The Fanboy Comics crew attended San Diego Comic-Con’s 2nd annual Musical Anatomy of a Superhero: Bringing a Comics Book to Life panel, which involved leading Hollywood composers discussing the creation of the musical voice behind the hero, explaining the challenges when bringing a comic book character or story to life, and writing music to reflect the storyline. From the rising score of Marvel Studios’ recent comic book films to the impactful and emotional music underlying the episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the recent sci-fi epic Edge of Tomorrow, music often acts as a character in its own right to bring our favorite superhero properties to life on the big and small screens.
The lineup of panelists included composers Brian Tyler (Avengers: Age of Ultron), Tyler Bates (Guardians of the Galaxy), Blake Neely (CW’s The Flash), John Ottman (X-Men: Days of Future Past), Graeme Revell (Fox’s Gotham), and Christophe Beck (Edge of Tomorrow). Fans in attendance were treated to a series of clips from the panelists’ most recent films and television shows, which highlighted the impact of a score on the intensity of a scene. The panelists fielded a series of questions, including whether they were beholden to mimicking the scores for properties which had previously appeared in TV and film (like X-Men, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Superman), the length of time that they are generally given to write and produce a score, and the process of working with the creative teams (e.g., writers, directors, producers, actors, etc.) of films and TV shows. (Accrording to Beck, actors at the level of Tom Cruise will – and have – made time in their schedules to participate in the process of developing the score and integrating it into the final project.) Interestingly, many of the composers sited legendary composer John Williams as the biggest influence on their work as a whole and, specifically, on their compositions dealing with superhero properties.
Composer Tyler Bates spoke a great deal regarding his work with director James Gunn on the score for Guardians of the Galaxy. Having been told by Gunn that the film would need to feel like a rock opera, Bates was given a number of months to both pull together classic and memorable songs, as well as to compose original orchestral music, to create a score that would suit the story of the space cowboys and keep audiences on the edge of their seats.
As a special treat, the audience was treated to a never-before-scene clip of the upcoming Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, showcasing an exciting action sequence with a similarly high octane score.
Overall, the panelists emphasized the integral nature that music plays within our favorite movies and TV shows.