In Guest List, Paste’s favorite artists and auteurs reveal the music that’s inspired some of their most seminal works.
Faith Herbert is a lot of things: Valiant Entertainment’s newest solo lead, one of the only plus-sized heroes in comics not defined by her weight, and the irrepressible heart of every book she’s in, a quality amply reflected in writer Jody Houser’s up-and-offbeat playlist for the mini-series.
Houser, quickly gaining attention with runs on licensed properties like Orphan Black and Max Ride as well as one-offs for Marvel and Vertigo, provided Paste with Faith’s personal playlist in advance of the mini-series’ launch today. Like Faith, the tunes are eclectic and endearing, ranging from showtunes to anime theme songs—a range reinforced by the art tag team of Francis Portela and Marguerite Sauvage. With tunes this bright and poppy, you may just find yourself floating through the sky alongside the book’s irresistibly sunny lead.
I spent my childhood listening to my dad’s mix tapes, so it’s probably not a surprise I’ve loved making playlists for writing projects for years, going back to when I made a “soundtrack” for the cast of a play I wrote. I find that putting together a playlist in the early stages of writing helps me nail down key aspects of the characters, tone, etc. in a way that’s sometimes difficult to verbalize. During the writing of the script itself, I’m just as likely to listen to an appropriate movie score or a pop song on endless repeat, but knowing the perfect playlist is there if I need it can help tremendously.
For Faith, I’d actually started on a playlist ages ago during pitching. Unfortunately, it was lost when a flash drive got corrupted. The book has changed so much since then that even if I could remember the songs, they might not be a great fit anymore. So here are my picks for Faith as she stands now, a mix that leans towards the geeky and upbeat.
1. “The Phoenix,” Fall Out Boy
An earworm of a song about rebirth and fighting the good fight. I think this is what Faith would see as a great theme song for this new chapter of her life, even if it doesn’t exactly match the reality of it.
2. “I Wish You Well,” Josie And The Pussycats
Faith is not only coming off of a breakup with her first serious boyfriend, she also walked out on the world’s premier superhero team because their willingness to kill just wasn’t for her. But like this song (from a truly great movie), she’s hopeful rather than bitter.
3. “All Fired Up,” Pat Benatar
“The deepest cuts are healed by faith.” I mean, come on. Also a great track for getting yourself pumped (fired?) up for some crime-fighting.
4. “Yellow Light,” Of Monsters And Men
As confident as Faith is about the path she’s chosen, she still has moments of doubt and fear like everyone else. It doesn’t help that things aren’t going quite the way she planned.
5. “Penny’s Song,” Felicia Day from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog
Faith is a canon fan of Joss Whedon and probably knows the lyrics to all the Dr. Horrible songs. Like Penny, Faith is the light and the heart of any story she’s in. Faith has a happier fate, though.
6. “Say the Word,” Christy Carlson Romano
I have no idea how this song ended up on my radar, as I never watched Kim Possible. But Faith would have, and this song shows the pure idealism in superheroes that she grew up with that helped make her who she is today.
7. “Walking On Air,” Kerli
This song is for that moment when the childhood fantasies became reality for Faith, and she had to make a choice. Also, the title works with her powers of flight.
8. “What ‘bout my star (at Formo),” May’n and Megumi Nakajima from Macross Frontier
There’s almost always a song by composer Yoko Kanno (best known for Cowboy Bebop) on any playlist I make. This song from Macross Frontier is actually a cover sung by a character taking her first steps towards her dream of being a singer, which pairs nicely with Faith following the path of the superheroes she grew up reading about.
9. “Planetary (GO!),” My Chemical Romance
Aside from the fact that it’s from an album that’s basically a comic book in audio form, this song captures the energy and the attitude of the Renegades, the rag-tag team that Faith joined up with when she first developed her powers.
10. “Don’t Panic,” Ellie Goulding
How many roads must a man walk down? 42. Also good advice when setting out on your own for the first time.
11. “LA Song,” Christian Kane
This song may seem a little grim for Faith, but as much as she chooses to be an optimist, she’s still been through war and lost friends. This song ties into the darker thoughts and feelings she rarely lets show, as well as the loneliness of trying to make a new start in Los Angeles. It’s also from the show Angel, which Faith of course rewatched upon moving to LA like a proper Whedon fan.
12. “The Middle,” Jimmy Eat World
Of course, whatever doubts and worries Faith has, she always manages to push through them. Everything will be just fine.
13. “Holding Out For a Hero,” Jennifer Saunders
Yes, this is a song that’s about searching for a hero rather than being a hero. But Faith has a rich fantasy life (as illustrated by Marguerite Sauvage), and this version of the song is a bit less serious than the awesome Bonnie Tyler original.
14. “Confident,” Demi Lovato
One of my favorite things about Faith is that she knows exactly who she is and she’s perfectly comfortable in her own skin. What’s wrong with being confident?
15. “The Power Of Love,” Jennifer Cihi from Sailor Moon
I’m not sure there’s a song that better sums up who Faith is and what she believes in. Gotta love Sailor Moon for its message of friendship and focus on girls saving the world.