Guest List: Brenden Fletcher & Babs Tarr on the Neon Thrum of Motor Crush

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Guest List: Brenden Fletcher & Babs Tarr on the Neon Thrum of <i>Motor Crush</i>

In Guest List, Paste’s favorite artists and auteurs reveal the music that’s inspired some of their most seminal works.

STL027543.jpeg Brenden Fletcher, Babs Tarr and Cameron Stewart lit a fire under the collective asses of the Big Two at DC and Marvel when they revamped Batgirl into a hyper-contemporary, forward-thinking pacesetter with style and attitude to spare. Within months of their debut on the book (and Tarr’s debut, period—an epic first entry into mainstream comics), both companies did their best to replicate the hype and accessibility of the trio’s work on Barbara Gordon.

Like the Young Avengers/WicDic team of Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie and Matt Wilson before them, Fletcher, Tarr and Stewart have decamped to Image to put their creative alchemy to use on a wholly original concept: Motor Crush. The series follows Domino Swift, a worldwide motorcycle racing league competitor who lives a double life between the track and the streets, where she busts the heads of rival gangs hustling over an engine-boosting “machine narcotic” known as Crush.

To celebrate the release of Motor Crush #1, Paste invited Fletcher and Tarr to provide their playlists for the book’s frenetic race scenes and pulsing back-alley brawls. But first, here’s a look at some of the pages from the kinetic debut chapter.

Motor Crush #1 Interior Art by Babs Tarr & Cameron Stewart

Motor Crush #1 Interior Art by Babs Tarr & Cameron Stewart

Motor Crush #1 Interior Art by Babs Tarr & Cameron Stewart

Motor Crush #1 Interior Art by Babs Tarr & Cameron Stewart


Brenden Fletcher on the Music behind Motor Crush

I spend a lot of time in my head. Writing comics involves a lot more than typing words and requires a lot of time staring at walls, imagining new worlds and new characters, narrative twists and tangles and often inventive ways of creating action set-pieces. I lean on music to help push my head into the spaces the story needs, and where Motor Crush is concerned, those needs often involve imagining raging hordes of growling motorcycles tearing through the neon-lit city streets of seaside villa, Nova Honda.

Racing movies, motorcycle movies, gang movies—they all lean on hot tracks to set the vibe and to drive (!) the action. From “Born to be Wild” in Easy Rider to Geinoh Yamashirogumi’s eclectic score for anime classic Akira to the slick pop tracks in the Fast and the Furious series, music and speed go hand in hand. We don’t have the benefit of motion on the static page of our comic books, but music can still go a long way toward setting the stage.

My co-creator Babs Tarr and I hope you get a chance to sync up some of the following choice tracks to Motor Crush #1—a story about a young woman torn between her public life on the racing circuit and her nighttime battles against the motorcycle gangs of Nova Honda—currently available in better comic shops everywhere and on devices via Comixology and Image Comics digital download.


Brenden Fletcher’s Playlist

“Ochansensu-su,” tricot

Stylin’ on the WGP circuit! Brings to mind some of that Yoko Kanno coolness of Cowboy Bebop (a major influence on Motor Crush!). Imagine stylized, quick cut-up footage of all these motorcycle racers from all over the world showing off on the track to millions of people worldwide via video blips on their various life-screens. This track is by Kyoto math-rock band, tricot—three amazing ladies making some of the most incredible music of the 20-teens.


“In the Grottos,” Caveboy

Emotions. Domino thinks about Lola. A lot. This song is the closest thing you’ll get to a preview of Motor Crush #2 for now. It’s all about regret and things lost and the ability to see beyond it all to a bright future. Caveboy are a band out of MTL whose lead singer Michelle Bensimon (full disclosure) provided the lead vocals for the Black Canary album I created for DC Comics, along with “In The Grottos” producer/genius, Joseph Donovan.


“Call 2,” Ugandan Methods & Prurient

Street racing is dirty. This is the kind of grinding techno you need in your ears to imagine the pain of the Cannonball—the no-rules street race all the gangs take part in for a chance to win a few vials of precious “machine narcotic” Crush. Domino Swift is all about the Cannonball.


“1. 0_3-fucksociety.mp3,” Mac Quayle

Music to steal shit by. This is Domino sneaking around, fucking shit up, looking out for herself. I’m really into Mr. Robot right now and Mac Quayle’s score from the show gives me life.


“SCREAM,” Grimes ft. Aristophanes

I feel modern techno colliding with The Pillows’ guitar here. Brings back that FLCL vibe, pumps up the bass and cranks it all to 11. Motor Crush was born out of my desire to create a wild, unpredictable series like anime classic FLCL so songs that trigger my sense memory for head-robots and so-wrong adolescent relationships immediately go on the list.


“Miami Lawgiver,” Geoff Barrow & Ben Salisbury

Neon-soaked badass biker cruising the streets of Nova Honda on a sleek, slick motor machine. This track from the rejected original score for the film Dredd feels like it matches the color scheme of our comic perfectly.


“Nightfall In Neo-Tokyo,” Bwana

This track is for Cameron! ;)

Can’t have a Motor Crush playlist without a nod to the incredible Geinoh Yamashirogumi score from Akira, a major touchstone for our new series (just check out Cameron’s killer, dynamic race scene layouts!). In this case, the Akira score comes to you via the twisty lens of Bwana’s fun and very modern remix, available for free download here.


Babs Tarr’s Playlist

“Wow,” Beck

This song is smooth as silk and effortlessly cool, just like our lead! Dom would def have this song on repeat riding her motorcycle along the beach during the Nova Honda sunset.


“Vroom Vroom,” Charli XCX

Playful and flirty driving battle cry song! Self explanatory ;)


“TRNDSTTR (Lucian Remix),” Black Coast

Another one from Dom’s playlist.


Hotline Miami OST

[According to Fletcher, this is Tarr’s “ultimate pick”]

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