Posted April 17, 2013 by John Shanks in Books & Comics

JoCo songs inspire ‘Code Monkey Save World’ graphic novel


New Kickstarter pulling in money like it had its own “Millionaire Girlfriend”

It all started, as with most great works of literature throughout history, on Twitter. Comic book scribe Greg Pak suggested that the characters in some of singer-songwriter Jonathan Coulton’s songs would make great supervillains. Coulton succinctly and emphatically egged him on. Experts agree that this is much the same tack Christopher Marlowe used when convincing Sir Francis Bacon to write “Love’s Labours Won.”

But Marlowe and Bacon didn’t have Kickstarter, an unfortunate side effect of choosing to be born in The Past™.

According to Pak, “Code Monkey Save World” will be the story of the computer programmer protagonist (and now-literal simian) from the song “Code Monkey” as he teams up with the lonely mad scientist from “Skullcrusher Mountain” to fight robots and zombies in an effort to impress the women they love.

Coulton—known as JoCo by his fans—has a way of imbuing his songs with pathos such that the vengeful, spurned little boy from “The Future Soon” becomes a tragic, pitiable character and “Under the Pines” tugs at the heartstrings more than a song about Leonard Nimoy’s one night stand with Bigfoot has any right to. It is this quality that Pak believes makes Coulton’s characters suitable for the graphic novel treatment.


Thanks to Coulton’s enthusiastic fanbase, the Kickstarter was fully funded in under 10 hours and surpassed its first stretch goal before the reward could be posted. The project is now well beyond its $39 thousand goal, which is no surprise when one considers that Coulton has his own annual cruise.

Pak is known for his work with Marvel Comics, including “World War Hulk,” a run on “Incredible Hercules,” the 2011 “Silver Surfer” miniseries, and the chilling “Red Skull Incarnate.”

Coulton bounded to the forefront of geek music with his 2005-2006 “Thing a Week” project, which brought the world the zombie apocalypse sing-along “Re: Your Brains,” the heartbreaking “Code Monkey,” and a melodic cover of Sir Mix-a-Lot’s 1992 classic “Baby Got Back” (which was recently stolen whole cloth by the show “Glee”). In 2011 he released the full-length album “Artificial Heart.”

The art team for the graphic novel will be Takeshi Miyazawa inking, Jessica Kholinne coloring, and Simon Bowland lettering. Miyazawa has worked on Marvel’s “Runaways,” “Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane,” and “Uncanny X-Men.” Kholinne colored “X-Treme X-Men” and “Journey into Mystery.” Bowland has lettered a broad range of comics, from “Alpha Flight” to “Marvel Zombies.”

In addition to digital and physical copies of the graphic novel, some backer levels include its “soundtrack” in the form of all of the Coulton songs that inspired it. Also available as a backer reward is a limited edition sculpted Code Monkey figure—perfect for display in your favorite code monkey’s cubicle.

-By John Shanks

John Shanks

John is an outdoor educator. He enjoys hard and soft science fiction, Eggs Benedict, cowboy folk songs, and old-time radio. His favorite rapper isn't debonair.