Run-DMC, Beastie Boys, & Public Enemy Are Real-Life Comic Book Heroes (Video)

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Ed Piskor is an award-winning comics creator whose latest project is a genealogical study of Hip-Hop, a six-part series titled The Hip-Hop Family Tree: A Look Into the Viral Propagation of a Culture. Written and illustrated like a classic comic strip, the ongoing endeavor began in 2011 as a weekly and is now on its third volume of six. Thus far, he has brought real-life events in the careers of Schoolly D, Ice T, MC Shan, Marley Marl, Public Enemy, Beastie Boys, Run-DMC, 2 Live Crew, Salt ‘N’ Pepa, Dr. Dre, and many more to the pages of his series which he launched years before Marvel Comics began their recent homage to Hip-Hop. Available as a graphic novel and a box set, the ever-expanding collection of Hip-Hop’s earliest tales also can be read in small parts online at BoingBoing and, as described in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, is a chronicle of the four elements in which “Mr. Piskor focuses on pivotal figures and moments, some widely known, others potentially lost to time.”

A Pittsburgh native, Piskor has won a prestigious Eisner Award for HHFT, which also has been named a New York Times bestseller. Each volume covers a different era, beginning in 1975. The most recent volume covers 1983-1984 and unsurprisingly, casts Run-DMC in a major role, as Heads can see in the excerpt below, which offers up a detailed depiction of the Rap group as they navigate the process of recording their second album, 1985’s King of Rock.

hip hop family tree

Other recent episodes come with titles like “Schoolly D’s Influential Hit: PSK, What Does It Mean?” and “Ice T Deals With a Setback,” and “Toddy Tee’s Batterram,” examples of Piskor’s fastidious attention to detail in the telling of Hip-Hop History, including attention paid to the culture’s icons outside of the recording industry like Freeway Ricky Ross and others. Earlier this year, Piskor took part in ComicCon and was interviewed by CBR TV (Comic Book Resources), with whom he chatted about the series and its future, which includes an animated adaptation. Check out the conversation here, and stay tuned for news about the cartoon’s release.

Related: A Graphic Novel Draws On Hip-Hop’s Earliest Days For Inspiration (Old School)