Courtesy Fantagraphics Books

Hip-hop and comic books

Text Gary Chun

The comic book medium is tailor-made for illustrating the colorful histories and personalities that are part of the hip-hop world, and nobody has done it better --- and continues to do so -- than Ed Piskor and his Hip-Hop Family Tree.

So far, four volumes have come out from Fantagraphics Books, collecting Piskor's separate issues that have documented the genre's history, dating back to its formative years in the South Bronx and currently up to the 1980s, all captured in vivid, classic comics detail and well-researched to boot.

Aaron Burton of For the Love of Indie blog makes the convincing argument that the two are dopplegangers in the best sense of the description, especially when comparing rappers to superheroes. "As much as superheroes are at the mercy of the people they have vowed to protect, hip-hop artists are at the mercy of the fans," Burton writes. "Superheroes need to use their powers for good in order to make the world a better place. Rappers need to use their powers to entertain and inform."

Piskor gives all concerned a heroic, well-deserved treatment and even if you have a passing interest in rap and hip-hop, Hip-Hop Family Tree will make for an engaging read.

For more info, click here.


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