In one alternate universe a certain radioactive spider bit one of Peter Parker’s classmates instead: the policeman’s daughter and one of comicdom’s great tragic figures, Gwen Stacy, who in a few scant panels of the recent hit comic Edge of Spider-Verse #2 learned her own lessons about power and responsibility while trying to make it big as the drummer in an up-and-coming band: The Mary Janes.
In another alternate universe (hint: ours) a real band known as Married With Sea Monsters gets inspired by the look and the idea of Spider-Gwen and The Mary-Janes, takes on that name ‘as a disguise’ and records the fictional band’s breakout hit, “Face It Tiger,” to the delight of comic book and indie rock fans worldwide. The Texas-based rock band are no strangers to comic book-based tunes. Last year, they teamed up with artist Robbi Rodriguez to do the soundtrack LP to Rodriguez’s webcomic Frankie Get Your Gun.
“We're huge fans of the Spider-Verse and when our old friend [and Edge of Spider-Verse #2 artist] Robbi Rodruigez started talking about the new book he was working on, our ears really perked up,” explains Married With Sea Monsters’ drummer Alden and guitarist Ryan, “[Robbi] snuck us a peak at a few of his sketches, so we started peppering him with questions about what Gwen's band would sound like and our imagination got the best of us, I guess.” Kat Dixon, the front woman of the band added, “We're all pretty big nerds, and proud of it! When we heard about the Edge of Spider-Verse stuff we were pretty excited and the fact that Robbi was a part of it made it really easy to write for since we've been working together for a while now. It's definitely an honor to be so accepted by the Spidey crowd, and it was fun as Hell to write!”
The self-described ‘90s alternative/indie’ band Married With Sea Monsters formed five years ago in Waco, Texas and fortuitously has a similar composition to their new fictional counterparts, save for the gender issue as the The Mary-Janes are an all-female group fronted by ‘a’ Mary-Jane Watson herself while Married With Sea Monsters’ full complement includes male bass player Jason and in a fortuitous coincidence a female vocalist, Kat.
After inspiration to record the song struck came the hard work of translating speech bubbles and onomatopoeia in to music, “The toughest part about writing the song was keeping ourselves from over-thinking it. We actually wanted to write two songs and see which one sounded most like what we envisioned from what Robbi had hinted at. The first one just kinda fell out of us organically and easily. So when we started working on the second and getting hung up, we realized we were trying to force it, and that we had already written the keeper. The sound took almost no time to come up with. We bounced around ideas -and a few beers- for an evening and it came to us naturally. It was probably the most fun we've had during practice in a long time, but writing usually is for us.”
The result, which you can hear above, is a catchy, fast-paced piece that has that ‘raw, garage’ feel of bands like The Runaways (ahem, no relation to the Marvel Comics property).
“We were trying to channel some of that 80s punk/riotgirl pounding sound, figuring that's what Mary Jane would be up there belting out. But some of our own flavor snuck in, bending it into the 90s alternative a bit. We fuzzed out every single instrument, including the vocals, to get that garage rock grit, and I think that's what really gave us the punch we were looking for.” Dixon cited Bikini Kill and Bratmobile as further influences.
While The (fictional) Mary Janes’ success might falter as a consequence of their drummer’s web-slinging (and the possibility that she could be killed by the pan-dimensional Spider-Person devourer Morlun) the Married With Sea Monsters version has been a hit not just with Spider-Fans but with the creative staff at Marvel who have been furiously tweeting out the band’s YouTube account, while a ‘marriedwithseamonsters‘ Tumblr hashtag and the band’s Facebook page has seen a flurry of activity for a project that the band says they did just for “poops and smiles.”
The band appreciates the attention, but they also appreciate their friendship with artist Robbi Rodriguez.
“We’ve been so lucky to work with someone so talented, so dedicated, and so damn nice. […]We got to toy around with a lot of spaghetti western influence, which was a blast. So working with Robbi, we were able to press [the soundtrack] to vinyl to accompany the books when he takes them to cons. Robbi even flew down here to Texas to shoot a video for ‘Josephine’ from the album. Did I mention he's a badass?”
Back in reality the touring and active Married With Sea Monsters have another full length album on the way this to, as they describe, “give a feel for our live sound which is a bit more energetic than the other two releases.” On the subject of more music from “The Mary Janes,” though, they say a lot hinges on the success of the original book, which in a good sign has gone back for the rare second printing of a comic’s second issue. The band has heard from their fans old and new for more and they are up for a whole album of music from “The Mary Janes,” or other as they call them: “great nerdy projects,” if given the chance. Spider-Gwen fans and music lovers will have to keep a close eye on the Spider-Verse event to see if this band plays on.