9. TENIME_art says:

    Second Interstella 5555.

  10. Juan/denim says:

    Kid Video was cool too

  11. Spazzy says:

    This is full of AWESOME

  12. Tomer Soiker says:

    Some people seem to ignore the title and theme of this article. Also, the Pussycats live version sucked ass.

    Not a big fan of Daft Punk but Interstella 5555 was cool. Again, slipped my mind.

  13. the ignored one says:

    Dethklok not on this list is brutal man, just brutal.

  14. Ben Gilbert says:

    Great list, though I’ll have to grant honerable mention to The Wayouts from The Flintstones.

  15. Tito Cruz/Rath99 says:

    Umm Fat Albert and the Junkyard gang!
    Groovy Goolies

    It’s a good list…you can put them all in.

  16. Tito Cruz/Rath99 says:

    The Beatles (Yellow Submarine)

    Jackson 5 ( they had a cartoon)

  17. the ignored one says:

    No I meant brutal. It shows a blackness of the soul that is just brutal man.

  18. the ignored one says:

    Just to add a couple, a Handful of Peter from Family Guy and Shoyu Weenie from Harvey Birdman.

  19. Juan/denim says:

    Jet Screamer

  20. David page says:

    The one article an honourable mentions part is really needed theres so many thats been missed. many commenters above me has mentioned a lot of them but I can add….

    sonic underground (the series might have been arse but I kind of liked the songs when I was a kid)

    Peter kays animated all star band

    and of course the one I was shocked that it wasn’t mentioned

    Alvin and the chipmunks

    good call on including the b-sharps though

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