We formed a band (of heroes): Art Brut's Eddie Argos talks comics
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Art Brut frontman Eddie Argos has been reading superhero comics since he was a kid and reviewing them for St. Louis-based entertainment website Playback: stl for a little over a year. But it wasn't until the April release of his band's LP Art Brut Vs. Satan that the world at large knew how much he liked a man (or woman) in a uniform and cape—apparently when you write a song called "DC Comics And Chocolate Milkshake," you get more people talking to you about comics, as well as a tour of the DC offices. Speaking with him before the band's show Tuesday at Lincoln Hall, The A.V. Club found out that when you talk about comics with Argos, you're going to hear an awful lot about reformed showboat and time-traveler Booster Gold.
The A.V. Club: So are you sick of talking about comics yet?
Eddie Argos: [Laughs.] No, not yet. I love comics. They're still quite good. I especially like it when we play shows now, because people come up to me and talk about comics. I've just branched out—it was mainly DC comic books before, but I've just started liking Marvel as well. So I've got a whole new thing to talk about.
AVC: What's got you interested in Marvel?
EA: I just like superhero comics. I think that's it. Growing up, a lot of my favorite characters were DC characters. My favorite superhero is Booster Gold, so I kind of got into DC through him. I'd follow him through the comics—there's so many background characters in DC that I could get interested in. But I've just started reading Exiles, and the recent Captain America. I didn't think I'd like Captain America, but it's really, really good at the moment.
AVC: What are you bringing along to read on the tour?
EA: I've got the Exiles comic. I've got the Ultimate Collection, and I'd kind of like to finish Captain America. Someone just posted me some comics, so I've got a big pile of independent comics on my top shelf that I have to read. My bag is mainly filled with comics. Some underwear, a pair of trousers, and a load of comics.
AVC: You wrote in an essay for Under The Radar that you like the DC Universe because the writers have to constantly reconcile the continuity. Does that carry over into songs like "Mysterious Bruises?"
EA: Yeah, a little bit. I like "meta" things, and things referencing themselves, and that happens quite a lot in DC comics.
AVC: Especially with Booster Gold's time-traveling powers.
EA: Yeah. I was a massive fan of Booster Gold anyway, and then they started doing that and I thought, "Brilliant! That's exactly what I like!" Trying to save Barbara Gordon and stuff—it's kind of cool. I'm looking forward to the Blackest Night tie-in. He's going to be fighting [former ally] Ted Kord.
AVC: That's the new Green Lantern storyline?
EA: Well, it's going to include all DC comics. Apparently everyone that's died is going to come back as an evil zombie. There's two Booster Gold specials coming up, and Booster Gold #25, he's going to be fighting Blue Beetle, come back as a zombie. That sounds very nerdy, what I'm saying, but I can't wait to read it.
AVC: Since you've started talking about comics in songs, online columns, and interviews, have people been bringing a lot of comics at shows?
EA: Yeah—I've got to sign a Booster Gold comic. I've done that twice now. I always recommend #1-12 of the new Booster Gold series, and I've been posted some comics by people who think I'll like them. It's worked out pretty well—I've got quite a lot of free comics, and we got to go on a tour of the DC offices. They gave us signed copies of Watchmen. I think I'm going to write more songs about things I like. Get some presents.
AVC: Didn't the same thing happen after people heard "The Replacements?"
EA: It happened more specifically in Chicago, but everyone showed up with Replacements bootlegs and a book about them, and Big Star compilations—because they're the "godfathers of The Replacements," that sort of thing. I should write a song about how much I like money. "I Love Money And Brandy."
AVC: You got into Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim series after your song "Fight!" was mentioned in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The Universe. Have you attempted to contact Edgar Wright to see if you can get an Art Brut song in his movie adaptation?
EA: Actually, I follow him on Twitter, and he was tweeting about Art Brut Vs. Satan, saying what a good album it was, so I sent him a message going, "Aw, dude, Spaced is amazing." So we chatted a bit on Twitter, but it'd be a bit forward wouldn't it—demanding to have our song in it? I think Bryan's coming to see us when we play North Carolina. That's what I love about Twitter—all these comic book writers I love, I'm now chatting with on the Internet.
AVC: Do you have an idea for a superhero you'd want to pitch to a publisher?
EA: No. I really enjoyed The Umbrella Academy, which was done by Gerard Way from My Chemical Romance—it reminded me of Doom Patrol. But I think that there's so many superheroes now, that there doesn't need to be another one invented. If I could write a superhero, I'd like to write Booster Gold. [Laughs.] I don't think I could make another twist on a superhero character. I think they've all been done. Or there's somebody to do it that's better than me. I like the idea of playing with the old ones.
AVC: You're celebrating your 30th birthday on this tour. Do you feel a bit guilty about being a 30-year-old comic book fan?
EA: I'm going to carry that on. That I've written a song, I've sort of come out about it. [Laughs.] "Yeah, I like comics, what?"
AVC: There's no turning back?
EA: Nope. That's it—I'm hooked now. As longs as there's more Batman comics, I'm definitely hooked.