Our Songs Are Better: Part 1
|"Our Songs Are Better: Part 1"|
|First published||December 21, 2016|
|Written by||Kelly Thompson|
|Art by||Jenn St-Onge|
|Colors by||M. Victoria Robado|
|Letters by||Shawn Lee|
|Edits by||Sarah Gaydos|
Faced with a difficult decision regarding The Misfits' future, Pizzazz reflects on the things that brought them together.
At Pizzazz’s beachfront home, The Misfits are having what is supposed to be a friendly volleyball game, the highly competitive nature of three of its four participants changing that tone. After Pizzazz’s teammate Blaze smacks the ball, both teams begin celebrating, each believing they scored a point. As Pizzazz and Jetta argue, Blaze attempts to get her bandmates to calm down to no avail. Roxy meanwhile turns to Stormer, the game’s ostensible referee, to call it, only for her to have ended up not actually paying attention to what was going on. As she nervously calls it Pizzazz and Blaze’s point, Clash emerges from the house to tell Pizzazz that Eric Raymond has arrived.
Inviting Clash to sub in for her, Pizzazz asks her band’s manager what the deal is. Giving the news to her straight, as she requests, Eric informs Pizzazz that he’s been unable to find a single label willing to touch The Misfts and that, as far as he can tell, the band is over. As they head back inside, Pizzazz demands to know how that can be possible, as bands get dropped from and picked back up by labels all the time, prompting Eric to tell her that Five By Five hasn’t exactly been shy about sharing horror stories from The Misfits time under their umbrella. Sitting down and taking Madmartigan into her arms as she wonders aloud about what she’s going to tell her bandmates. Though she recognizes that her short and powerful temper has gotten the band into a lot of the trouble its in, she also believes Jem and the Holograms and The Stingers played no small part in getting them kicked from their label. As she rages, Eric quietly lowers his head and tells Pizzazz that he may have a way to save The Misfits, but that she’s not going to like it… a Misfits reality TV show!
True to his prediction, Pizzazz immediately flies off the handle, refusing to believe that’s the only way to save the band, to which Eric tells her that he’s also received an offer from a cruiseline, and not even a good one. Going back out to the deck, Pizzazz expresses disbelief that The Misfits have fallen so far. Trying to show her an upside to doing the TV show, Eric informs her that the network wants Pizzazz, and the rest of The Misfits for that matter, to be themselves, trying to capitalize on their reputation for the dramatic and the perception of them as The Holograms’ nemeses as much as they possibly can. Though Pizzazz does admit to feeling some temptation from that, she still gives a hard no. Eric asks why she’s so vehemently against it, thinking that having to do a reality show isn’t exactly a high price to pay for saving the band. Pizzazz tells him that it’s the lack of artistry in it that disgusts her so much, that she’s a musician with a true passion and belief in her art, not some hack just looking for 15 minutes of fame. Turning to leave, Eric tells her that just because most reality TV stars are like that doesn’t mean that she and her band need to be like that and that she’ll be able to make the show about their music as much as she wants and that, if its a success, neither The Holograms or The Stingers will be able to touch them again. Saying she still needs to think about it, Pizzazz looks back out on the beach to see Roxy, Jetta, and Clash getting into another fight over the rules. Amused by the sight, Pizzazz’s mind begins to look back on where she and her band has come from…
11 years ago, Phyllis Gabor is sitting alone in the office of the lawyer handling her parent’s divorce. The lawyer, Mr. Gould nervously informs her that both her parents have called to inform him that they’re unable to attend this meeting, both having already signed the paperwork necessary to finalize their divorce in advance, and that he needs to inform her that her father has secured full custody of her and that her mother only has visitation rights for every other Christmas. Trying to comfort her, Gould lets her know that these rather harsh terms aren't necessarily set in stone and that he's sure that if one had known the other wouldn't be there, at least one of her parents would've shown, though Phyllis remains unconvinced. Leaving in the back of her father's limousine, Phyllis tearfully demands that the driver take her down Sunset Boulevard. As they pass in front of it, Phyllis asks her driver to stop in front of a theater, though he tells her there's no way she's going to be able to get inside. With a smile, she tells him that she will someday.
Pizzazz's thoughts then turn to how she assembled her band just 3 years earlier. How one by one she lucked into finding each of her three bandmates at a critical moment. She first approached Mary Phillips just after a post show argument between her two diva bandmates and complimented her on the third song of their set, the only one that she'd written, noting that Mary seemed to have a storm brewing inside her. The pair then found their drummer in Roxanne Pelligrini, who despite intially taking umbrage at Phyllis' shortening of her name, warmed up to them once they took notice that her current group's sound wasn't giving her the opportunity she needed to let her talents run loose. At Roxy's urging, they then sought out Sheila Burns for their fourth member and, after a night of what seemed like fruitless searching around the city, found her tackling and running her former bandmate off right out the front door of the club they were playing. The next year, The Misfits found their assistant Constance Montgomer when she was a barista who immediately saw through the alias Pizzazz had placed her order under and, at the rising star's compliment of her coffee brewing skills and job offer, immediately hopped the counter and got to work clearing the crowd her own fangirling had caused to gather.
Finally, Pizzazz's thoughts turn to just a few months prior, when Blaze approached her wanting to talk. Though she was nervous at first, she eventually comes out and tells Pizzazz that she knows about the pressure for the band to drop her now that she's recovered and that if it comes down to her staying or the band falling apart, she loves The Misfits far too much to be responsible for wrecking them. Putting a hand on her shoulder, Pizzazz tells her former replacement that she's part of the Misfits family now who adds her own certain something to the band and that she's staying, even going so far to give Blaze a hug to reassure her, though she immediately adds that she's not to tell anyone else about it. With that moment in mind, Pizzazz remembers that The Misfits are her family now and that she'll be damned if she lets anyone break them up.
Calling her bandmates inside, their initial reactions to being told about what it's going to take to save the band mirror Pizzazz's own, two weeks later The Misfits all find themselves being interviewed by Rick Tenenbaum once again about their upcoming reality show. As he asks what their fans can expect to see, Pizzazz can only smile and tell him that they're going to learn just about all there is to know...
(Numbers indicate order of appearance.)
- The various incidents Pizzazz mentions of her acting out in public occurred back in Jem's first story arc, including smashing her guitar in front of the film crew, yelling at Rick Tenenbaum on TV, and getting baited into starting the food fight between The Misfits and The Holograms.
- Young Pizzazz dreams of playing at Rocky's on Sunset... which is also the same club who's owner canceled The Misfits' show in favor of letting The Stingers play in issue 18 of Jem. Ouch!
- The Misfits were dropped by 5x5 in issue 20 of Jem.
Real world references
- Rocky's, the venue a young Pizzazz dreams of performing in, is based on the famous Roxy Theatre in West Hollywood. As mentioned above, it was previously seen in issue 18 of Jem.
- Pizzazz's mother only having visitation rights for every other Christmas somewhat clashes with Pizzazz's claim in the Jem Holiday Special that she's Jewish. Maybe her father is Christian?
- In the fifth panel on page 9, Rick Tenenbaum's name is mispelled as Rick Tannenbaum.
- In the fifth panel on page 21, Blaze's neckline isn't colored in with her skin color, making the color of the water she's running in front of visible in its place.
- In the fourth panel of page 22, Pizzazz's bikini is missing the skull pattern it has in the rest of the issue.
- Digital versions of this issue contain a "Digital Ashcan" for Love Is Love, a comics anthology from IDW and DC raising money for survivors of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting.
- Teenage goth Pizzazz is adorable.
- Regular cover: The Misfits, by M. Victoria Robado
- Subscription cover: Pizzazz in a limousine, by Jenn St-Onge
- Retailer incentive cover: The Misfits, by George Caltsoudas
- Blank cover: A blank sketch cover with the comic's logo at the top, by whoever you have draw on it