From the moment I first saw the video Clint Eastwood on MTV, I was hooked on the Gorillaz (here's a great interview from Wired). It was amazing to hear a band that didn't really exist play music that spiced and grafted genres, resulting in a Frankenstein-like album. The band was much more versatile than any other band could ever be, because they became whatever their creators wanted them to become without anyone's ego getting in the way. At the end of the day, they only exist as pictures and sounds.
The album has the same kind of magic that A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer, a supercomputer from the book The Diamond Age that is designed to teach personalized independent thinking and uses actor-like technicians to watch over and educate their client, has.
The characters in both forms of media are fictional, but real people are lending their talents to flesh out the personalities that they portray in both cases (in static and real-time formats). It is ironic that these contrived characters and groups have a more profound effect on their audiences than their "real" equivalents.
So are the Gorillaz an anomoly, or will more virtual bands gradually start to take over?