After immense success with putting Hip-Hop duo Run the Jewels on the cover of a few of their books, Marvel has expanded the idea to give each and every single book in their All-New All-Different line-up its own Hip-Hop variant. We’ve tracked down each cover, provided information about the album inspiring the variant cover, and given our two cents on whether it fits the subject. We’ll be doing this each month for as long as the All-New All-Different brand keeps putting out variants!
Extraordinary X-Men #1
Marvel Creative Team: Jeff Lemire (Writer), Humberto Ramos (Artist)
Cover Artist: Sanford Greene
Hip-Hop Album: De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising (1989)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Me, Myself and I,” “Buddy,” “Say No Go,” “Eye Know”
How well does it fit?: De La Soul were on the front lines of the wacky, relatable, and socially responsible rhymes. With Lemire writing this new X-Men series, it’s about damn time the X-series got back to its roots.
Marvel Creative Team: Gerry Duggan (Writer), Mike Hawthorne (Artist)
Cover Artist: Kaare Andrews
Hip-Hop Album: Wale’s Attention Deficit (2009)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Pretty Girls,” “Chillin‘,” “Beautiful Bliss”
How well does it fit?: The album name definitely fits here, as Wade Wilson is one of the most absent-minded characters in pop culture. Wale isn’t nearly as popular as Deadpooly over here, but he gets to have brunch with Jerry Seinfeld, which is kind of zany for a Hip-Hop artist.
Marvel Creative Team: CM Punk/Cullen Bunn (Writers), Scott Hepburn (Artist)
Cover Artist: Mike Choi
Hip-Hop Album: KiD CuDi’s Man on the Moon II (2010)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Erase Me,” “Revofev,” “Wild’n Cuz I’m Young”
How well does it fit?: Drax has been gaining tons of popularity for his sardonic sense of humor, but really hasn’t done anything to make me want to invest time in his solo career. Same with Cudi. His early success that was launched almost solely from Kanye’s sound floundered around until he began his “acting” career. Here’s hoping Drax won’t flop on his own.
Howard the Duck #1
Marvel Creative Team: Chip Zdarsky (Writer), Joe Quinones (Artist)
Cover Artist: Juan Doe
Hip-Hop Album: Ol Dirty Bastard’s Return to the 36 Chambers (1993)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Shimmy Shimmy Ya,” “Brooklyn Zoo,” “Raw Hide”
How well does it fit?: Before his untimely death in 2004, ODB was one of the grimiest dudes in rap. He was one of the few to transform his Wu-Tang membership into a solid career. His shining characteristic was being able to grab his nuts and throw up his middle finger to the authorities – any authority – just like our fowl friend, Howard. Howard, though, might not have the same FBI file as Dirt McGirt, which includes a shootout with NYPD. Rebel.
Marvel Creative Team: Sean Ryan (Writer), Cory Smith (Artist)
Cover Artist: Eric Canete
Hip-Hop Album: J. Cole’s Born Sinner (2013)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Crooked Smile,” “Power Trip,” “Rich Niggaz,” “Born Sinner”
How well does it fit?: Cole is one of Hip-Hop’s brightest stars right now. His ability to relate to listeners with common themes and wrap it up with great music is one of his charming qualities. What makes him an ironic choice for a Nova cover is that this is very much a father-son book; J. Cole often raps about his crappy deadbeat father who abandoned him. Dick move, Marvel.
Marvel Creative Team: Tom King (Writer), Gabriel H Walta (Artist)
Cover Artist: Vanessa Del Ray
Hip-Hop Album: Wiz Khalifa’s Rolling Papers (2011)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Black and Yellow,” “On My Level,” “No Sleep”
How well does it fit?: I don’t know what kind of hallucinations that weed is giving Wiz, but they’re not the same one that the Marvel robot gets. Wiz Khalifa looks like the type of kid who got beat up a lot in high school, but he’s been the face of the Hip-Hop skater stoner movement for the past 5 years. Don’t judge him by his appearance, he actually makes some pretty legit feel-good music. A sequel (because album sequels are a thing now) to Rolling Papers is due out next year.
All-New All-Different Avengers #1
Marvel Creative Team: Mark Waid (Writer), Adam Kubert/Mahmud Asrar (Artist)
Cover Artist: Jim Cheung
Hip-Hop Album: The Roots’ Illadelph Halflife (1996)
Best Tracks off the Album: “What They Do,” “Ital (The Universal Side),” “The Hypnotic”
How well does it fit?: I’m sorry, I have to say it. The Roots are dope as f*ck, and this group of Avengers is dope as f*ck. They might not draw headlines individually (save for Iron Man – he can be the ?uestlove of The Avengers), but as a group, both groups make some wonderful music. This will be a solid book, especially with Mark Waid at the helm.
All-New Hawkeye #1
Marvel Creative Team: Jeff Lemire (Writer), Ramón Pérez (Artist)
Cover Artist: Sanford Greene
Hip-Hop Album: Pete Rock and CL Smooth’s Mecca and the Soul Brother (1992)
Best Tracks off the Album: “They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.),” “Straighten It Out,” “Can’t Front on Me”
How well does it fit?: Hawkeye and Hawkguy are one in the same. Kate Bishop has come under the tutelage of the Avenger Clint Barton, but has pulled his butt from the fire plenty of times. Similarly, Pete Rock and CL Smooth are a rapper/DJ combination so solid that even saying their names separately sounds weird unless spoken together. Near the end of Fraction/Aja’s Hawkeye series, these two split up and the book suffered. Hopefully these two can stick together and whoop some ass.
All-New Wolverine #1
Marvel Creative Team: Tom Taylor (Writer), David Lopez (Artist)
Cover Artist: Keron Grant
Hip-Hop Album: DMX’s Flesh of My Flesh, Blood of My Blood (1998)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Slippin‘,” “Blackout,” “Coming From”
How well does it fit?: Unlike DMX, the sun has not set on the possibility for a good Wolverine book. However, X-23 has a lot of unbridled rage that she can channel into a successful stint as the new Wolverine, just like DMX did in songs like “Slippin.” In all seriousness, this album was one of DMX’s weakest, but of all the DMX album covers, this one was too good to pass up.
Marvel Creative Team: Gerry Conway (Writer), Mike Perkins (Artist)
Cover Artist: Ariel Olivetti
Hip-Hop Album: Redman’s Dare Iz A Darkside (1994)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Bobyahed2dis,” “Cosmic Slop,” “Rockafella,” “Can’t Wait”
How well does it fit?: This is one of the best fits out of all the variants – matching the spastic, chaotic Carnage with one of the biggest weirdos in all of Hip-Hop. Redman is off the charts in terms of his individuality, but still garners enough respect to rock with the mainstream artists. Plus, this cover is CLASSIC 90’s Hip-Hop.
Marvel Creative Team: Josh Williamson (Writer), Shawn Crystal (Artist)
Cover Artist: Brittany Holloway-Brown
Hip-Hop Album: Ice T’s Power (1988)
The Ultimates #1
Marvel Creative Team: Al Ewing (Writer), Kenneth Rocafort (Artist)
Cover Artist: Mike Deodato Jr.
Hip-Hop Album: The Fugees’ The Score (1996)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Fu-Gee-La,” “Ready or Not,” “Killing Me Softly,” “No Woman No Cry”
How well does it fit?: The Fugees exploded onto the scene in the mid-1990’s when Pras, Lauryn Hill, and Wyclef Jean created the Fugees. All solid artists by themselves (except Pras, he sucks), but together make one of the greatest groups in Hip-Hop history. Sadly, emotions got in the way and they split permanently, but we still have The Score to appreciate. When it comes to the book, I’m ready to see a story with Black Panther and Captain Marvel (oh, and Spectrum, I guess).
Web Warriors #1
Marvel Creative Team: Mike Costa (Writer), David Bildeon (Artist)
Cover Artist: Damion Scott
Hip-Hop Album: The Clipse’s Lord Willin’ (2002)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Grindin‘,” “When The Last Time,” “Ma, I Don’t Love Her,” “Cot Damn”
How well does it fit?: If you’ve had your ear to the group in Hip-Hop over the last decade, you may have heard of The Clipse, but chances are that this group is unknown to you. Two ex-dopeboys (Pusha T and
No Malice) from Virginia lay colorful metaphor after another in this album produced by Pharrell’s Neptunes label. The lyrics are hard and grimy, but there’s a certain grace and intellect in their rhymes that eludes most rappers cut from similar cloths. The Web Warriors I assume are picking up where Spider-Verse just left off, and have a crazy ensemble you would expect to be gimmicky put together a decent story.
Black Knight #1
Marvel Creative Team: Frank Tieri (Writer), Luca Pizzari (Artists)
Cover Artist: Gyimah Gariba
Hip-Hop Album: Lupe Fiasco’s Food and Liquor (2006)
Best Tracks off the Album: “The Cool,” “He Say She Say,” “Daydreamin‘,” “Kick, Push”
How well does it fit?: Black Knight has actually gone through over a half-dozen iterations since the mid-fifties, the mantle being passed from generation to generation (similar to Azrael in DC). Somehow he’s managed to fly under the radar, even with the most recent iteration in Black Panther (2005). Lupe is innovative and intelligent, but somehow manages to get overlooked by Hip-Hop heads and mainstream fans alike.
Ms. Marvel #1
Marvel Creative Team: G. Willow Wilson (Writer), Takeshi Miyazawa/Adrian Alphona (Artists)
Cover Artist: Jenny Frison
Hip-Hop Album: Lauryn Hill’s Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Ex Factor,” “Lost One,” “Everything is Everything,” “Nothing Even Matters”
How well does it fit?: Oh hell yeah, this is a combination I can dig. One of the most socially-conscious R&B artists of all time is paired with one of the most socially-conscious superheroes in the Marvel roster. It’s just… perfect. If you don’t know Lauryn Hill, go Miseducate yourself. Right now.
Marvel Creative Team: Robbie Thompson (Writer), Stacey Lee (Artist)
Cover Artist: Woo Chul Lee
Hip-Hop Album: Yasin Bey’s (Mos Def’s) A New Danger (2004)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Ghetto Rock,” “Modern Marvel,” “Sex, Love, and Money,” “Zimzallabim,” “Sunshine”
How well does it fit?: Cindy Moon has had enough of your bullsh*t, and now she’s robbing banks with Black Cat. We’re not sure how she got there from the end of the world in issue #7, but whatever. Yasin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def) has the weight of the people behind his voice, and has numerous songs about telling the establishment to eat it (“Dollar Day” and “Rape Over” to name a couple). At the very least, A New Danger is a perfect album cover for knocking over banks.
Marvel Creative Team: Dennis Hopeless (Writer), Javier Rodriguez (Artist)
Cover Artist: Natcha Bustos
Hip-Hop Album: Big Pun’s Capital Punishment (1993)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Still Not A Player,” “Super Lyrical,” Twins (Deep Cover 98),” “Tres Leches”
How well does it fit?: I don’t get it; is this a pregnancy joke? Before Pun’s death at 28 years old, the guy weighed over 700 pounds. I mean that he was so fat, his Wikipedia page should list years active ending way before his death in 2000. Fun fact about Pun: besides being one of the most respected MCs of the mid-90s, was also a notorious wife beater. Smooth move, Marvel.
Venom: Space Knight #1
Marvel Creative Team: Robbie Thompson (Writer), Ariel Olivetti (Artist)
Cover Artist: Mike Choi
Hip-Hop Album: Kool Keith’s Black Elvis/ Lost in Space (1999)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Livin’ Astro,” “Lost in Space”
How well does it fit?: Oh, isn’t it obvious?? Venom is a Black Symbiote…in space! Kool Keith has changed personas more than a couple times, but each personality he exudes is funky and relatable.
That about does it for Marvel’s new books and the Hip-Hop variants that come with them. Check back next month for a whole new set of entries.