15 Rappers Featured In Comic Books
Earlier this week, XXL got an exclusive look at the comic book that accompany Ghostface Killah and Adrian Younge's upcoming album 12 Reasons To Die. While the folks at Black Mask Studios look like they've perfect captured the spirit of Ghost and Younge's giallo horror-meets-crime narrative, the Wu-Tang emcee isn't the first to get the comic book treatment. Now, XXL has decided to take an extensive looks at hip-hop's comic book history, from acclaimed works like MF Grimm's Sentences to illustrated punch-lines like Onyx's Fight.
For a brief spell in the early '90s, Kid-N-Play was one of hip-hop's most ubiquitous acts. In addition to a string of successful albums, films (namely the House Party series) and even a Saturday morning cartoon, the Corona Queens duo found themselves in the Marvel universe with their own short-lived comic book.
[via Comic Vine]
Even though the group really only had one major cross-over single - 1993's "Slam" - Onyx somehow landed themselves their own Marvel comic called Fight! in 1995. The comic finds the trio in a post-apocalyptic 1999 duking it out with hordes of nefarious music bootleggers - an omen of the Internet era, save for Onyx's dwindling relevance.
[via Onyx Domain]
Wu-Tang Clan, 2000
Of course the Wu has a comic book. At the height of the group's popularity - it was released the same year as their ill-fated Playstation game Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style - the Wu released The Nine Rings of Wu-Tang, a comic book that injected the Shaolin emcees' personas into a fantasy world of kitschy kung-fu, heavy-handed morals and a mediocre plot line.
Fat Joe, Twista, T.I., Fabolous, Trick Daddy and Lil Kim, 2005
In 2005, Atlantic Records saw fit to lump six of their biggest artists - Fat Joe, Twista, T.I. Fabolous, Trick Daddy and Lil Kim - into a Marvel-produced comic in which the group - called the Joint Chiefs - attempts to steal a diamond from villainous character called "The Checkwriter." As if that storyline wasn't tantalizing enough, fans could only pick it up by buying Fat Joe's All Or Nothing. Kinda explains why the comic has been all-but forgotten.
Public Enemy, 2006
Public Enemy literally fights the power in this 2006 comic series written by Chuck D and former S1W James Bomb. The comic plays out like a radical "A-Team," as the seminal Long Island crew moonlights as members of a secret organization called the Underground Railroad, fighting oppression as they tour the globe.
[via Comic Book Resources]
MF Grimm, 2007
In 2007, MF Grimm teamed with Ronald Wimberly to translate career highs and personal lows of his life into the graphic novel Sentences: The Life of MF Grimm. The graphic novel was well-received by critics and fans alike, and netted the underground rapper a number of Eisner Award nominations (think the Oscars, but for comics).
Method Man, 2008
With a comic collection of over 25,000 books, Method Man made his comic debut as a writer in 2008 with Method Man. In the book, Johnny Blaze (the rapper, not the comic book character) plays a private investigator named Peerless Poe who hunts down Biblical monsters with the secretive religious group the Order of the Secret Method.
Eminem and the Punisher became BFFs in this promotional cross-over comic Punisher/Eminem: Kill You. Released in anticipation of Em's fifth album Relapse, the comic finds Slim Shady and Frank Castle taking on Barracuda, an assassin sent by the Parents Music Council to whack the foul-mouthed Detroit emcee.
Ghostface Killah, 2009
You think 12 Reasons to Die is Ghost's first ride at the rodeo? Fat chance. In his 2009 graphic novel Cell Block Z, which he co-wrote with Marlon Chapman and Shauna Garr, Ghost finds himself framed for murder and imprisoned in a high-tech jail. There, the Ironman is subjected to a number of bio-weapon experiments that transforms him into "a towering engine of destruction."
In what is the third solo comic release from a Wu-Tang member, GZA teamed with author and illustrator James Reitano for the graphic novel Advance Knight, which followed the Genius and fellow Wu-Tang members RZA and Ol' Dirty Bastard. However, Reitano says that Grand Central Publishing shelved the book because, "we hit a bit too 'close to home' on some of the characterizations."
9th Wonder & David Banner, 2010
9th Wonder and David Banner celebrated the release of their 2010 album Death of Pop Star with an Internet-based comic series of the same name. In the comic, the hip-hop duo don a host of super-powers, which they use to combat…issues of poverty and discipline? The series didn't last much longer than the album's hype, as the site that once housed it has since been deleted.
GZA isn't the only Wu member who's comic book never saw the light of day. In 2010, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah and Method Man teamed up for a comic book based on their Wu-Massacre album. Ultimately, the comic was kicked to the curb, but Animal NY dug up a few pages from the scrapped comic, sans dialogue. The art should look familiar, as much of it was later used in the album's booklet.
[via Animal NY]
While not exactly written by Murs himself, graphic novelist Josh Blaylock teamed with the Los Angeles rapper last year to release a 10-song hybrid CD/graphic novel titled Yumiko: Curse of the Merch Girl. The project, funded entirely by Kickstarter, marks Murs' second entry into the world of comics after 2005's comic based on Murs' Felt side project with Slug of Atmosphere.
50 Cent, 2012
Not one to miss out on a possible business opportunity, 50 Cent jumped on the comic book bandwagon last year when he ported his widely successful The 50th Law business book with Robert Greene into a graphic novel. This isn't the first time that Fif has been inked on the pages of a comic before; the Queens rapper was covered in BlueWater Comics' Fame series a year prior.
Nicki Minaj, 2013
Like 50 before her, Nicki Minaj also got the Fame treatment earlier this year when the comic series covered her rise from the Queens rap scene to international super-stardom. And like Fif's appearance in Fame, fans weren't too happy about the slip-shod illustrations of the Harajuku Barbie when images from the comic dropped back in February.