Martini Rox: Hip Hop & Comic ConWritten by Martini Rox | | firstname.lastname@example.org
As a Hip-Hop and comic book lover, in my world the two have always gone hand in hand. The artistic role the comic culture contributes can be seen on album covers or as projected graphics during concerts where you can find artists portrayed as superheroes. Hip-Hop’s love for comic books is evident, giving it a worldwide cool fueled by successful movie franchises.
Hip-Hop artists over the years have adapted themes, names and personas based on comic book characters such as rapper David Banner, DJ Green Lantern, Female rapper Jean Grae, and the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League to name a few. While in New York, I attended New York City’s Comic Con (Oct. 11-14) wondering how well the highly publicized commercial event would incorporate the musical culture that celebrates and validates it the most. The bravado, alter egos, and sociopolitical stress, expressed in the music identifies with superheroes storylines and concepts. Hip-Hop has many styles and subject matters, but my favorite has always been battle rap and freestyles where talk about skill and prowess dominate the lyricists’ subject matter in superhero-like proportions.
I walked into Comic Con at the Jacob Javits Convention Center on 11th Avenue and was in constant awe of seeing people dressed as some of my favorite characters. Beyond video game displays and clothing vendors, I found Hip-Hop.
My first encounter was with the comic book series built around the birthplace of Hip-Hop, Bronx Heroes. The author Ray Felix and artist Trevor Von Eeden were signing autographs while chatting with me about the cultural influence Hip-Hop has had on the book. Born to a Columbian mother and Puerto Rican father, diversity in the series was a main focus for Felix.
“The whole concept is to basically not just have characters that look like us and represent us, but also to open up our eyes about the history of positive things that have happened with people of color and broadcast it to them too, because everybody believes that nothing good comes out of the Bronx and that’s just not true,” Felix said.
Felix was also a part of a panel discussion on comic books and education. For more information, visit www.bxhcc.com
Current events and political themes (fictional or real) have always made great story lines especially when dealing with culturally diverse characters. Naseed Gifted turned his love for epic anime stories into his new book ‘P.B. Soldier’ a futuristic graphic novel that takes place in Renaissance City in the year 2020. The Establishment (a government alliance) has launched a worldwide campaign against terror. Each individual is considered a terrorist and is assigned a Terror Threat Level that is determined by race and social class. The protagonist P.B. Soldier is a trained assassin and the storyline follows him as he tries to take down his employer Mr. Ahmen, the head of “The Program.” The character is loosely based off of Malcolm X and other sited influences for the book include “V for Vendetta,” “Blade Runner” and “Little Brother.” For more information visit www.pbsoldier.com.
That Saturday, a panel discussion aptly titled, “Hip Hop and Comics: Cultures Combining,” featured panelists included Hip-Hop legends Darryl DMC McDaniels, Pete Rock and Jean Grae. In areas throughout the Convention Center, DJs were spinning old school and golden era Hip-Hop. Gamers would have gone wild over Ubisoft’s (the creators of the bestselling ‘Just Dance’ series), “The Hip Hop Dance Experience” and their entertaining setup that encouraged the participation of the masses that gathered. This game is sure to make my Hip-Hop lovers gift guide this Christmas. My vacation turned assignment was the perfect combination of two of my favorite things, Heroes and Hip Hop.
As we continue on…