In a sea of high-profile superhero comics, it can be easy to miss the diamonds lying in the rough. One of these hidden gems is Ian McGinty’s Welcome to Showside, a creator-owned all-ages comic published by Z2 Comics about a kid named Kit with a terrible secret: his dad just so happens to be the Great Shadow King and wants his progeny to take over the family business of trying to destroy to world. Alongside his best friends Belle, who hails from a long line of Southern demon hunters, and Moon, a sorceress-in-training, Kit decides to stand up to his pernicious pops, as well as the demonic hordes his dad commands. See? It’s probably just like the relationship you have with your father!
Many of you likely already know McGinty’s work from his work as an artist on the Adventure Time comic and Bravest Warriors, but Welcome to Showside represents a new dimension of story The series gained even wider-spread acclaim thanks to an animated short starring the likes of Henry Rollins, Amanda Kaufman, and McGinty himself. Z2 Comics released a trade paperback collecting Welcome to Showside on June 15, which collects the all-ages comic in a 176-page tome. The collection also features contributions from Kate Leth, Caitlin Rose Boyle, Maddi Gonzalez, Carolyn Nowak Carey Pietsch, and Joey Weiser.
Take a listen to the exclusive playlist McGinty assembled for us below, then read through his commentary on the importance of each track:
“Black Out Fall Out” by POLYSICS
Yes, I started this playlist with a band I love that isn’t in English so I have no clue what they’re
talking about, but the demo version has a music video about talking hamburgers so it seemed
like no-brainer to include this amazing song on the Welcome to Showside Playlist. POLYSICS
are a band I discovered in college and got really obsessed with for their musical chops and
extremely funky/complex song structures. “Black Out Fall Out” is kinda like POLYSICS-Lite; it’s a basic track but I just really love how upbeat and fun it is, and that’s something I tried to apply to Welcome to Showside even when monsters and demons were threatening Kit and his friends. (The demo version of this is better, in my opinion, but this one is really good, too).
“Head Over Heels” by Tears For Fears
Remember Donnie Darko? It opens with this song. Apparently it was supposed to open with
INXS, but I’ve heard both versions and this is way, way better. The movie starts with this long,
uncut pan of a high school showing all the weird stuff we did as kids, or do as kids, and it’s really bizarre to see out of context. Also, Seth Rogen is in it. I’ve always viewed this song as a way I would open Welcome to Showside if it was a live action movie. If you know me personally and, hey, most of you probably don’t (we can fix that), you know I’m absolutely obsessed with ’80s music, and this (to me) is the jewel in the crown. I love Tears for Fears and this song was a big part of tracking development of the comic and the animation, it just speaks to me.
“Genesis” by Grimes
Okay, so. When we were developing the animated short for Welcome to Showside, one of the
producers and second partner in Z2 Comics, Sridhar Reddy, introduced me to Grimes’ music.
We were actually trying to get her to voice a character, specifically Moon, but she couldn’t break away from the amazing music she was producing for a new album. Since then, I’ve been really into her stuff, especially this song that I heard on a car commercial once and got stuck in my head and 2 years later finally matched it together. That happens to me a lot. I’m from Annapolis, Maryland and there is a car selling company there called Eastern Motors and they have this song called “Eastern Motors”, it goes like this:
“AT EASTERN MOTORS, YOUR JOB’S YOUR CREDIT (2x), FORD. HONDA. CHEVY. BEAMERS. AND MINI-VANS, OVER 600 CARS, TRUCKS, SUVS, ARE YOU LISTENING, MAN?”
My point here is the song is great and I get stuff stuck in my head and it never, ever leaves. This one was with me for months. Grimes is Moon’s favorite music.
“Underground” by David Bowie (from the OST for Labyrinth)
I’ll be the first to admit, I just really started listening to Bowie. He was just never on my radar
EXCEPT for playing one of the most fascinating characters I’ve ever seen in film, Jareth the
Goblin King in Labyrinth. (Labyrinth is better than The Dark Crystal, by the way. Fight me).
Anyways, this song from the film played over the end credits and it’s long, and really strange
and catchy, and it has this weight to it. Basically, it’s about the Goblin King wanted to get out of
his kingdom into our world, and that was pretty much how I structured the Shadow King. Yes, he is the ruler of his realm, but his realm is lame and he’s bored with it. The outside world is more appealing and offers new curiosities, and new people, and this track really resonated with that for me.
“Sabotage” by Beastie Boys
Yes, Beastie Boys are my favorite band ever. Arguably, I think there are better BBoys tracks out there, but this is the one we all know and this is the one that has the best video, (though we could probably counter with “Intergalactic”). This is also the ultimate “fight” song, or battle song, to me. If Star Trek wants to use it to the point of obnoxiousness, hey, that’s their prerogative, but the song is really excellent and got me pumped up to draw action scenes and inspired the “worm baby” fight in the animation. Trust me, if I could have put this song in that, I would have without hesitation. Please call me, guys, I have so many questions and nice things to say.
“Walk on the Ocean” by Toad the Wet Sprocket
My dad likes these guys a lot, and so do I. This was the song I had in my head when actually developing the town of Showside, sort of a seaside community, not really like touristy or whatever, but sort of Martha’s Vineyard before Jaws, so basically Amity Island before Jaws (the shark, whose name was actually Bruce but I digress). This song is beautiful and sounds so sad, but also defiant, and that’s an important part of Welcome to Showside, as well. This one also brought up some strong feelings about Kit’s mother, and his best friends. Listen to the last line of the song and you’ll see what I mean.
“Basket Case” by Green Day
If there was going to be an album Kit would be really obsessed with, it would be Dookie by Green Day (just like I was). These guys were gods to me, and this song especially spoke to me of being a “punk”, but I was and am a suburban dude who has never actually been in a fight or done anything really radical and will never really get what being “punk” is about. I like Pokemon and sashimi and cartoons. Is that punk? Maybe? I don’t know is my point. Anywho. Yeah, Green Day is great and it’s so weird that they were huge in ’94 and then kinda died down a bit, though Nimrod is vastly underrated, and now they are back and hip again, sort of, it’s all very strange to me. “Basket Case” is definitely always on the top of Kit’s playlist he made on a cassette tape and plays through a WalkMan.
“The Goonies ‘R Good Enough” by Cyndi Lauper
Full disclosure, I have had a massive crush on Cyndi Lauper for a very long time. I don’t really know what I would do if I actually met her, probably run away in a panic, actually. I picked this song because, sure, The Goonies, good movie, but this song is all about friendship and sticking together and saying, “hey, whatever, man, let’s just do this together and get it done”. That’s a big part of Welcome to Showside. Also, this song has a spooky undertones to it and spooky is cool.
“Ape Dos Mil” by Glassjaw
This is a weird one. I love Glassjaw, they are probably my favorite hardcore/rock band and have some of the strangest vocal progressions I’ve ever heard. Glassjaw is Belle’s favorite band, too. She likes the heavy stuff, for sure. I have no clue what this song is about but I like to imagine Belle listening to this with headphones on, blocking out her dumb dad, maybe checking ‘em out live with Toulouse. I like the idea of her introducing him to cool bands. I don’t have a ton to say about this song except it’s really weird and fun.—
“Hey Jealousy” by Gin Blossoms
This is the song I always imagine playing if I did a montage of the kids running around and getting into mischief. I would have Carolyn Nowak draw it. I don’t know why, it just seems right. I love this song and it’s always stuck in my head when we’re doing a road trip or something. I’m sure it’s in a bunch of movies from the mid-90’s but I think it holds up. The ending is kinda bad, though.
“Boy From School” by Hot Chip
This one is just cool, and kinda sad. I think of it like Kit’s realization he’s different from his friends, unsure of his past and future. It’s kind of about his relationship with Moon and Belle, and everyone else in town. Unlike the previous song, it has one of the coolest endings ever, and the vocal techniques here are very basic but very natural. I like the “techy” beats here, I’ve always thought Welcome to Showside could be just a techno song, why not? This song also makes me think of the Shadow King before he BECAME the Shadow King, when he was still good and in love with Olive. He “gets lost” just like in the song.
“Into Your Veins” by Five Iron Frenzy
I love Five Iron Frenzy, but not early Five Iron Frenzy. Way too goofy and the ska aspect is just not my thing. Their new stuff, however, whoa. Fantastic. I tweeted them once to say how much I loved the new album, like a dork, and it turned out I accidentally tweeted Five Iron Franny and I’m sorry about that, Fran. This would be the ending credits for Welcome to Showside, I just love it. Initially I had, “Tub Thumpin” by that band that shall not be named, but this is more my speed. It’s kinda about the downfall of Shadow King and Kit’s strength by virtue of his friends, and mom. Roper’s voice is really good, too. Hey man, if you ever want to voice a character in the animated series just let me know. Actually, can the whole band develop the theme song and we can just go from there? Say hi to Jeff the Girl for me. Thanks, guys.
Welcome to Showside is available now from Z2 Comics.
Image: Z2 Comics