The Original Soundtrack

A while ago, there was an interesting thread on the apparently short-lived forum. The initial question was: “If your webcomic had a theme song, who would play it?”

Questions like this don’t seem to concern a webcomic very much at first glance, but thinking about these things is a useful exercise. It helps you get the tone right, and you may learn a thing or two about your characters if you just look at them from an odd angle. Everything that challenges you to do that is good.

Incidentally, I had just thought about that particular question myself. My post in the forum reads like this:

“My comic is Conny Van Ehlsing, Monster Hunter, a horror/fantasy title set in elementary school, with a six-year old heroine. Recently, I’ve taken Conny out of her old school and into a new neighborhood to broaden the scope of the comic.

There’s some drama, lots of humor, and readers have responded enthusiastically to the grrl power aspects of the character. So the obvious choice for a theme song would be Roky Erickson’s “I Walked with a Zombie”, in a Le Tigre version.”

Of course, right after I had posted this, I watched the VERONICA MARS episode where Veronica sings Blondie’s “One Way or Another”. That works, too.

So, I was back to thinking about it some more.

“I Want a Monster to Be my Friend” from Sesame Street would work, even though Conny would never want a monster as a friend. She wants them all gone. But the matter-of-fact way that monsters are part of the singer’s world fits the comic’s atmosphere.

The Go-Go’s‘ “Capture the Light” – It’s about getting a grip, moving out of the dark. Always good. Plus, the Go-Go’s always had a quirky punk-pop attitude which is pretty much what I’d like for a comic like that. There’s a whole pre-grrl girl-pop scene that fits this trope perfectly. “Capture the Light” isn’t actually the best example of this, but it’s a great song.

(Edit to add, 2010: I’ve got a new favorite, or I would have if it had ever been recorded: XTC’s “Playground”, a song about school bullying and how you never quite outgrow it, sung by Lily Allen. Even if it wasn’t for this comic, I’d play that all day!)

Those are just the first songs I could think of. Quirky yet tough, upbeat but with a scent of drama – that’s the flavor I’m looking for.