Rapper Adam Warrock Talks Marvel Movies, X-Men, SXSW And The State Of Popular Culture

Adam Warrock

Adam Warrock is a busy man. He released his third album, The Middle of Nowhere – an existential meditation on the creative struggle, with songs about Batman and a mid-80’s X-Men story – and has been on tour ever since, making stops to perform at comic shops across the country. He co-writes the web comic Let’s Be Friends Again with artist Chris Haley, and he’s constantly releasing free music on to the internet.

That music Warrock makes is heavily influenced by popular culture, particularly comic books and other geek culture staples. He’s created whole mixtape EPs about Doctor Who, Game of Thrones, and Firefly. Most importantly, the music he makes is very good and has earned him a well-deserved fan following.

Shortly after performing at the Nerd Rap Showcase at SXSW, Warrock made a stop locally and somehow found the time to talk to us about being on the road, his favorite comic books, and share some thoughts about the state of modern pop culture. You can check out Adam Warrock's music, mostly for free, at his website.

ComicBook.com: How long have you been touring now, consecutively?

Adam Warrock: This is like the fourth month of separate tours. There was one in December, one in January, one in February, and then March I’m pretty much gone because there’s a bunch of events and I kind of tour between all of them. I’m home maybe one or two weeks each month before going back out. It’s been four solid months of touring after my newest album came out and before then it was a lot of events and stuff too, so it’s been kind of crazy. But after April 4th, I get to go home and kind of be home a little bit, so it will be nice.

ComicBook.com: How was SXSW?

Adam Warrock: SXSW was great. The Nerd Rap Showcase is always, I think, one of the best showcases in terms of everyone knowing each other and being synergistic. It’s really fun to see friends. Obviously, there was a horrible tragedy that happened there, which caused all of us to be freaking out at night, because we had left and all of sudden we got all these texts and tweets and stuff of people wondering if we were okay, and we had to make account for everybody we knew, and it kind of made this weird end to the whole week. Then we woke up the next day and apparently everyone was like, because it was national news, “Oh my god, what happened?” It was a weird way to end it and I was really unfortunate and tragic, but, other than that, SXSW is always a good time. It’s crazy. It’s exhausting. I’m wearing my running shoes instead of my regular Nikes because your feet are just torn up to shreds by the end of it. It’s always good and that showcase is one of the best shows I’ll do all year.

ComicBook.com: What’s your next big show?

Adam Warrock: The next big one is probably the Rutgers Geek Week, which is coming up at the end of March and it’s a really awesome thing. It’s probably one of the first universities that made a geek-based event on this scale, and I’ve worked closely with them to help promote it, help organize it. I moderated a talk with Chris Hardwick last year and they’ve had people from Nick Offerman (Ron Swanson) to, this year, I think it’s going to be Adam Savage. It’s a really big event and it’s really awesome to be around students who are really invested in that stuff, because they’re so enthusiastic and they’re kind of just waiting for someone to give them permission to do stuff. Because they’re still young and they don’t know they’re allowed to just do what they want to in an organization. It’s awesome. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I passed up going to Emerald City Comic Con to do it, so you know that I love it because Emerald City is my favorite comic con. So that’ll be the next one, and then, after that, it will be kind of smaller events here and there, and then I will not be touring properly for a little bit.

ComicBook.com: What comics are you into at the moment?

Adam Warrock: I’m into [Brian Michael] Bendis’ X-Men. I honestly think it’s the best X-Men I’ve ever read, other than specific events. Bendis’ X-Men I love, I love Saga, I really love books like [Mark] Waid’s Daredevil and Indestructible Hulk, The Sixth Gun by Oni I keep up with in trade. I love Moon Knight. I’m really excited to see where that goes. I’m excited to see where a lot of these books go, like Jason Latour’s new Wolverine and the X-Men, New Warriors, and I’m just now going back and reading Brandon Graham’s Prophet, which I never really read in issues at all, I barely even knew about it, so I’m finding the trades, going through it and reading it for the first time. It’s amazing. I’m really stoked about it. It’s crazy, but it’s good, even after everybody hyped it up. That’s pretty much it. Saga and X-Men and Sex Criminals too, by [Matt] Fraction and [Chip] Zdarsky, I really love. I’ll read anything Fraction does. Other than that, just random stuff from the ‘90s. I’ll go back and read that stuff all the time. I bought like 80 X-Men Vol. 2 issues in a bundle, and they’re just sitting there. I’ve been meaning to tear through them, but they’re so bad sometimes.

ComicBook.com: I remember seeing you say on Twitter that you were going back and starting with Grant Morrison’s New X-Men and reading through the entirety of 21st century X-Men comics.

Adam Warrock: I was trying to. I read New X-Men, and I read [Joss] Whedon, and I read a lot of Messiah CompleX, Nation X kind of stuff. Now I went back and bought a bundle of X-Men Vol. 2, Jim Lee stuff that started with that famous #1. It’s not as good. I got to that Psylocke-Revanche stuff and it’s just kind of like, “Oh, God, this is not easy to read at all.”

ComicBook.com: Anything else in pop culture – movies or TV – have your interest right now?

I just watched True Detective, and I still watch Justified, and Parks and Recreation, and New Girl, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine and I’m excited about Game of Thrones, obviously. With movies, other than the comic book movies…I watched a bunch of the Oscar movies recently. It’s not like I was running out to see them, I just kind of watched them because they were there, and through total legal means. I really love movies like Dallas Buyer’s Club, which was amazing. I liked all of the ones I saw, like Wolf of Wall Street. I didn’t really like Her, I didn’t like Captain Phillips that much…Gravity I saw in theaters, and that was great.

It’s a weird time right now in pop culture, there’s not really anything moving the cultural dial other than True Detective, and even True Detective was a thing that not everyone will get into because it was so “writerly.” You can’t just sit anyone down and in front of it and they’re going to be like “this was awesome!” It’s a very specific kind of TV, screenwriting, directorial nerd that will watch it and be like, “I love this.” I think we’re all just waiting for the next thing to take over, and it’s weird to see it not happening. It makes me think the culture is so splintered now that there might not be another one until some TV show just comes up out of nowhere, like Breaking Bad was the last one. And Mad Men, and Game of Thrones. I didn’t even know that the Veronica Mars movie debuted, because I saw someone tweeting about it. I didn’t think it was done, and I read stuff, sites and stuff, and just didn’t even know. It’s just getting so widespread that you can’t really blame anyone for not keeping up. Everyone’s got too much stuff on their list to watch.

ComicBook.com: Any characters, shows, comics or anything that you’re thinking of doing a song about?

Adam Warrock: I want to do a Moon Knight song about that new book. Just about the character. I think Declan Shalvey is going to be one of the biggest artists at Marvel. I have a lot of weird ideas in my head that, if I have time to sit at home and actually work on it, maybe they’ll get done, but maybe they won’t. But I definitely want to make a Moon Knight song. And a Guardians of the Galaxy song.

ComicBook.com: It’s kind of funny to hear you say that a song might not get done, considering how many songs you actually do release.

Adam Warrock: It only gets done if I can write it. It’s not about the recording and finishing it, it’s about actually getting the idea out of my head. That’s the hardest part is figuring out, “What’s interesting about this? What actually makes me want to do something about this?” And if I don’t have anything to do about it, it just never gets started. So it takes a long time. I’m sure once Game of Thrones comes out I’m going to do a Game of Thrones song. Maybe, I don’t’ know, someone really wants me to do a Roose Bolton song, and I was like, “That might actually not be a bad idea,” about how much of a badass Roose Bolton is.

ComicBook.com: You mentioned Guardians of the Galaxy there for a second. How many times did you watch that trailer?

Adam Warrock: I watched it three times in a row when it first came out, and I am so excited about it now. I might be more excited about it than Captain America 2, even though Cap 2 is going to be amazing. I can’t wait, I love cosmic stuff with Marvel, and it’s my favorite thing. Obviously, by my name, it’s my favorite thing. I love the Shi’ar, Starjammers, Guardians, Thanos and all those guys, Infinity Watch, so I’m stoked. It looks like it knows exactly what it wants to be, and that’s something that I think a lot of superhero movie don’t know. They think they want to be serious, or cute, or fun and they try to do all these things, and it’s too much. And this is James Gunn, middle finger to the system kind of stuff that will always be fun for people like me with punk sensibilities.

ComicBook.com: It seems like Marvel has enough properties out there now that they don’t feel the need for them to all be everything, they can each do their own thing.

Adam Warrock: Yeah, I want to see a Doctor Strange movie, I want to see Adam Warlock come, I want to see what’s going to happen, I want to see Pip the Troll. I want to see anything they want to do, I don’t care what it is, frankly, and I will watch it. Moon Knight movie, do it, let’s see that white suit.

ComicBook.com: I assume then that it’s safe to say that if Captain America 3 and Batman vs. Superman come out on the same day, you’ll be going to see Captain America 3?

Probably. That’s kind of mean because one of my best friends, Chris Haley, is a huge Superman family and when I’m home we see every single superhero movie together, so it’s mean that they would do that to us. With Cap, his villains to me were always lacking, if you don’t count Winter Soldier as a villain because of what he became. So, I’m really interested to see how much further they can go with Cap stuff. I hope it’s good, Cap 2 looks amazing, I can’t wait to see what Avenger they drop in it. That’s kind of with everything now, “Who’s going to be in it?” I’m excited to see where everybody’s going to be. They said Paul Rudd is going to be Hank Pym, right?

ComicBook.com: He’s going to be Scott Lang, actually, and Michael Douglas is going to be Hank Pym.

Really? I didn’t see that. Nice. It’s probably just easier, with the history that Hank Pym has, to just be like, “He’s not Hank Pym! Don’t worry about it! He didn’t do all of these crazy things!” Make him kind of a crazy, quirky old dude. That’s awesome, I actually hadn’t heard that.