Today is the kickoff of New York’s Comic Con. While the San Diego incarnation of the convention is the largest, New York is gaining on it. While comic cons are about as old as heavy metal (San Diego’s started in 1970), they’ve grown from their humble origins encompassing just comic books to a place where film, TV series and video games are also showcased with upwards of 150,000 people attending the NYC and San Diego’s fests, usually in some form of cosplay. With that in mind, we thought we’d take some of the more notable songs (and albums) metal band have written about heroes.
5) Iced Earth – The Dark Saga
When you think of Iced Earth, you think of this epic power metal band with stories about horror, fantasy and mythology accompanied by equally stellar music to match the tone. That’s why is no surprise that, over the course of their career, they’ve actually written some songs about comic book characters, but at no time more than 1996, when they went full-throttle with the release of their fourth record The Dark Saga.
The Dark Saga is a concept album based on Todd McFarlane’s character Spawn. Guitarist Jon Shaffer was a huge fan of the comic and decided to contact Todd McFarlane’s director of promotion to request permission to feature Spawn on the album’s artwork and possibly writing music for the upcoming Spawn film adaptation and animated series. Shaffer was able to meet McFarlane himself and decided to write the entire album based on the character, which after some hesitation from McFarlane, he eventually approved.
The album is not considered to be as good as the rest of Iced Earth’s catalog, but if you read about Spawn in the past, this definitely puts it up as one of the most badass concepts for a record, and a reboot of the film could bring this album back into the spotlight
4) Voivod – Batman
There’s several bands that focus on topics of space, science and other nerdy stuff, but one of the most notorious geeky bands are Canadian thrash legends Voivod. Aside from writing about philosophy and other intelligent stuff, Voivod are also fans the classic comics and pay homage to the caped crusader Batman on their 1988 album Dimension Hatröss.
The song is a cover of Neil Hefty’s original theme version of the 1960’s TV show Batman with Adam West and only lasts a little less than 2 minutes. The track was removed from the original vinyl and cassette pressings and can only be found in the CD version of it. Definitely a funny jab for the record containing the ever-intricate track “Psychic Vacuum.”
3) Anthrax – I Am The Law
Anthrax’s iconic anthem “I Am The Law” is one of the nerdiest tracks ever, with its blatant inspiration from Judge Dredd. The track first appeared in their third album Among The Living the band’s breakthrough album. Inspired by the comic book character’s catchphrase, “I Am The Law” describes the mindset and mentality of Dredd when it comes to imposing his brand of vengeance and was written by founding member Danny Lilker, even though he had left the band three years before its release.
The single version of the song actually features Judge Dredd standing in front of a flag and Anthrax’s logo. That’s why the song is arguably the most symbolic track in the band’s catalog.
2) Manowar – Thor (The Powerhead)
Comic books are usually epic and mighty with fantastic characters dressed up in costumes made for battle. So is Manowar. Considering the blanket language used on every single lyric they ever wrote, Manowar is the perfect band to talk about Thor and his greatness.
Now, you can argue that maybe the heroes covered in leather and equally gracious hair were actually talking about the God of Thunder in context of its mythological persona instead of the guy who got punched by Hulk, but it’s a valid redundancy as Marvel’s character is an extension of the Norse god. Whatever the case may be, the song feature in their 1984 Sign of the Hammer record is a great rendition that will remind young generations about the blonde guy of the Avengers and maybe peak their interest in the actual Nordic mythology.
1) Black Sabbath – Iron Man
If you’re both a comic book fan and an old-school metal fan, you’re probably aware that the classic track by the British legends, Black Sabbath, has nothing to do with the playboy millionaire Tony Stark. However, due to the obvious connection they have with each other, the relation between both has grown through the past few decades and now the 1970 song is Tony Stark’s favorite jam.
In addition to that, the song has been licensed to be used in the recent Marvel Universe films with a tribute to the godfathers of heavy metal in the 2012 film The Avengers which shows Stark wearing a shirt by the band. But to be fully honest, who doesn’t think of the genius metal suited character when talking about “Iron Man”? Exactly.