Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Song for Nico: Marvel's Runaways gets a theme tune

I like Runaways, but Nico doesn't exactly look Asian. It's a common problem with Marvel's heroines of color. Storm is apparently a member of the only tribe in Kenya that's blue-eyed and stringy-haired.

In a post about songs I would have chosen for the Watchmen movie if I were its music supervisor, I mentioned a comic book that came with its own original soundtrack: the Devil's Due series Spooks, a Ryan Schifrin/Larry Hama collabo that spawned a score album co-composed by Schifrin's father, legendary Enter the Dragon and Mission: Impossible composer Lalo Schifrin.

Witchblade is another comic with a soundtrack. Megadeth and Cibo Matto's Miho Hatori were among the artists who contributed original songs that readers could rock out to while following the adventures of their favorite scantily clad NYPD detective-turned-warrior woman.

Spooks and Witchblade are comics I've never read, so I was kind of excited to learn a comic I do read is joining the list of comics with original theme songs: Runaways (no, not The Mark Sanford and Maria Story, but the witty Marvel teenage superhero series created by one of my favorite comic scriptwriters, Brian K. Vaughan, and featuring an Asian American Goth chick, Nico, as the team leader).

Runaways editor Nick Lowe--not to be confused with Nick Lowe of "Cruel to Be Kind" and "I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass" fame--has written and recorded theme music for his own series. This isn't the first time Lowe and his brother Matt, a member of the Down Lowe, created a theme for a comic Lowe edited. The brothers also recorded a theme for Nextwave.

MTV's Splash Page debuted a music video of Lowe's Runaways theme, which can be downloaded in mp3 form from Marvel's site, and interviewed Lowe about his recording:

How does the Runaways theme fare? It's alright--it breaks down the comic's premise in a tuneful way that makes me miss old-school TV themes like the ones that opened the '60s Spider-Man cartoon, The Greatest American Hero, Jack of All Trades and The Knights of Prosperity--but it's not exactly the theme I had in mind while reading Runaways.

The theme I would have gone with is "I Love Playin' with Fire" by... the Runaways.

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