Hip Hop Comics You Should Check Out

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Universal’s music biopic, Straight Outta Compton, has made over $100 million so far at the box office and to celebrate, we’re looking at comics about hip hop or created by hip hop artists. Check ’em out!

Method Man by Method Man, Sanford Greene, and David Atchinson

Created by Method Man. Artist: Sanford Greene. Writer: David Atchison. 2008. Method Man. Grand Central Publishing.Method Man was part of the rap group the Wu-Tang Clan, before striking out on his own. His graphic novel of the same name was published in 2008 by Grand Central Publishing with the help of artist Sanford Greene, and comic book/screenplay writer David Atchison.

An ancient evil of unfathomable power plots the unspeakable—the destruction of the mortal realm and beyond. Man’s only hope lies in Peerless Poe, a hard-luck private eye with a taste for booze and a magnetic attraction to danger. A former member of the clandestine Order of the Sacred Method, Poe must forge an uneasy alliance with those who exploited him against an enemy bent on global annihilation. This unholy threat wears a woman’s face and wields dark energies capable of destroying normal men. But Poe hasn’t been normal in years. The Order saw to that. Poe is scarred. Poe is transformed. Poe is…Method Man.

Sentences: The Life of M.F. Grimm. Percy Carey a.k.a. M.F. Grimm's life. Created by Percy Carey. Art by Ronald Wimberly. Vertigo. 2007. Sentences: The Life of M.F. Grimm by Percy Carey and Ronald Wimberly

I love graphic memoirs and this one is based on underground rapper Percy Carey‘s (a.k.a. M.F. Grimm) life. Art by Ronald Wimberly and published by Vertigo, the comic was nominated for Best Reality-Based Work in the 2008 Eisners.

Underground hip-hop icon Percy Carey (a.k.a. M.F. Grimm) tells the true story of his life in the game, from dizzying heights to heartbreaking losses, in this raw, brutally honest graphic novel memoir. In Sentences: The Life of M.F. Grimm, Carey chronicles his life in the sometimes glamorous, often violent, world of hip-hop; from the first time he picked up a microphone at a block party to the day he lost the use of his legs to gang violence; from his incarceration to his rise to the top of his game as a hip-hop grandmaster. No questions are left unanswered and no apologies are made, resulting in a truly groundbreaking graphic novel.

Created by RZA and Ghostface Killah. Written by Matthew Rosenberg & Patrick Kindlon. Art by Tim Seeley, Paolo Rivera, Francesco Francavilla, Ramon Perez, Ben Templesmith, Riley Rossmo, Garry Brown, Jim Mahfood, Kyle Strahm, Toby Cypress, Tyler Crook, Joe Infurnari, Breno Tamura ,Nate Powell, Gus Storms, Chris Mitten, and Ron Wimberly. Black Mask Studios. 2013.Twelve Reasons To Die by RZA, Ghostface Killah, Matthew Rosenberg and Patrick Kindlon

This comic was created by rappers RZA and Ghostface Killah, who were also part of the rap group the Wu-Tang Clan. It’s a transmedia project that was to be released at the same time as Ghostface Killah’s album of the same name in 2013. Matthew Rosenberg and Patrick Kindlon lend their writing talents to the project which also features big names in comics on the art side of things. It looks great!

This horror-crime hybrid from the legendary Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA and Ghostface Killah is the brutal story of a vengeful soul hunting the 12 most powerful crimelords in the world.

It is illustrated by a rotating team of cover & interior artists including Tim Seeley (Revival, Hack/Slash), Paolo Rivera (Daredevil), Francesco Francavilla (Black Beetle, Detective Comics), Ramon Perez (Tale of Sand), Ben Templesmith (30 Days Of Night), Riley Rossmo (Bedlam), Garry Brown (The Massive), Jim Mahfood (Tank Girl), Kyle Strahm (Haunt), Toby Cypress (Blue Estate), Tyler Crook (B.P.R.D.), Joe Infurnari (Mush!), Breno Tamura (Pigs), Nate Powell (Swallow Me Whole), Gus Storms (Space Creep), Chris Mitten (30 Days of Night), and Ron Wimberly (Prince of Cats); written by Matthew Rosenberg and Patrick Kindlon (Menu).

Ghostface Killah has also done another comic called 36 Seasons which is based on his album of the same name. There’s also a comic based on the group called the Nine Rings of Wu-Tang.

 rp_hip-hop-family-tree.jpgHip Hip Family Tree by Ed Piskor

This comic isn’t written by a hip hop artist but Ed Piskor’s Hip Hop Family Tree is an important hip hop comic series to have on your shelf. It was originally serialized on Boing Boing and it chronicles the (young) history of the popular genre starting with its roots in the 1970s. There’s nothing like it and I’ve learned a lot after reading the first volume. I highly recommend it for any hip hop fan.

The lore of the early days of hip hop has become the stuff of myth, so what better way to document this fascinating, epic true story than in another great American mythological medium — the comic book? From exciting young talent and self-proclaimed hip hop nerd Ed Piskor, acclaimed for his hacker graphic novel Wizzywig, comes this explosively entertaining, encyclopedic history of the formative years of the music genre that changed global culture.

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About Author

Senior Editor. BA in criminals (a minor in daydreams). Batman seeks her advice constantly. Bylines at Book Riot, Teen Vogue, Slate, The Toast and Hyperallergic.

5 Comments

  1. I really enjoyed Hip Hop Family Tree volume 1 and I’m looking forward to more of that series.

    I’d also suggest Ron Wimberly’s Prince of Cats. Heavily hip hop influenced retelling of Romeo and Juliet, but centering Tybalt. Amazing work!