Why These Seven Songs Should Be Graphic Novels

graphic novel

graphic novels

Why these seven
songs should be graphic

Why This is relevant…

Not too long ago, I came across a great article in BookRiot. Check it out, it is fantastic. The article discusses how some striking songs that have a distinct narrative, are prime candidates for a graphic novel adaptation. Often books become movies or television shows, but songs to graphic novel crossover is a perfect transition. Short and concise imaging. The example BookRiot gave was Proud Mary by Tina Turner.


The narrative is simple but not easy to convey. Ike Turner is a serial abuser and drug addict. Tina must rise up from the abuse and stay strong. She ends by rowing on the riverboat Proud Mary. The Below songs offer similar tight story arcs:

A man coming to the realization that he does not know people’s stories. A woman who does all she can to save herself. A moment of lost love between two people. The heartbreak of war and losing someone. The rise of a guitar god. Violence in schools.The gathering of powerful individuals to change the world.

Everlast – what it is like

My Thoughts on the Plot

Obviously this song is about recognition that there are other people out there who are the heroes or villain protagonists of their own story. You are nothing but a throw away character. Stop judging.

I can imagine a graphic novel that details one man’s journey of acceptance to those around him. One day he ends up walking in their shoes.

Mary got pregnant from a kid named Tom who said he was in love
He said, “Don’t worry about a thing, baby doll, I’m the man you’ve been dreamin’ of”
But three months later he say he won’t date her or return her calls
And she swear, “God damn if I find that man I’m cuttin’ off his balls”

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the complete maus

by art spiegelman

“Combined for the first time here are Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale and Maus II – the complete story of Vladek Spiegelman and his wife, living and surviving in Hitler’s Europe. By addressing the horror of the Holocaust through cartoons, the author captures the everyday reality of fear and is able to explore the guilt, relief and extraordinary sensation of survival – and how the children of survivors are in their own way affected by the trials of their parents. A contemporary classic of immeasurable significance.”

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Reba Mcentire


“I remember it all very well lookin’ back
It was the summer I turned eighteen
We lived in a one room, rundown shack
On the outskirts of New Orleans
We didn’t have money for food or rent
To say the least we were hard pressed
Then Mama spent every last penny we had
To buy me a dancin’ dress”

My Thoughts on the Plot..

A woman follows her mother’s advice and seeks the company of a few gentleman that helped pull her from poverty. Whether you believe what she did was right alone, doesn’t matter. Fancy lifted herself up from poverty the best way she could.

Definite story arc of a woman trying to raise herself up with all the tools she had at her disposal and no shame.

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by Marjorie M. Liu, Sana Takeda

“Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers.”

This isn’t a perfect correlation, but there is strength of character in both lead protagonists. They will do what they feel they have to.

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Juke Box Hero

“Standing in the rain, with his head hung low
Couldn’t get a ticket, it was a sold out show
Heard the roar of the crowd, he could picture the scene
Put his ear to the wall, then like a distant scream
He heard one guitar, just blew him away
He saw stars in his eyes, and the very next day”

My Thoughts on the Plot..

The rise of a rockstar from listening to a backstage door. He becomes huge. But remembers the stage door. As he rises to the top.

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Gabba gabba hey! : the graphic story of the Ramones

by Jim McCarthy, Brian Williamson

“The Ramones were the archetypal American punk band and this is their story, from their beginnings in Queens in 1974, through the burgeoning punk scene at CBGB’s, the excitement of their first album, their brush with the unhinged genius of Phil Spector and the endless touring which saw them perform 2,263 concerts over a 22 year period.

Set against a backdrop of New York facing bankruptcy and terrorized by Son of Sam, The Ramones tale takes in endless inter-band fighting and finally the tragic deaths of three of the founding members: Joey, Johnny and Dee Dee.

The band’s influence has proven immense, with their early British tours having a profound impact on bands like The Sex Pistols and The Clash, and the band finally receiving due recognition when they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and later won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.”

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Dixie Chicks

Travelin Soldier

“Two days past eighteen
He was waiting for the bus in his army green
Sat down in a booth in a café there
Gave his order to a girl with a bow in her hair
He’s a little shy so she give him a smile
And he said would you mind sittin’ down for a while
And talkin’ to me, I’m feeling a little low
She said I’m off in an hour and I know where we can go

So they went down and they sat on the pier
He said I bet you got a boyfriend but I don’t care
I’ve got no one to send a letter to
Would you mind if I sent one back here to you?I cried
Never gonna hold the hand of another guy
Too young for him they told her
Waitin’ for the love of a travelin’ soldier
Our love will never end
Waitin’ for the soldier to come back again
Never more to be alone when the letter said
A soldier’s coming home”

My Thoughts on the Plot..

Two days past eighteen, a soldier, ready to go to war, has a sweet conversation with a waitress at restaurant. He asks if he can write to her while he is away at war. He has no one else. They spend an hour or so talking by the pier before his fate arrives to claim him.

They exchange letters, ones that show how much they love each other. In the last moments of the song we hear a piccolo player in the high school marching band, crying under the football stadium stands as the names of local Vietnam dead are read.

A pure moment captured by the Dixie Chicks. A moment that many women felt during the way waiting for their soldiers to come home.

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Fax from Sarajevo

By Joe Kubert, with colors by Studio SAF

“In 1945, we told the world, “Never again.” In 1992, the promise was broken into bloody shards. That was the year the war broke out in Sarajevo, Bosnia, the year that genocide revisited the planet. It was the year that Ervin Rustemagic – an international businessman whose clients included author Joe Kubert – found himself and his family trapped in a city under siege. Ervin’s only means of communication to the outside world was via his fax machine. As Joe began to receive these messages from Ervin, he did what he had done for years – he put the story to paper. Renowned comics creator Joe Kubert has been writing and illustrating comic books since the 1940s, including Batman, Superman, Tarzan, Enemy Ace, and Sgt. Rock. Fax from Sarajevo is by far one of the highest achievements of one of comics’ greatest living masters.”

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Pearl Jam


“At home drawing pictures Of mountain tops
With him on top
Lemon yellow sun
Arms raised in a V

Dead lay in pools of maroon below
Daddy didn’t give attention
Oh, to the fact that mommy didn’t care
King Jeremy the wickedOh, ruled his world”

My Thoughts on the plot..

Violence, violence violence. This song is precinct  when it dropped in 1994. Pearl Jam had no idea the amount of gun violence in schools and how it affects the victim and aggressor.

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Where We Live: Las Vegas Shooting Benefit Anthology

by J.H. Williams III (Contributor), Mike Allred (Contributor), Kieron Gillen (Contributor), Brian Michael Bendis (Contributor), Kelly Sue DeConnick (Contributor), Jamie McKelvie (Contributor), Jeff Lemire (Contributor), Cliff Chiang (Contributor), Bill Sienkiewicz (Contributor), Neil Gaiman (Contributor), Ivan Brandon (Contributor), Kurt Busiek (Contributor), Amy Chu (Contributor), Mike Mignola (Contributor), Mark Millar (Contributor), Greg Pak (Contributor), James Robinson (Contributor), Brandon Graham (Contributor), Rob Williams (Contributor), Rafael Albuquerque (Contributor), Paul Azaceta (Contributor), Geof Darrow (Contributor), Tess Fowler (Contributor), Brian Haberlin (Contributor), Phil Hester (Contributor), Joëlle Jones (Contributor), Ariela Kristantina (Contributor), Michael Avon Oeming (Contributor), Sean Phillips (Contributor), Darick Robertson (Contributor), Javier Pulido (Contributor), Warren Wucinich (Contributor), Taki Soma (Contributor), Bernardo Brice (Contributor), W. Haden Blackman (Contributor), Fábio Moon (Contributor), Pere Pérez (Contributor), Joshua Dysart (Contributor), Alex Segura (Contributor), Marco Finnegan (Contributor), Kelsey Shannon (Contributor), Janice Chiang (Contributor), Talia Hershewe (Contributor), Jock (Contributor), Greg Lockard (Contributor), Tim Fish (Contributor), Michael J. DiMotta (Contributor), Sal Cipriano (Contributor), Gustavo Duarte (Contributor), Ryan Burton (Contributor), Tony Parker (Contributor), Dee Cunniffe (Contributor), Aaron Duran (Contributor), Joe Mulvey (Contributor), Jules Rivera (Contributor), Larime Taylor (Contributor), Sylv Taylor (Contributor), Rafael Scavone (Contributor), Trish Mulvihill (Contributor), Todd Klein (Contributor), Justin Jordan (Contributor), Taylor Esposito (Contributor), Gabriel Walta (Contributor), Alexander Chang (Contributor), Dave Stewart (Contributor), Jeff Boison (Contributor), Tyler Boss (Contributor), Jarret Keene (Contributor), Craig Cermak (Contributor), Marissa Louise (Contributor), Christina Rice (Contributor), Richard Pace (Contributor), Alex Sheikman (Contributor), Rachael Fulton (Contributor), R. Eric Lieb (Contributor), Crank! (Contributor), Van Jensen (Contributor), Eric Kim (Contributor), Chris O’Halloran (Contributor), Joshua Hale Fialkov (Goodreads Author) (Contributor), Noel Tuazon (Contributor), Wendy Wright-Williams (Contributor), Mariah McCourt (Contributor), Bryan Valenza (Contributor), Neil Kleid (Contributor), Nick Pitarra (Contributor), Ken Syd (Contributor), Gail Simone (Contributor), Ryan Kelly (Contributor), Giulia Brusco (Contributor), Laura Allred (Contributor), Pierce Elliott (Contributor), Monica Gallagher (Goodreads Author) (Contributor), Jason Harris (Contributor), Ollie Masters (Contributor), Shaun Stevens Struble (Contributor), Sina Grace (Goodreads Author) (Contributor), Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou (Contributor), Scott Bryan Wilson (Goodreads Author) (Contributor), Malachi Ward (Goodreads Author) (Contributor), Chris Wisnia (Contributor), Jeremy Cox (Contributor), Joshua Ellis (Goodreads Author) (Contributor), B. Clay Moore (Goodreads Author) (Contributor), Kelly Williams (Contributor), Chas! Pangburn (Goodreads Author) (Contributor), Robert Rose (Contributor), Matt Strackbein (Contributor), David F. Walker (Contributor), Damon Smith (Contributor), John Jennings (Contributor), Jeremy Marshall (Contributor), Curt Pires (Contributor), Matt Lesniewski (Goodreads Author) (Contributor), Alex Petretich (Contributor), Paul Tobin (Goodreads Author) (Contributor), Dustin Weaver (Contributor), Geirrod van Dyke (Contributor), David Hine (Goodreads Author) (Contributor), Triona Farrell (Contributor), Simon Bowland (Contributor), Gary Spencer Millidge (Contributor), Matthew Dow Smith (Contributor), Michael Gaydos (Contributor), Dean Kotz (Contributor), Stefano Gaudiano (Contributor), Casey Silver (Contributor), Henry Barajas (Goodreads Author) (Contributor), Isaac Goodhart (Contributor), Chris Ryall (Contributor), Gabriel Rodríguez (Contributor), Nelson Dániel (Contributor), Joseph Phillip Illidge (Contributor), Ray-Anthony Height (Contributor), Deron Bennett (Contributor), Andrew Dalhouse (Contributor), Erica Schultz (Contributor), Liana Kangas (Goodreads Author) (Contributor), Jamez Savage (Contributor), Cameron Stewart (Goodreads Author) (Contributor), Cardinal Rae (Contributor), Jennifer Battisti (Contributor), Andrea Mutti (Goodreads Author) (Contributor), Jason Starr (Goodreads Author) (Contributor), Vladimir Popov (Contributor), Matthew Sorvillo (Contributor), Ray Fawkes (Goodreads Author) (Contributor), Al Davison (Contributor), Lela Gwenn (Contributor), Matt Hawkins (Goodreads Author) (Contributor), Aaron Campbell (Contributor), Alex Paknadel (Contributor), Chris Wildgoose (Contributor), Aditya Bidikar (Contributor), Scott David Johnson (Contributor), Eric Gapstur (Contributor), Mark Englert (Contributor), Andrew MacLean (Contributor), Lee Loughridge (Contributor), John Roshell (Contributor), Daniel Hernandez (Contributor), Moritat (Contributor), Lucia Fasano (Contributor), Justin V. Gray (Contributor), John Broglia (Contributor), J.M. DeMatteis (Contributor), Mike Cavallaro (Contributor), Rachel Crosby (Contributor), Will Dennis (Afterword), Kelly Fitzpatrick

On October 1, 2017, Las Vegas, Nevada suffered the worst mass shooting in modern American history, resulting in 58 deaths and over 500 injured. It broke my heart. Las Vegas is my home. I felt like something needed to be done to help in a unique way. — JH Williams III, Artist & Curating Editor

This “unique way” was the genesis of the Where We Live anthology — a riveting collection of both fictional stories and actual eye-witness accounts told by an all-star line-up of the top talent working in comics today. All the creators have graciously volunteered their time and talent to help bring some sense to this senseless act and, in the process, raise money for the survivors and their families.

The book will include a variety of perspectives with key themes exploring gun violence, common sense gun control, the value of a compassionate society, mental health stigmatization, aftermath of tragedy and how individuals & communities persevere and an appreciation of Las Vegas as a vibrant community.

100% of the proceeds for the Where We Live anthology will be donated to an existing GoFundMe campaign for the survivors in Las Vegas.”

This is still painful for me.

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Someone Like You

“I heard, that you’re settled down
That you found a girl and you’re, married now

I heard, that your dreams came true
I guess she gave you things
I didn’t give to youOld friend, why are you so shy
Ain’t like you to hold back
Or hide from the lightI hate to turn up out of the blue uninvited but I
Couldn’t stay away I couldn’t fight it
I had hoped you’d see my face
And that you be reminded that for me it isn’t over”

My Thoughts on the plot..

We have all been there. A lost love that we think fondly of. Sometimes it is over, but sometimes it is not. This song is about that. I can see this as a gorgeously drawn story of a woman yelling to the heavens her pain, and find love within herself and resignation that time moves on.

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by Craig Thompson

Blankets is the story of a young man coming of age and finding the confidence to express his creative voice. Craig Thompson’s poignant graphic memoir plays out against the backdrop of a Midwestern winterscape: finely-hewn linework draws together a portrait of small town life, a rigorously fundamentalist Christian childhood, and a lonely, emotionally mixed-up adolescence.

Under an engulfing blanket of snow, Craig and Raina fall in love at winter church camp, revealing to one another their struggles with faith and their dreams of escape. Over time though, their personal demons resurface and their relationship falls apart. It’s a universal story, and Thompson’s vibrant brushstrokes and unique page designs make the familiar heartbreaking all over again.

This groundbreaking graphic novel, winner of two Eisner and three Harvey Awards, is an eloquent portrait of adolescent yearning; first love (and first heartache); faith in crisis; and the process of moving beyond all of that. Beautifully rendered in pen and ink, Thompson has created a love story that lasts.”

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The Glitch Mob

We Can Make the World Stop

“Stand still, pause clocks, we can make the world stop.
We can make the world stop.
Stand still, pause clocks, we can make the world stop.
We can make the world stop.
We can make the world stop.
Stand still, pause clocks, we can make the world stop.
We can make the world stop.
We can make the world stop.
We can make the world stop.”

My Thoughts on the plot..

This song is pure science fiction. The video lays out a tremendous story already. A man is taken to a ratty house and is surrounded by thugs. Not all is it seems. THere is power here.

All it needs to be is to be transferred to a graphic novel.

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by Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons (Illustrator/Letterer), John Higgins (Colorist)

“Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers.”

A hit HBO original series, Watchmen, the groundbreaking series from award-winning author Alan Moore, presents a world where the mere presence of American superheroes changed history–the U.S. won the Vietnam War, Nixon is still president, and the Cold War is in full effect.

Considered the greatest graphic novel in the history of the medium, the Hugo Award-winning story chronicles the fall from grace of a group of superheroes plagued by all-too-human failings. Along the way, the concept of the superhero is dissected as an unknown assassin stalks the erstwhile heroes.

This edition of Watchmen, the groundbreaking series from Alan Moore, the award-winning author of V For Vendetta and Batman: The Killing Joke, features art from industry legend Dave Gibbons, with high-quality, recolored pages found in Watchmen: Absolute Edition.

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