The Ballad of ‘Watchmen’s’ Hollis Wadsworth Mason, Jr.
Before Adam WarRock arrived on the scene, songs about superheroes used to be a thing of camp. A few of them were outstanding — like The Ramones’s cover of the 1966 Spider-Man cartoon theme song — but most are embarrassingly bad, like Vanilla Ice’s “Ninja Rap” from “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze.”
Today, thanks to Franz Nicolay, we have a rare, well crafted and awesome song about superheros. This one concerns a minor but important character from “Watchmen”: Hollis Mason.
In the seminal DC Comics graphic novel by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons, Hollis Mason, Jr. is the original Nite Owl, a Golden Age crimefighter prone to fisticuffs. Following his retirement from superheroics, Mason’s tell-all book, “Under the Hood,” causedquite a stir in the costumed community. The mantle of Nite Owl is later picked up by Daniel Dreiberg, a gadget-innovating hero in the mold of the Blue Beetle, who carries the Nite Owl role throughout the story. For his part, Mason met a tragic end.
Written and performed by Franz Nicolay, the ballad of “Hollis Wadsworth Mason, Jr.” is lyrically brilliant and performed with only one instrument: an accordion. Nicolay, the Brooklyn-based composer, wrote this track as part of a four-song EP he released titled, “St. Sebastian of the Short Stage.” The “Ballad Of Hollis Wadsworth Mason, Jr.” is one of the more upbeat songs on the EP, which you can purchase here.
On the subject of songs about superheroes, can you recommend any good ones?