Tuesday, July 5, 2011

SuperSoundtracks #4: David Bowie and Adam Strange

But first a quick recap: What are SuperSoundtracks?

Combining two awesome things – music and comics – SuperSoundtracks takes a comic book character and pairs them with a song. It was inspired by the brilliant yet obscure music from the John Hughes classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and tries to avoid singles when at all possible.

(Adam Strange in Mystery in Space #78 (1962) reprinted in Strange Adventures, #239, Autumn 1972)

Adam Strange is a name that just screams comic books. Just look at the etymology: 'Adam' from the Hebrew ādhām meaning ‘man’ and 'Strange' from the Latin extrāneus; meaning ‘foreign’.

(Adam Strange in Mystery in Space #78 (1962) reprinted in Strange Adventures, #239, Autumn 1972)

Adam Strange is also one of those great comic book characters from the early Silver Age who has the fingerprints of the Golden Age all over him. This, of course, shouldn’t surprise anyone as he was created by the brilliant Gardner Fox who was as prolific in 40s as he was in the 50s. First appearing in Showcase #17 (November 1958) Dr. Adam Strange was a human archaeologist on an expedition in South America when he discovered a Zeta Beam, which was able to take him from Earth to the distant planet of Rann. While there, Strange became Rann’s ‘Champion’ and would meet and fall in love with Alanna, daughter of Rann’s leader Sardath, a glasses wearing baldy who also happened to be the inventor of the Zeta Beam.

(Sardath, Adam Strange and Alanna in Mystery in Space #78 (1962) reprinted in Strange Adventures, #239, Autumn 1972)

(Adam Strange in Rann-Thanagar War #1, April 2006)

(Adam Strange in the Countdown to Infinite Crisis oneshot, March 2005)

Strange never became a mainstay of the DC stable and unlike Showcase alumni Green Lantern or Flash, never had his own book. He would however, become a strong partnering character, and would often feature in titles such as Batman: Brave and the Bold, Mystery in Space or Strange Adventures.

In the late 80s Alan Moore involved him in an adventure with a dark twist – Rann had become a dying world and needed Adam Strange to help repopulate the planet. and this theme would find its way into a good early 1990 limited series called Adam Strange: A Man of Two Worlds. Adam Strange would also feature prominently in a n Infinite Crisis special called the Rann-Thanagar War and in the successful 52 series months later. In 2007 he was ranked 97 of the top 100 comic heroes, but WGTB believes he deserves a much higher number.

(Adam Strange in Mystery in Space #78 (1962) reprinted in Strange Adventures, #239, Autumn 1972)

The song selected to be Adam Strange’s SuperSoundtrack is ‘Starman’ by David Bowie. Admittedly, this song could go with any number of comic heroes: ROM, Mar-vell, Silver Surfer and even Hal Jordan. But WGTB has selected Adam Strange because both Bowie and Strange are champions of longevity, and both have remained relevant and fresh after a long time. Also, the guitar of Starman is somewhat retro while the lyrics are futuristic, just like Adam Strange. Coming from the great album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars, Starman remains one of the marque songs on this incredibly important album, called by one source the 3rd most important album in the history of alternative rock. The BBC has also ranked it very high and WGTB considers it David Bowie's best.

WGTB is proud to present Adam Strange's SuperSoundtrack; Starman by that other cool alien among us, David Bowie!!!

© Mark J. Stewart, 2011.
All rights reserved.

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