Once upon a time, there were masked men in capes battling injustice across the land -and they called themselves heavy metal musicians. Though metal and its equally misunderstood mistress of the printed page, comic books, both grapple with similar themes of vengeance, honor, and evil, the two cross paths less often than you'd think.

Comics are comics, and metal is metal, both struggling to be taken seriously, keeping a respectful distance. There are no Morbid Angel songs about the Avengers. Sometimes the lure of good escapist fun is just irresistible, though. Here's a colorful playlist of caped crusaders, cartoon cats, and hand-drawn demigods as celebrated by the real-life heroes of metal.

Check Out Our 'Metal Songs Inspired by Comic Book Heroes' Gallery

Ian Christe is the author of Sound of the Beast: The Complete Headbanging History of Heavy Metal, and the publisher of Bazillion Points Books, home to Swedish Death Metal, Only Death Is Real, Hellbent for Cooking, and other heavy reading.

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