What started out as a web comic Ed Piskor's Hip Hop Family Tree traces the foundation of hip hop from its Bronx origins with DJ Kool Herc and DJ Hollywood through Doug E. Fresh, Run DMC and beyond in four color fury. The comic easily transitions from depictions of live shows to breaking in the streets to the foundation of record companies, eager to spread the music. Currently published weekly at the epicenter of cool, Boing Boing, Piskor's work will be collected and printed by Fantagraphics next year.
The full-color book will be around 112 pages, collecting the first year's worth of comic strips spanning 1975-1980. As a beautiful backup to Piskor's story, ten beat-friendly cartoonists are providing pin-ups of their favorite hip hop artists and rappers. The overarching theme of comics delving deep into music culture make Hip Hop Family Tree and Ed Piskor make a happy addition to works of cartoonists like Peter Bagge, R. Crumb, Joe Sacco, Mary Fleener, the Hernandez Brothers and authors like Pat Thomas, Jacob McMurray and Kevin Avery.
Piskor is best known for his works like self-published and then Top Shelf published hacker comic, Wizzywig. Piskor also worked with late, great Harvey Pekar in the collection, The Beats. Associate Publisher Eric Reynolds said, "Hip Hop Family Tree is not only a great read, it's a wonderful visual history of the important genre of music of the past 30 years. We're excited to publish it." After all the paperwork was signed Piskor said, "While working on the this project, I began to feel like the belle at the ball, in a matter of speaking, because lots of different publishers started getting in touch. They had certain ideas that would have required compromise. Fantagraphics is one of the only publishers I personally sought out, because I thought they might facilitate my exact vision, and it feels like I was right. Basically, I'm a huge brat and I want what I want, and Fantagraphics is down for the cause."
You can see Piskor and Fantagraphics this weekend at SPX and keep your eyes and ears open for more jammin' comics by Ed Piskor. Start clearing away space now next to your turn table for Hip Hop Family Tree.