Eddie Argos on SPOILER ALERT!
"And I'm Dick Grayson at the moment!"That's the closing lyric of the track "Batman" by Spoiler Alert!, a new band which writes songs about DC Comics superheroes — and only songs about DC Comics superheroes. Some, like "Booster Gold," are incredibly detailed retellings of the subject's origin story, delving into the intricacies of events like 52. Some, like "Batman," give a snapshot of the character's daily life while bringing people up to speed, as seen in that last line. It's all unauthorized, but as the band puts it, "DC Comics in no way endorses these songs, although the revenue earned from them will be spent on DC Comics (and maybe some wine)." Spoiler Alert!'s first EP — on Batman, Booster Gold and Blue Beetle — came out in August, with plans for more on the way. Though the true identities of the Spoiler Alert! band members remain shrouded in mystery, the current, overwhelming speculation is that it's a side project from keyboard player Dyan Valdés of The Blood Arm, guitarist Keith TOTP and fronted by Eddie Argos, lead singer of internationally acclaimed British indie rock bands Art Brut and collaborator with Valdés on Everybody Was In The French Resistance...Now!. (The fact that Argos and the lead singer of Spoiler Alert! have the same voice is certainly suspicious.) Art Brut is known for humorous and blunt songs, such as "DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshake" on 2009's Art Brut vs. Satan, in which Argos declared his undying love for both things, even if they're not what a proper adult "should" get excited about. One thing we can confirm is that Argos acts as a spokesperson for Spoiler Alert! — kind of like how Iron Man was Tony Stark's "bodyguard" — and talked with Newsarama via e-mail between Art Brut's European tour stops to talk about Spoiler Alert!, the greatness of Booster Gold and what high-profile comic writer he's currently avoiding completely. Art Brut lead singer and Spoiler Alert! representative Eddie Argos.
Newsarama: What got the ball rolling with Spoiler Alert!? Was "DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshake" on Art Brut vs. Satan kind of testing the waters of singing about DC comics?Eddie Argos: I'm a massive fan of DC Comics and have wanted a band like Spoiler Alert! to exist for a long time. I'm just glad they finally exist. DC continuity is long and muddled and can be a bit confusing. It’s good to have a song as a jumping off point for some of the more obscure characters. Nrama: The first Spoiler Alert! EP has been out for about a month so far. How has the response been? Have you maybe heard from people who weren't familiar with Art Brut or Everybody Was In The French Resistance...Now! but found the songs just by being big DC Comics fans? Argos: I've only heard from people who like DC Comics and Art Brut. I'd be more interested to hear what people that like Art Brut and EWITFR...N but don't like comics make of it, the lyrics are pretty much full of obscure minutiae from the DC Universe. I get e-mails quite regularly, though, from people who have started reading Booster Gold because I write and talk about it all the time. Nrama: What about any response from people at DC Comics? You'd think they'd be stoked to have origin songs for their superheroes. Argos: I'm not sure of the legality of Spoiler Alert! So I've been trying not to draw too much attention to it from the people at DC. Jeff Katz (who wrote Booster Gold with Geoff Johns) and Jeff Lemire have both told me they love it. Nrama: The Batman song shows that you're taking different approaches to each one — instead of giving a detailed history, like in the Booster Gold song, it's much more streamlined. Probably a good thing, because an exhaustive history of Batman would be like a six-hour track. How did you decide what to zero in on when writing about Batman? And given that last line of the song, are you a fan of Dick Grayson's current role as the Dark Knight? Argos: I love Dick Grayson as Batman. I don't really want Bruce Wayne to come back and I'm not really enjoying The Return of Bruce Wayne. I stopped reading it even though Booster Gold is in it. Although I'm sure I'll change my mind when Bruce Wayne finally does return. Everybody knows the story of Batman and Spoiler Alert! didn't really want to write a dark song about someone’s parents being murdered. So they thought it would be fun to just focus in on a typical night for Batman. I like to imagine him swinging around Gotham City whistling it. Nrama: Booster Gold is pretty much your favorite character, right? What is it about him that’s appealing to you? And how freaked out were you when it looked like he was dead during 52? Argos: I was pretty freaked out when I thought he was dead. I've been a fan of Booster Gold since I found nearly an entire collection of his original series in a thrift store when I was about 11. I think what I like about him is that he is a much more human character then a lot of the characters in the DC Universe. He doesn't always do the right thing, he shows off, makes jokes and he's very personable. Nrama: For your Blue Beetle song, I was a bit surprised that it focused on the current, Jaime Reyes version of the character instead of Ted Kord (though he was mentioned). Why did you decide to go that route? Argos: Spoiler Alert! wanted to be as up to date as possible. Jaime Reyes is Blue Beetle now. Nrama: Tell us, to whichever extent you'd like, your own history with comic books — what got you first into comics, and what are some of your favorite stories or events or characters of all time? Argos: My history with comics started with a British comic called The Beano, which is sort of a collection of funny stories that comes out weekly which I read from about the age of 8. I was 10 and just growing out of The Beano when someone stuck a lot of Batman comics through my front door (I don’t know who) and that was it, I was hooked. As for favourite characters, my favourite character is Booster Gold. I don't really have a favourite event especially as DC Comics seem to be one great big long event nowadays. I think part of the reason I like DC so much is because of that, though the DC Universe is mess of continuity that is always trying to catch itself up. I think what I enjoy is the strange battle the writers have of having to advance the characters in the stories but at the same time trying to keep everything the same. Well, that and I like to read about Batman hitting criminals. Nrama: And I know you're also squarely a DC Comics fan. Have you read much Marvel or other publishers at all? Maybe some indie books? What is it about the DC characters that has endured with you? Argos: I don't know what's stuck with me about DC Comics. I've liked them for as long as I can remember. I've been reading Batman comics since I was 10, so that’s 20 years. Whatever it is about DC Comics it is that I like it is fully ingrained in me now to the point where I can’t recognize it. I just think they are brilliant. As for other comics, I used to read a lot of Spider-Man when I was growing up. I stopped with all that bullshit about the clones though, I just lost interest. I've read quite a few comics I wouldn't normally read because I review them sometimes for PlaybackSTL.com. Because of that I read “The Winter Soldier” which I really liked, and so I read Captain America now and again. I also really like the Marvel comic Exiles. I wish there was a DC Comic with a similar premise. As for indies, I really liked Mercury by Hope Larson. And of course the Essex County Trilogy by Jeff Lemire. I've also just started reading some of Jeffery Brown’s books; I love them so far. I'll give pretty much anything a go, except Mark Millar. I hated Kick-Ass and Wanted so much. I never want to read another Mark Millar book again. A shame because I loved Red Son. Nrama: You've stated in the past in the past that Booster Gold is the only title you still read regularly. Is that still the case? Have you been reading Justice League: Generation Lost, which has Booster Gold and some other Justice League International vets as the main characters? Argos: I have been reading Generation Lost. I'm a few behind because I've been away but I really like it. I'm about to catch up with it right after I've finished this. I'm two issues behind with Booster Gold and Sweet Tooth too the other two titles I read regularly. I've just been so busy. Nrama: Looking towards the future, obviously you're busy — excuse me, the members of Spoiler Alert!, whomever they may be, are busy — with other various projects, but any chance of getting more Spoiler Alert! material out there in the future? And if so, what Justice League International members might be next? Argos: I think Spoiler Alert! are aiming to have another EP out at the end of October. They are all pretty busy so it’s trying to find the time. There is definitely going to be a Guy Gardner song loosely based around “Working Class Hero” by John Lennon called “Guy Gardner; Working Class Superhero.” Nrama: Stupid bonus question: I'm sure plenty of other nerds have asked you this already, but the last line of the Booster Gold song, unless I'm mishearing, is "and his dad's Rip Hunter." Shouldn't that be the other way around? Argos: Hmmm, I think what you are hearing is “and he's dad to Rip Hunter.” Spoiler Alert! certainly wouldn't have made a school-boy error like that, even if that last line was improvised at the last second. All three Spoiler Alert! tracks currently available can be heard and purchased here. Which DC hero do you want to hear SPOILER ALERT! take on next?
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