Just when I think I’ve covered every kind of music in this column, along comes a dynamic duo of superhero-obsessed songwriters.
Kyle Stevens is a Seattle singer/guitarist; Jim Demonakos is founder/organizer of Emerald City Comic Con. Together they’re Kirby Krackle, taking their name from a visual effect by Jack Kirby (creator of Fantastic Four). Over the summer, Kyle and Jim released a sophomore album, E for Everyone, which boasts buoyant melodies, cracking drums and Cheap Trick-ed-out guitar riffs. I recently chatted with the band, which has a performance in the Clark County Library (1401 E. Flamingo Road) at 2 p.m. Nov. 6 as part of the Vegas Valley Comic Book Fest.
How does “The World’s First Comic Book Rock Band” write a song?
The first song we ever wrote was the Mario Kart-inspired “Back to the Beginning,” in which the lyrics came first. We write songs that are, first and foremost, “good songs,” followed by lyrical content about characters we love. Other songs emerge from a guitar riff, like “Marvelous Girls.”
“Marvelous Girls” lauds characters who, because of their gender, get short shrift.
Jim had the idea of writing a dedication of love for what you might call “nerd girls.” The idea expanded into a musical love letter to the women of the Marvel Universe—almost as if written by a lovesick guy who lives, or thinks he lives, in that universe.
Is Jim strictly a “lyrics guy”?
You can say that. He possesses a huge backlog of references and lyrical ideas that, when combined with mine, results in songs we get really excited about. He’s a good editor, too.
“One of the Guys” is a humorous song about Ben Grimm (the Thing). But you also tap into the character’s pathos.
The Thing is actually the real heart of the Fantastic Four. Underneath his monstrous exterior, you find someone who genuinely cares about his “family” and finds the strength in himself to embrace what it is that makes him different.
I love the line, “I’ve found a place among my friends/and I’ll be there up until the end/with the first family to make me forget I was so grim.” The song speaks to the “family” feeling of the comic-book community.
The Thing is an allegory about the comic-book community. Many fans start reading comics as an escape from the real world, and many fans get a new perspective on their own existences by reading the trials and tribulations of these characters. As characters like the Thing embrace their differences and go out in to the world to live their lives, so, too, can the readers.