Art Brut is crazy with comics 

It’s no secret that zany Art Brut bandleader Eddie Argos is a rabid comics aficionado.

He pens a magazine column on them called “Pow! To the People,” has launched a superhero-themed side combo called Spoiler Alert! and composed a tribute song to his favorite publisher, “DC Comics and Chocolate Milkshake,” which gained him access to DC’s secret Batcave lair in New York.

Since Jamie McKelvie, an artist for the competing Marvel, did the cover for Art Brut’s campy new album “Brilliant! Tragic!” Argos recently visited Marvel headquarters as well. “Jamie’s trying to get me to switch sides, and he’s almost convinced me,” he says.

But Argos had something still crazier in mind for the Black Francis-produced “Brilliant!” which Art Brut will likely play in a show at the Independent on Friday.

Its Buzzcocks-edgy anthems — like “Axl Rose,” “Bad Comedian” and “I Am the Psychic” — were so animated, he felt they deserved their own illustrations.

So he compiled a wish list of his favorite names in comics and instructed his manager to solicit contributions via email. It included “Mercury’s” Hope Larson, “Scott Pilgrim’s” Bryan Lee O’Malley, plus Jeff Lemire, Jeffrey Lewis and 10 others. He knew they were long shots, but he wanted only the best.

“I was kind of amazed when everyone said yes — I mean everyone,” says Argos, who just moved from Britain to Berlin, where he holds Rock & Roll Bingo nights at the White Trash club.

“I was really flattered, so I sent them all a list of the songs, and they each got to choose their own and do whatever they liked. It could be a literal interpretation of the track or a story to do with it. And it all turned out just perfect.”

The result, “Brilliant! Tragic! The Comic Book,” is exactly what Argos envisioned — a surreal graphic-novel anthology that takes each tune to the next visual level.

He wrote the sneering “Clever Clever Jazz,” for instance, about his dissonant early outfit the Art Goblins. O’Malley sketched it as a Pokemon-cute animal rock trio who play to an audience of one: the kitten bassist’s mom. “Bryan got that right on the head, because that’s exactly what that song’s about,” says Argos.

The book is available at shows and at the Art Brut website. “I’m as proud of our comic as I am of the album, really,” says Argos, who’s so obsessed with DC character Booster Gold that he often wears a Booster Gold costume around the house. “It’s quite a nice look for me,” he says. “I may even start wearing it onstage with my other glam band, Glam Chops!”


Art Brut

Where: The Independent, 628 Divisadero St., San Francisco

When: 9 p.m. Friday

Tickets: $20

Contact: (415) 771-1421;

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Tom Lanham

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