2905: Supergroup

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I love their cover of 1,200 Balloons, Dalmatians, and Miles.
Title text: I love their cover of 1,200 Balloons, Dalmatians, and Miles.


In popular music, a supergroup is a musical group formed by collaboration of existing solo artists and members of other musical groups.

This comic shows a marquee announcing a concert by a supergroup formed from members of 10 musical groups whose names all begin with a number. The name of the supergroup is the sum of all those numbers, 176, followed by the names of the original groups without their numbers. It's reasonable to estimate that there could be up to 32 members of the supergroup (see below).

Musical groups mentioned in the comic:

Sum: 21 + 5 + 4 + 2 + 100 + 3 + 9 + 1 + 1 + 30 = 176

It should be noted that this summation, taken literally, is mathematically wrong, as it not only adds numbers with different units and dimensionality (eg, pilots are not the same dimensionality as seconds), but one of the summands (3 in 3 Doors Down) is an ordinal number and another (9 in Nine Inch Nails) is part of an adjective phrase, which is analogous to saying that four metres and one metre cubed add up to seven metres.

The title text indicates that this supergroup performs a medley or mashup of songs whose titles begin with numbers. The title of this "supersong" is similarly formed by adding the numbers and following with the rest of all the titles. Notably, none of the referenced songs were written by any of the referenced artists.

Songs mentioned in the title text:

Sum: 99 + 101 + 1000 = 1200

"I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" by the Proclaimers is about walking "500 miles, and [...] 500 more", therefore a thousand miles in total. There are two more songs titled (or known as) "500 Miles", by Hedy West and Tori Amos, which could be added up to replace "A Thousand Miles" (or "1000 Miles") in the tally as well.

The supergroup could have 32 members:

  • Twenty One Pilots: This band has 2 members, Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun.
  • 5 Seconds of Summer: There are 4 members in this band, including Luke Hemmings, Michael Clifford, Calum Hood, and Ashton Irwin.
  • 4 Non Blondes: Originally, this group had 4 members, but it disbanded in 1994. The lead singer was Linda Perry.
  • 2 Live Crew: This group's core lineup included 2 to 4 members over different periods, with notable members being Luther Campbell, Brother Marquis, Fresh Kid Ice, and Mr. Mixx.
  • 100 gecs: This band consists of 2 members, Laura Les and Dylan Brady.
  • 3 Doors Down: This band typically has 5 members, although the number has varied with lineup changes over the years.
  • Nine Inch Nails: Officially, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are the only constant members of Nine Inch Nails, with a changing lineup of touring members and collaborators.
  • OneRepublic: This band has 5 members, including Ryan Tedder, Zach Filkins, Drew Brown, Brent Kutzle, and Eddie Fisher.
  • One Direction: Originally, there were 5 members in this band, but after Zayn Malik's departure in 2015, it continued with 4 members until their hiatus.
  • Thirty Seconds to Mars: This band has had various lineups but is centered around Jared Leto and Shannon Leto, with other members joining and leaving at different times.

Sum: 2 + 4 + 4 + 2 + 2 + 5 + 2 + 5 + 4 + 2 = 32

These counts mostly reflect the bands' most well-known lineups and may vary with time due to changes in membership or the band's status. Combined groups may feature fewer than the sum of their original memberships, even down to just single musicians/vocalists coming from any or all of their prior collaborations. On the other hand, especially for worthy causes, it is possible that groups with many changing lineups could perhaps rustle up far more members than they ever had at a given time, never mind any prominent artists who may guest-star in their own right. It is unclear whether the band names would be pro rated in these circumstances (for example, if only one of 100 gecs joined the supergroup, would they only count for 50?).

Potential connection to mathematical supergroups[edit]

Randall may be making a subtle reference to mathematical physics, in which a supergroup is a generalization of a group based on the concept of supersymmetry.

Readers with a background in mathematics or physics might find their expectations thwarted upon realizing that the comic is about mundane musical collaborations. But then, "every supergroup carries a natural group structure, but there may be more than one way to structure a given group as a supergroup"[1], which applies to both contexts.

Miscellaneous numeric observations[edit]

100 gecs provides the most "bandname per member" (100 / 2 = 50), with OneRepublic and One Direction each vying for most "members per bandname" (both 5, at their most complete). Counting the songname mashup ratios is more complex: if it is not a single "1000 miles", perhaps the two Proclaimers can be said to be each singing 500 miles, to match the other solo artists' alternate 500s (depending upon which source(s) are chosen as canon), but a single luftballon requires just slightly over 1% of Nena (whether the eponymous singer or shared throughout her band of five) and a lone Dalmatian slightly less than 1% split amongst an uncertain number of originators.


  1. Supergroup (physics) on Wikipedia, accessed 2024-03-13


[Ponytail, Cueball, Megan, Knit Cap, and Hairy are in line at a theater box office with Ponytail looking in at the window at the tickets sale. The window is partly shaded/reflectively-marked and cannot be seen through in the comic. There is a speaking grille in the window, plus a opening at the bottom for passing payment and tickets. To the left of the window are double doors and above all this there is a large theatrical billboard with small lights all around it. It reads:]
Playing Tonight
The New Supergroup:
176 Pilots, Seconds of Summer, Non Blondes, Live Crew, gecs, Doors Down, Inch Nails, Republic, Direction, and Seconds to Mars

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Title text

Isn't the sum in the title text wrong? It should be 99 Luftballoons (or the English cover 99 Red Balloons) + 101 Dalmatians + I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) = 700 balloons, dalmatians and miles (not 1,200).--

Really?! 1000 miles is "wrong" because the only song ever written about miles is that one that mentions 500 of them in the title?! Wow. Yorkshire Pudding (talk) 10:47, 15 March 2024 (UTC)
Maybe it's about Vanessa Carlton's "A Thousand Miles"? 22:13, 11 March 2024 (UTC)
Note that I'm Gonna Be is actually about walking 1000 miles, not 500 miles. 08:36, 12 March 2024 (UTC)
Right! "I-hai would walk five hundred miles, and I-hai would walk five hundred more..." Transgalactic (talk) 15:29, 12 March 2024 (UTC)
So what though, really? The title only contains 500, regardless of what the lyrics say, and it's about forming composites of songs' names. Lionel Richie would only count as contributing "Three" Times a Lady, despite singing about once and twice as well. Yorkshire Pudding (talk) 10:47, 15 March 2024 (UTC)
Like Yorkshire Pudding said... Comic is all Group NAMES, title is about song TITLES. "I would walk 500 more" simply isn't part of the title. It might be worth a passing mention, but less so and fewer times than it currently is. It's an interesting associated fact, but doesn't deserve to be treated like it's a potential candidate. NiceGuy1 (talk) 05:18, 16 March 2024 (UTC)
First and only song I thought of as well, but of course this is referring to Vanessa Carlton's "1,000 Miles", I didn't think of it until I saw the description. :) He DID get the title wrong, though. It's LUFTballoons (or "Red Balloons" for the English version). NiceGuy1 (talk) 05:07, 16 March 2024 (UTC)

"cover" implies that the combined song already exists and was performed by some other group. I would expect that this supergroup would have created the medley themselves, to fit their particular genre. Barmar (talk) 22:23, 11 March 2024 (UTC)

"101 Dalmations" isn't a well known song AFAIK. It was written as the title song of the Disney movie, but wasn't actually used. Wikipedia says it got released on other albums. Barmar (talk) 22:38, 11 March 2024 (UTC)

I feel like he REALLY wanted it in order to round off the 99 from 99 Luftballons. :) NiceGuy1 (talk) 05:18, 16 March 2024 (UTC)
You'd have the same result if you added 101 Hours From Tulsa, Trombones and Visions, instead?
(Am pleased enough to include Queen, in any such medley, but originally was wondering if the sountrack from "(The) ... Sense" should combine with "... Finger, Left Hand" and "... A Sixpence", at that point.) 16:49, 16 March 2024 (UTC)

A supergroup cover of 99 Luftballons would probably be awesome. --The-Daleks (talk) 20:43, 12 March 2024 (UTC)

I don't know all the bands, but it looks like they are: 21 Pilots, 5 Seconds of Summer, 4 Non Blondes, 2 Live Crew, 100 GEC, 3 Doors Down, 9 Inch Nails, 1 Republic, 1 Direction, 30 Seconds to Mars.

Missed Opportunity (to n3rd about maths)

I am surprised there were no references to orthosymplectic or superunitary groups.

That's what I originally thought the joke would be about. This is much more mundane. Barmar (talk) 22:34, 11 March 2024 (UTC)
Well if G and H are groups and GH, then G is a supergroup of H, isn't it? --Coconut Galaxy (talk) 13:39, 12 March 2024 (UTC)
If you know the math, could you please check my edit? All I know about it is the name, and that it has something to do with supersymmetry in string theory. Transgalactic (talk) 14:00, 13 March 2024 (UTC)

I think that the description misses the connection to math:

  • Group is a mathematical concept (**set** of elements with some properties and operations)
  • Sub-group is a subset of a group that retains the properties; Super-group can be constructed similarrly;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group_(mathematics) ; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subgroup ; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supergroup_(physics) -- 18:28, 12 March 2024 (UTC)

I added a sentence about supergroups in mathematical physics, feel free to add anything that's missing for a good explanation. Transgalactic (talk) 14:00, 13 March 2024 (UTC)

Other Bands/Artists/Movies/Songs with Numbers

throw in:

-- 07:10, 12 March 2024 (UTC)

Five Finger Death Punch
Six Feet Under --Lupo (talk) 13:37, 12 March 2024 (UTC)
No one's mentioned Three Days Grace yet? 05:43, 13 March 2024 (UTC)
Or 3 Colours Red? Or 9 Days? Yorkshire Pudding (talk) 10:47, 15 March 2024 (UTC)

I remember a great film, The Magnificently Dirty Nineteen.

Don't forget the sequel The Fantastic Ocean's Taking of Pelham Slaughterhouse 143 Barmar (talk) 14:07, 12 March 2024 (UTC)
And the supercut "The Fast and the Furious 41" --Lupo (talk) 15:01, 12 March 2024 (UTC)
I like the alternate cut: 108 Dalmation Nation Army.

I'm going to hold out for The Blink and Ben Folds 2162. 22:11, 12 March 2024 (UTC)

10,000 Maniacs could have gotten the numbers up, and I'm guessing a lot of readers would have gotten that reference? MGoSeth (talk) 23:53, 20 March 2024 (UTC)

Not to be confused with the album Greatest Discount Hits with classic songs like Two Bridges Road, Twelve Ways to Leave Your Lover, and 1 Legit 1 Quit. 06:51, 13 March 2024 (UTC)


gay jupitah (he/they) (talk) 14:15, 13 March 2024 (UTC)

Better to remain silent and thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt. 16:09, 13 March 2024 (UTC)

Is it only me, or is there no actual edit in this diff? (Every now and then I see edits that indicate a paragraph gets replaced with itself, and not even an extra space removed, or a missing one added, which at least should highlight yellow or blue in the appropriate block of text.) 02:58, 14 March 2024 (UTC)

There's actually a spaces difference. "100/2=50" was edited into "100 / 2 = 50". --DukeBG (talk) 19:57, 14 March 2024 (UTC)
Well, that's strange. I (thought I) had checked every line-end to look for different rewrapping. Which is definitely there now. But I honestly believe was not at time of posting. I accept that I'm probably more likely to be wrong about that than the backend code being strangely capricious, but - seriously - I did everything but copy the two texts to a notepad window. Would have done, if I was on a desktop (which would let me line things up horizontally and even search-and-replace strings until the diff reveals), but that's not so easy to juggle on my touchscreen device. And, regardless, I would normally expect even subtle spaces (added/removed) to be highlit.
But now I know. End of that query, at least. 22:01, 14 March 2024 (UTC)