Fantagraphics has long been celebrated as the premiere publisher of some of the most well-known and beloved indie comic books series–quirky oddball books like Love and Rockets and Eightball. There was a point when the idea of Fantagraphics publishing superhero comics would have seemed crazy. But we are living crazy times, so why not? Fantagraphics will soon be releasing their own unique superhero comics line called All Time Comics, which will be the publisher’s first ever shared superhero universe, featuring a new assortment of retro style heroes. And the first of the All Time Comics heroes will be none other than vigilante hero The Crime Destroyer.
The All Time Comics brand at Fantagraphics is a joint venture from brothers Josh Bayer, an underground comics artist and teacher, and director Samuel Bayer, who launched his career over 25 years ago with Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video. The launch title is going be All Time Comics: Crime Destroyer #1, a 36-page oversized issue which will feature the writing of Josh Bayer, along with inks from Ben Marra, and the last pencils from the late Incredible Hulk artist Herb Trimpe, who co-created Wolverine. The first issue also features covers by acclaimed cartoonists Jim Rugg and Johnny Ryan.All Time Comics: Crime Destroyer #1 hits comic shops on March 1st, and to celebrate, writer Josh Bayer has created a musical playlist on Spotify featuring the songs that best exemplify the spirit of the Crime Destroyer and give readers an awesome soundtrack to listen to as they kick back and take in the first issue. You can check out the entire playlist, along with Bayer’s descriptions for each track and preview art for the first issue, down below:
CRIME DESTROYER, THE PLAYLIST
By Josh Bayer
This is the rock ‘n roll playlist to listen to as you read Crime Destroyer #1. These tracks cover a pretty wide array of years, as the All Time Comics Universe takes place vaguely in some fictional past between 1979 and 1992. I picked a lot of rock, some surf guitar some blues and rap and punk, and rap, and tried to make as many of the songs about revenge as possible.
“I Wanna Kill Sam” by Ice Cube
GREAT song from early in Ice Cube’s career. Crime Destroyer’s story starts with his war experience so this song seemed like a good place to start telling his story.
“Ghost Rider” by Suicide
Not only is this song very much about a hero who rides through the night, but it has a heavy comic book connection that seems inspired by a certain famous burning skull-headed motorcycle hero that we at All Time Comics also love.
“Gates of Steel” by Devo
The most fast-paced and catchy Devo song ever. Nothing could be emblematic of heroics and struggle to me than the lyric “Twist away the gates of steel.“
“Nervous Breakdown” by Black Flag
Crime Destroyer in many ways is wholly revenge-driven, so I thought about putting “Revenge” by Black Flag on this playlist. But then again, the intro to this song with the quote from Henry Miller seems more pressing than ever–not so much the narcissistic concept of meditating on oneself, but on turning away with indifference from those who would leave the cities in rubble. Those figures are around as much as ever.
“Fighting My Way Back” by Thin Lizzy
For Crime Destroyer, it’s all just an endless fight. Fighting every night.
“Freedom of Speech” by Ice-T
Hard to narrow down one early Ice-T song, but all of our heroes are defenders of freedom, truth and American Ideals, so this feels right. So does the lo-fi production quality of this track. Ice-T was and is a bigger than life figure but around the time of “Power” and ”Freedom of Speech” he’d never stumbled, he was a ferocious song crafting machine. The unlikely pairing of Jello Biafra and Ice-T is similar to some of the unlikely pairings you find in the All Time Comics universe.
“The Regulator” by Bad Brains
“Regulator” is another word for an oppressor in this song. It almost sounds like a comic book villain…
“Big Takeover” by Bad Brains
…and the “Big Takeover” sounds like an underworld conspiracy. To say that a band is like a superhero is kind of a cliche, but in terms of comics, the Bad Brains were like Galactus: they came to consume all the petty useless music that came before them. They are like great cosmic annihilators as far as my opinion goes.
“Ghost” by Swiz
More than a few people I know gained a second lease on their love of Punk through SWIZ, myself included. They’re loud and flashy but also incredibly melodic without being sugarcoated. I think that description can stand in for Crime Destroyer as well. The book is not so relentlessly violent that we scrimped on being entertaining.
“Satan” by Danzig
From Danzig’s new covers record, this song has everything! Killing! SATAN! Motorcycles! The road! Drama! Malevolence! Based on the Grindhouse movie “Satan’s Sadist,” this cover of Paul Webber’s song has more drama to it than you can find in our entire line of comics–almost!
“The Wolf” by Motorhead
Authentic and direct. A song about a life of violence, it fits right in with the All Time Comics world vision.
“Wild in the Streets” by Circle Jerks
When I think of crime running wild in the streets, I feel like the Circle Jerks are singing about Crime Destroyer, (though which side would these punks be on?).
“Running with the Devil” by Van Halen
While the forthcoming Atlas mix tends to be about flight and dreams, the themes of Crime Destroyer are more street level and subterranean. Devils, wolves, night time, lone motorcycles on nighttime roads. This song is no exception to that theme.
“King of Rock” by Run DMC
No explanation necessary, really. What I like about early rap is how much it sounds like rock. I have always loved Run DMC and do so more every year. Be sure to check out the early video of them arriving at the then brand New Rock and Roll museum They come to trash the place but then end up watching their heroes on TV, except they hate Jerry Lee Lewis. Amazing to see these guys so young and literally crafting the mold of rap before your eyes, and their lyrics are a rundown of their humble abilities, values and hobbies (“I’m DJ Run I can scratch” ”I’m DMC I can DRAW”).
“Brave New World” by Reagan Youth
All Time Comics takes place in an era where Reagan is quite omnipresent, so Reagan Youth fits right in there. Reagan Youth was as future forward as you could be. They were trying to be a young band that rocked and wrote satirical songs but ended up being a band for the ages. If they’d ever recorded an album as good at their live shows they’d be spoken of alongside the most important American punk songs.
“My Vengeancc” by The Wipers
I picked this as a substitute for “Revenge” by Black Flag. As I said, Crime Destroyer is a vengeance-driven character. Pit your revenge-driven songs here.
“Hey Baby” by Gun Club
I like how driving and in a groove this song is. Crime Destroyer is like a cowboy, always on the run, in the pocket with the sound of his horse’s hooves clopping/Transam wheels rolling and the mission ahead. This song fits the way I envision his internal world view.
“Wild One” by Thin Lizzy
Another Thin Lizzy track, a sweeping lyrical song about living life heroically.
“Screaming for Vengeance” by Judas Priest
No explanation necessary.
“What Is Best in Life” by Fear
The best song ever stolen from a Conan movie. Fear could do no wrong at their peak.
“No Money Down” by Lou Reed
Such a great song, and worth putting on this list just for the video alone. All of Lou’s songs from this era are oriented around a street level reality.
“Alive on Arrival” by Ice Cube
Great swaggering song, detailing the aftermath of bloodshed and bullet spray.
“Batman Theme” by Link Wray
Best rock version of a TV theme ever, beating out Hüsker Dü’s “Love Is All Around.” Link Wray could do no wrong. I was lucky enough to see him play in 2002; he was a powerhouse. Yeah, I have to double down on Link Wray elsewhere in these series. What a guitar warrior. If there’s a short list of rock people who are like superhuman, he’s on the list with Lemmy, HR, Joan Jett, James Brown…
“It Serves You Right to Suffer” by John Lee Hooker
I first saw this song performed by the Laughing Hyenas, starring the greatest punk singer of all time, John Brannon. Later, I discovered the original, which is a masterpiece among John Lee Hooker’s catalogue of masterpieces. A man whose contributions helped forge rock identity.
“This Is Hip” by John Lee Hooker
One of the very first people my brother worked with after his Nirvana video (“Smells Like Teen Spirit”), when he had the choice of working with anyone in the music industry, was John Lee Hooker. He sought out, and did a video for J his final album. A major link to history from the Captain of All Time Comics.
“New Rose” by The Damned
This isn’t just a song about a new love, it’s about starting a new story. That’s a good place to end this list because every ending of every comic book is the beginning of the next chapter comic book.
“Hammerdown” by Ted Nugent
Becoming a conservative mouthpiece is very anti-rock and roll if you ask me, but if you don’t think about what Nugent became, and blot out 2017 entirely, this is a great song. I think this is about truckers snorting lines or something. Pretty good listening to Nugent at his peak.
“Fuck a War” by Geto Boys
Bringing it right to a core element of Crime Destroyer’s mythos. The beginning and end for Crime Destroyer. He was created for war and and will die in war.
“Destroyer” by Twisted Sister
A song that can leave you speechless. Though it wasn’t a hit for them, it should have been. It’s as good as anything any metal band has ever written.
“I’m Not Ready” by Modern Life Is War
As this song says, ”I truly believe we can start again.” Because every comic you read is a chance to start again. Read comics forever!
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Images: Fantagraphics Publishing