This Beat is Def: Fantagraphics to publish Piskor's <i>Hip Hop Family Tree</i>

Wizzywig creator Ed Piskor's latest work, Hip Hop Family Tree, has been running on BoingBoing for some time now, laying out the history of hip hop music and starring the likes of Doug E. Fresh, Kurtis Blow, Spyder-D, The Sugarhill Gang, Grand Master Flash and other luminaries from the music's past. Fantagraphics announced yesterday that they'll publish a print collection of the work sometime next year.

Piskor broke it down: "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."

The full-color book will be around 112 pages, collecting the first year's worth of comic strips spanning 1975-1980. It'll include pin-ups by 10 "beat-friendly" cartoonists of their favorite hip hop artists and rappers.

Piskor joined us for our What Are You Reading? feature earlier this year and sited Larry Hama's GI Joe, of all things, as an influence.

"I’m working on this long, sprawling comic called The Hip Hop Family Tree, about the history of rap music, and Hama’s GI Joe comics are a big influence in a way," Piskor said. "Hama and I both had/have similar challenges in terms of the size of our ensemble cast, and I can’t think of anybody who was able to continuously introduce new characters while maintaining bigger, overarching storylines too. I remember that the toys would obviously be available before the characters appearance in the comic, so I already had some preconceived ideas about who the character was, and whenever Hama would introduce someone new, it would give me chills as a kid. I’m trying to deconstruct those parts of Hama’s work, and create some of those moments in what I’m doing now."

Piskor is at the Small Press Expo this weekend, where he'll be hanging out with our own Chris Mautner on Sunday during the "Comics on Assignment" panel.

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