Thursday, October 30, 2014
The Superhero Theme Project: Overdosing on Venom
Venom, as a character, does not play a role in any of her current books or TV, so I thought that would be the end of it. The next morning, however, she asked who that “black guy” was at the grocery store.
That one took me a minute.
Eventually, however, I figured out what she meant. She carefully practiced saying Venom’s name properly and told me that he needed to “be on my phone.” Like immediately.
Now, Venom was one of the reasons that we stopped watching Ultimate Spider-Man last year. She doesn’t remember, but the times he was on the show, he kinda freaked her out. While the bust on the juice was pretty tame, Venom is usually depicted as monstrous, with sharp teeth, snaking tongue, and a veined, hypermuscular physique. No two ways about it, he can be frightening. I tried to remind her that Venom was a “bad guy” and that he was kind of scary. This did not matter to her one bit. Over the next two days, she became obsessed with Venom and wanted to hear what he sounded like.
I certainly wanted to take advantage of her enthusiasm, but like The Hulk, I had to navigate this one carefully. I found a picture (seen above) that was creepy, but not too monstrous, and I examined several themes that seemed appropriate. I started with the Venom theme from Spider-Man 3, which I did like, but this score is commercially unavailable. The composer for Spider-Man 3, Christopher Young, did the soundtrack for Nightmare on Elm Street 2, which had a creepy theme that I personally liked.
Still, I did not want to overly accentuate Venom’s more terrifying characteristics. Even though she would have no context for the nightmarish Freddy Kruger, that choice did not sit right with me. My research for She-Hulk, however, put the soundtrack for the recent Godzilla movie on my radar. I felt this theme was too fearsome for She-Hulk, but it had just enough unease to make for a convincing Venom theme. Plus, it has a great 15/8 riff that I was personally attracted to. I gotta keep myself entertained here, too.
The Little One liked it – a whole lot. She asked everyone she knew if they knew who Venom was and happily told them that he was on my phone. When I asked her what was so cool about it, she said that “Spider Man’s song is happy, but Venom’s is angry.” I agreed wholeheartedly. The problem now is that it is the only song on the playlist that she wants to listen to.
I kinda get why. We have been listening to the playlist in its entirety on shuffle now for over a month solid, and she has reacted very well to the additions to the list. I have been a little concerned, though, that she won’t connect with these newer songs in the same way as she did the older songs on the playlist. She can sing Aquaman (AKA the Great Gate at Kiev) and others from this era on command, but she has been listening to these compositions on and off for almost a year now. Mixed in with the more recent additions, the earlier selections on the list continue to get reinforced while simultaneously decreasing the chances that we will hear the new ones enough to make them similarly meaningful.
Yesterday, I decided to concede to her wildest dreams. Just to see what would happen, I put Venom on repeat for the entire ride home. She was ecstatic and listened intently the entire time. Today, however, she requested it, listened to it twice, sang along with parts of it, and then said that she was done. When the shuffle came back on, she said that she didn’t want to listen to any other superheroes. She wanted, and I quote, some “fresh music.”
Ooooookay. It seemed like the success of Venom might have shed some light on the more stagnant tracks on the playlist, potentially putting the Superhero Theme Project on ice for awhile. I pushed play on some Ethno-Jazz and let it go for the rest of the commute. Just as we turned into our driveway, however, she spontaneously sang the opening string riff to Hawkman (AKA Shostokovich 10, Mvt. 2), which she had never done before. Surprised, I whipped my head around to find her grinning from ear to ear, as if she was trying to see if I was paying attention. I guess I passed the test.
So, I’m not sure what happens next. I’ll keep you posted.
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