Marshall Lee, the singing, guitar-playing vampire (boy) king in red plaid and jeans from the Fionna and Cake universe of Adventure Time, is taking center stage in a new comic -- and the gender-swapped version of Marceline is arriving with three stories ... and an original song.
Available now only from ComiXology and Kindle, Adventure Time: Marshall Lee Spectacular is a 22-page comic from Boom! Studios and Cartoon Network Enterprises that features two entries about the fan-favorite character from writer and artist S.M. Vidaurri (Jim Henson's The Storyteller: Witches); a fully painted cover by cartoonist Fábio Moon; and stories from the creative teams of Mariko Tamaki and artist Audrey Mok and Melanie Gillman and artist Trungles.
But in addition to writing the tale "Disqualified" with artist Asia Kendrick-Horton (Steven Universe) -- where Prince Gumball tries to out-villain Marshall Lee -- Vidaurri also writes and draws (and composes) "It’s Not Hard to Be Bad," a one-page song for Marshall Lee to sing while playing guitar.
With music on the mind, Syfy Wire asked Vidaurri to give us his own inspirational playlist behind "It's Hard Not to Be Bad." In the entries below, Vidaurri explains why they're perfect tunes for a Marshall Lee playlist. What's better is the playlist is actually live now on Spotify, so download the Marshall Lee Spectacular from ComiXology and give the music a listen as you read.
"Death on Two Legs"
Vidaurri: I love this song because it has such a hard edge, but at the same time, it's Queen. And Queen's hard is still so quintessentially Queen it’s hard not to just smile. The lead guitar is trying just a bit too hard as it dissolves into vocal harmony. Also, the insult 'your narrow-minded cronies who are fools of the first division' is such a fun insult it barely registers as a slight. It's no doubt Freddie Mercury had some real issues to work out here, and they still shine through, but the production and backing vocals doubling Mercury's "Feel Good!" couch it in the fanfare that Queen is famous for. Written as an insult to their former manager, I'm sure it hurt when he listened to it, but everyone else got an awesome Queen song. When Mercury used to introduce the song he would dedicate it to: a real motherfu**** of a gentleman, which kind of puts a fine point on it.
"I Get Along Without You Very Well (Except Sometimes)"
When I heard Donald Glover sing "Bad Little Boy" I immediately thought of Baker. Glover has such a smooth, beautiful, even voice that is mournful in its sincerity, but at the same time holds a hint of the bluster of trying to be something you're not. In Glover's portrayal of Marshall, it's being truly bad and evil. Which brought me to Baker, who also is putting on a face, whether it be of a hardened jazz trumpeter or, in the case of this song, someone who's gotten over their relationship. Trying to convince others is always easier than trying to convince yourself.
Mary Ann Fisher
"Ray Charles Feat"
The way Mary Anne Fischer sings this song, you don't really think that "What Kind of Man Are You" is a question, but more a rhetorical statement. She knows exactly what kind of man you are. In the case of Prince Gumball and Marshall Lee's relationship, Gumball is always annoyed with Marshall but like everyone else knows that deep down Marshall isn't really the jerk he likes to pretend to be.
"I'm Not Down"
Mick Jones is another who wanted to be hardcore but could never get past the fact his songwriting abilities leaned more toward Queen than Sex Pistols. Just by chord choice and vocal melody, "I'm Not Down" is a far cry from "Anarchy in the UK"'s three-chord jaunt. It betrays someone who really wanted to make a beautiful song and not someone like Johnny Rotten, who was really using the music as more of a means to an end.
"Mean and Nasty"
I think my favorite thing about Marshall Lee is the fact that he really is sensitive to how others perceive him. Truly evil people don't tell people they are evil, they usually trick you into thinking they are something else entirely; they get far telling you how much they can do for you, not how much you have to fear from them. Vic's folksy take on "Mean and Nasty" from This, an album which saw a new take on some of his best solo songs, felt like something right up Marshall's avenue. Vic Ruggiero is usually known for his lead singing and organ work with The Slackers but when he plays by himself his fascination with country and early rock and roll shines through even more clearly.
The Young Legs
"Ring of Salt"
Another thing that struck me about "Bad Little Boy" was that, to convince Fionna that he's truly evil, he sang such a sensitive and gentle song. I think Marshall Lee likes to tell everyone he listens to hard rock, and he's got an axe-shaped guitar, but really he learns jazz chords and fingerpicking. I think The Young Legs is more in line with what Marshall Lee would have on his phone.
"Mack the Knife"
Picked this one because it is far and away my favorite song about bad guys. Many people have covered it, but to me Armstrong's version is the only one worth listening to. As Armstrong's ability to play trumpet faded as he aged, he moved into the space of a jazz crooner, a place in which he wasn't always viewed as warmly. A lot of people considered this less 'serious' than his virtuoso trumpet work with his Hot Fives & Sevens, especially as jazz moved into the bebop phase. But in the end, Armstrong's most enduring work wouldn't be the fact that he upended the jazz stage with his cornet playing and changed jazz from a band focus to a soloist's tool, but songs like "What A Wonderful World," in which he doesn't even touch a trumpet. So in the end, Armstrong's ability to know what he was about endured. Maybe a bit cerebral for this playlist but, I am a huge fan of Armstrong, so ….
"I'm the Wolf"
If you want songs where someone's trying to convince you how bad they are, a look through Howlin' Wolf's catalogue would keep you sustained for quite a while.
Mott The Hoople
I like this song.
"Say You'll Be There"
Another song with mixed signals. A lot of people at the time couldn't figure out what this song meant, like Entertainment Weekly, which wrote in its review: "Let's see: She wants to be friends, he wants more, and yet she croons, 'I'm giving you everything/All that joy can bring'? She's as confused as I am." But it's not that hard to figure it out! In the first verse -- Baby Spice sings: Last time, that we had this conversation I decided we should be friends. Baby cements the relationships goals here. Later, Posh sings the pre-chorus of: But any fool can see they're falling, I gotta make you understand. Which leads into the, I'm giving you everything, which is the source of confusion for some. See, the Spice Girls are giving you everything, but they want to give it on their terms. That's what this review didn't get. Can it be more clear than: If you put two and two together, You will see what our friendship is for? Mixed signals in pop music; you've only got to look past the surface.
Carly Rae Jepsen
"I'm not that good at goodbyes, sometimes it's best to just fly." Enough said.
The baddest song there is!