June 22, 2018 / 1:44 AM

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Comics and Music: Eminem, Prince, KISS and More Make Guest Appearances with Superman, The Punisher and Others


Run The Jewels got to experience this week what most of us can only dream about: Being referenced on a comic book cover. The hip-hop duo's signature gun-and-fist logo was recreated on the covers of Howard The Duck #2 and Deadpool #45. 

"Comic books are a part of the creative world of a kid in an urban environment," El-P told Rolling Stone. "You might not admit it on record, but you talk to almost every rapper - we all grew up with that s--t. I guarantee you like 80 percent of any rappers that you meet probably went through a large comic book phase."

Some performers have one-upped Run The Jewels on this front however, not only being inspiration to comic book art but actually appearing in comics. Not necessarily always for the best. Check out eight appearances from over the years: 

Pat Boone meets Superman (1958)

Lois Lane has a serious crush on Superman. And Pat Boone as it turns out. She stays loyal however when she meets her pop icon and the pair make plans to write a hit song about their mutual appreciation for Superman. However, because the superhero is so ingrained in Lane's mind, the first letter of each line of the song end up spelling "CLARK KENT," which eventually someone would've figured out? Superman finds it worth it to reveal his identity to Boone, who agrees to write new lyrics. As would we, if propositioned by a superhuman capable of crushing our face. 

KISS meets Howard The Duck (1977) 

Howard The Duck is less often about fighting crime, and in this case a fight he starts on a public bus in Ohio leads to he and his companions being incarcerated in a medical facility. Our protagonist is given drugs to calm him down, which later result in him hallucinating that the band KISS is emerging from his friend's head. Except the doctor can see it to, so who the heck knows. This would begin a long run in comics for KISS, who would eventually have its own line of comics from Marvel. The first issue had blood from all four members mixed into the red ink. Knowing how Gene Simmons behaved during the '70s...this can only be bad. 

Prince is Batman. Kind of. (1991)

Prince is the kind of dude who makes for a classic Frank Miller-type comic hero. He's got all sorts of weird quirks, most of which materialize into nothing. It makes sense that if any musician had known an evil villain during his youth, an evil villain who would return to use the power of music to destroy the Earth, it would probably be Prince. How the Purple One is also the only force capable of reckoning with this villain is beyond us however. Fortunately he does so, laying the smack down on enemies...and referring to himself as "Batman" in the process. So while being a "real" version of Batman, he's still pretending to be Batman in his head. That...we can actually totally understand. 

Aerosmith meets Shadowman (1992) 

If we were a '70s animated children's TV show, we admit Aerosmith would be the perfect band for traveling around New Orleans and investigating a mystery. If we were a relatively rough-edged superhero like Shadowman, we would not at all let Aerosmith help us out. Nonetheless, the band ended up helping the obscure hero during "Darque Fantasy," and we read through it, expecting a revelation to come forward that Steven Tyler and the hero were brothers, based on face-shape alone. 

Onyx does Onyx (1995)

Marvel had previously attempted to get into the business of doing legitimate (story-wise...not business-wise) biographies of rock stars. Then the inevitable happened: The musicians became heroes themselves. The first group to buy-in was hip-hop group Onyx, who were promised full creative control...for better or for worse. The resulting manuscript, Onyx: Fight, featured the rappers living in a post-apocalyptic version of New York City, somewhat like Escape From New York, where the band is forced to use extreme violence to fight off alien clans and rescue their girlfriends. If you expected a peaceful resolution, you didn't listen to Bacdafucup

Billy Ray Cyrus Travels Through Time (1995) 

Following along the same lines as Onyx, Billy Ray Cyrus became the new face of superheroes. Unlike, Onyx, this was helmed by a legit expert: Paul S. Newman, the most prolific writer of comic books in history. Which means it has a premise about as sensible as any other. Cyrus, rocking the mullet of his glory days, can travel through time. And in the process he hangs out with Native American ghosts (as any good cowboy would) and then travels back to the Middle Ages to combat knights with far more bada-- armor than we recall from our history books. And then he plays a show in Nashville. 

Eminem meets The Punisher (2009) 

Eminem's limo gets stopped by The Punisher while traveling Detroit and the antihero, always known for his patience, kills most of the rapper's posse. That incident fools Eminem into thinking Barracuda is on his side, while the villain has actually been hired by the Parents Music Resource Center to kill Eminem and get his lyrics off the air. Barracuda gets a little too excited when he finds out his nemesis is in the area, leading to a battle in which Eminem catches the distracted villain off guard and kills him with a chainsaw. The issue ends with The Punisher heading toward PMRC headquarters with the intent of, uh, chastising them for hiring a murderer to do its dirty work. Yes, this issue basically ends with a threat on Tipper Gore's life. 

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