It wasn't that long ago that a few brave filmmakers realized that it was in fact possible to make a superhero movie that didn't suck IQ points from an audience and might even, surprise surprise, be somewhat faithful to their comic-book origin. Heath Ledger winning a posthumous Best Supporting Actor Oscar for playing The Joker in The Dark Knight certainly didn't hurt the genre's credibility, nor did the fact that the film made like $1.21 gigadollars.
So, Hollywood being Holly-is-a-gonna, we're slated to see a nice selection of superhero flicks this summer like Green Lantern and Thor.
Rocks Off tends to call our local musicians "hometown heroes," because if we were a Batman villain we would be the Alliterator! (Trust us, he's fought lamer.) Even though the moniker is just a phrase born from our own psychotic compulsion, it did make us wonder what we would end up with if some of our favorite local rockers were gifted with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men.
Before we go any further, Rocks Off bets you, true believers, that at least one of these involves invisibility and a girls' locker room.
Naturally, flying topped the list, with all but one musician polled at least mentioning that it would be nice. Personally, we don't really see it. Have you ever looked at your grill after a 70 mph drive between Austin and Houston? See the corpses of thousand of insects? That could be your eyes and teeth. There's no way Superman wasn't sporting some serious bug legs wedged between his pearly whites.
Practical guy that he is, Lee Alexander choose flight for a good reason: It would make schlepping amps up the stars at Rudyard's a lot easier. That's not exactly something the Avengers are looking for, but having hauled bass amps up the stairs at Avant Garden, we cab certainly sympathize.
Alexander also claimed he would use his powers to hang Christmas lights, effect roof repairs and clean pinecones out of his gutters. This proves something we have always secretly known - Lee Alexander's alter ego is in fact Ned Flanders. It should be noted that Alexander mentioned that the rest of his band unanimously choose invisibility "because they're skulking perverts."
See, we told you so.
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But come on, guys! There is no theoretical boundary here! It's not like Rocks Off is actually handing out superpowers here and we're out of stock on the wacky ones. Doesn't anyone have something a bit more esoteric?
"If I had a superpower I would want the ability to spontaneously self-combust," said Dre Giles of The Lotus Effect. We knew we could count on him.
"It's always been a dream of mine to be doing a show and all the conditions are just right: The universe is in alignment, the music hits the right energetic frequency, parallel dimensions merge and I spontaneously explode. The microphone careens across the stage and chunks of body matter spray the audience.
"Sure I'd be dead, but if just one person was like, 'Man, that dude just blew up. This is the best show I've ever been to in my life,' It would be worth it."
Interestingly enough, there is a rock-star superhero, but we wouldn't hold our breath as far as seeing her in a major motion picture anytime soon - even if she is an X-Man. Her name was Dazzler, and she was developed in the '70s as a cross-promotion between Casablanca Records and Marvel Comics.
Marvel would provide the comic book, and Casablanca would provide the real-life singer! Then the two companies would put together the pile of money they made and make a movie and even bigger pile of money. Oh happy day.
Since most of you are asking who the hell Dazzler was, you can probably assume that this plan went off like a scheme by Killer Croc. The main problem is that no one really wanted to develop the character, who started off life as The Disco Queen. Archie Comics writer Tom DeFalco took a stab at making her into something viable, but with so many big plans for the character there were a lot of people pushing and shoving to get some input into the project.
First she was supposed to look like Grace Jones, then Bo Derek, then someone - read: everyone - realized disco was lame and changed her name to Dazzler. Eventually, even though she'd been hyped in X-Men, Spider-Man, and the woefully un-hyphenated Fantastic Four, Casablanca dropped out of the deal and Dazzler more or less faded away to nothing.
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And what power does this rock star actually have? She makes light. She absorbs sound, preferably music, and converts it into light. Not light fists and hammers like Green Lantern. With great effort, Dazzler can produce a laser beam about twice as concussive as a grocery-store scanner. She can also use her lights to blind people, which we can do with a $4 laser pointer.
Rocks Off finds it very significant that no real life rock-star we talked to asked for this "power."
Jef With One F is the author of The Bible Spelled Backwards Does Not Change the Fact That You Cannot Kill David Arquette and Other Things I Learned In the Black Math Experiment, available now.