‘The Smiths’ Get Their Own Comic Book


A few years ago, a comic book anthology titled Comic Book Tattoo was published as a tribute to the genius music of Tori Amos. Tori’s music was used as the inspiration for comic book stories that were illustrated and published in this anthology. Today we learn that the same is going to be done for The Smiths. Unite and Take Over will be published in anthology form collecting comic book stories inspired by the music of The Smiths. Wanna learn more? Read on below.

What if the Smiths’ songs were comics? An American publisher is taking that idea to the printing-press, organising a new anthology that transforms songs such as Girlfriend in a Coma and How Soon Is Now? into comic-book stories. Each tune will unspool as a four-to-eight-page comic strip, with the whole thing published in November. Unite and Take Over: Comic Stories Inspired by the Smiths is the brainchild of Shawn Demumbrum, a Phoenix, Arizona comics geek who clearly likes his Batman with a dash of melancholy. Instead of imagining Morrissey and Johnny Marr as vinyl-wielding superheroes who seek out happiness and, er, destroy it, the Smiths’ influence on Unite and Take Over is subtle. “What’s the story that plays in your head when you listen to your favourite Smiths songs?” he explains in a promotional video. The book’s authors use these songs as “an inspiration, a jumping-off point, a theme or a mood”. In an email to the Guardian, he added: “As a teen in the 80s, one of my favourite soundtracks was the Pretty in Pink soundtrack. While training for cross country, I played the cassette over and over on my Walkman as I ran. There was always something about the Smiths’ Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want. It tapped into my teenage psyche, a combination of loneliness and yet hopeful optimism, that only Morrissey’s vocals seem to capture.” Demumbrum is funding the project on the crowdsourcing website Kickstarter, hoping to raise $3,000 (£1,841) toward printing costs and ISBN codes, as well as to license song lyrics from the Smiths themselves. He has already gathered 13 writer/artist teams, each of whom will take on a different Smiths classic. Although the anthology lacks any major names, most of the contributors are indie comics veterans, including Christian Vilaire, Henry Barajas, Jeff Pina and Shelby Robertson. The finished product, which will run to at least 72 illustrated pages, is due out at the upcoming Tucson Comic-Con.

Brilliant. Just brilliant. I LOVE Comic Book Tattoo and was very impressed with the way Tori’s music was turned into comic book stories. I think the music of The Smiths will work excellently for a project like this. I’m a fan, I can’t wait to hear/see more.


  • jessicagiovanna

    My old High School self is excited.. I loved the smiths.. I drove across texas last year singing all the old songs.. w/ my husband and son passed out in the back seat.. lol

  • For all those interested, you can currently pledge through Kickstarter to secure a copy (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/756324374/unite-and-take-over-comic-stories-inspired-by-the). We won’t be able to solicit it through comic book and bookstore distributors, so pledging through Kickstart is the only way to get your copy before the holiday season.