WAY TOO LONG ANSWER AHEAD
So I love rap, and I’m talking that real underground street shit too (I know you know all this Tauhid but you prompted me for a public answer). For the longest time I’ve wanted to make a comic (or animation if I were rich) involving hip hop and lots of dope lyricism.
It started with a general concept of an aspiring emcee and I talked with Andrew (Hussie) about collaborating on it. This was back before And It Don’t Stop, which was originally a part of a comic anthology we were developing. The original character designs I came up with for the rapper and his friend eventually were recycled into the roommate characters in my Moe comic:
Eliot (left) and Pacey (right) would idly dream about rap success in probably Boston until a dishonest talent manager named Merlin made them sign a lifelong contract and instigated the action of the story. I only remember a few things about this tale that were funny enough that I’ll save them for future stories or Moe strips.
Then I got the idea of how fresh it would be to fuse hip hop and spellcasting fantasy. Rap battles are a distinct part of the culture and lend themselves well to action comics, as you’ll see in Tauhid’s excellent project. This snowballed into the story I really want to tell about optimistic children in an apocalyptic, completely shitty and gritty world, hoping to use their rap talents to save the planet. Along their quest their party will grow, they’ll square off against “boss” type emcees who are corrupted by maliciousness, and if I can write it well enough, there will be a number of dramatic subplots dealing with serious shit like parental abandonment, drug abuse, racism, and poop like that.
This is an idea that could only be executed by someone with a passion for rhymes. I would hate to see this kind of concept tortured by the typical, sarcastic rhymes of someone who isn’t particularly into rap (♪Yo my name is _____ and I’m here to say). Fortunately I feel that I have not just a sense of how language and rhythm is used in rap from listening to it so much, but a lyrical creativity that would make reading rhymes interesting and fun. Reading rhymes is another bummer. Brilliant as a rhyme can be, average readers don’t want walls of text to drudge through particularly in comics. But I think this can be easily compensated for by breaking up freestyles over man panels and depicted actions (the metaphors of the lyrics would manifest visually in the rhymecasting) and by not having rap in the strip too frequently.
Shit, I didn’t mean any of those words about And It Don’t Stop, though. Tauhid could write 1000 words in one panel and I would read it eagerly.
I’m not sure what I want to do next though, for a proper long form comic. I have way too many lingering ideas. Got a .txt file with something like thirty or forty story synopses recorded. I’ve also been keen on the idea of doing a zombie story but I know that’s a saturated realm these days. However, I’m not doing this for money, so I’ll make what I want to make!
And even I am not sure what that will be yet.
Or how soon.
Here is some more old concept art: