The Backlash Against Marvel's Hip-Hop Variants Continues ~ What'cha Reading?

The Backlash Against Marvel’s Hip-Hop Variants Continues


The Backlash Against Marvel’s Hip-Hop Variants Continues

So we mentioned earlier today that Marvel is putting out Hip-Hop variant covers. This has been met with some applause and some derision. True be told some people are really really pissed that once again Marvel is side-stepping an issue and just flat out refusing to address the people who are (rightfully) upset by the business practices at the number one comic book publisher.

One of the more vocal people is Shawn Pryor. For those of you unfamiliar with Shawn he’s Co-Founder of Action Lab and most recently produced a successful comic book Kickstarter for the all ages book Cash & Carrie. In response to the announcements from Marvel Shawn put together this amazing post on Tumblr on July 15th (which has been shared 296 times)

It’s More Than Just A Remix Cover.

As most of you have probably heard, Marvel Comics is “paying tribute” to classic Hip-Hop with a set of 50 new variant covers blending Marvel Comics characters with Hip-Hop inspiration making comic covers that “riff” on albums that have been released over the last 30 years or so.

The thing about it all is that nothing about this tribute that EIC Alex Alonso of Marvel Comics is trying to push out there is new at all. If anything, this newest campaign from Marvel Comics is more of a shark-biting campaign attempting to use and cash in on the popularity of Hip-Hop and Black culture while at the same time excluding most, if not all of the people of Hip-Hop culture and those that contribute to it.

Years ago, artists and creators such as Julian Lytle, Sean Causley, Ron Wimberly, Michael Axt, Jared K Fletcher, JC Etheredge and others were part of the Longboxes on 22’s Tumblr (created by Sean & Julian), where they merged their love of Hip-Hop and comic book culture to make amazing album covers. My involvement with the site was in creating track-lists for the album covers and surreal “Source-style” reviews for said albums. Over 50,000 followers. Massive visibility… (continue reading)

But then later that evening after seeing Marvel editor Tom Brevort’s response to the criticism some were giving him on his page,

The Backlash Against Marvel's Hip-Hop Variants Continues

Which it should be noted spawned such a backlash Mr Brevoort responded to it a second time with a much more tailored response,

My point, such as it was, is that this isn’t an either-or situation. Doing the Hip-Hop covers (many of which were illustrated by creators of color) has no direct bearing on the state of African-American representation among our creative teams. (Brevort formspring

And then when ran Jerry Barrow’s piece entilted “Variant Covers Open Dialogue About Marvel’s Complex Relationship With Hip-Hop” chock full of tidbits like “Even back then Axel told me Kool Keith was his favorite MC and when he said that I knew this guy was for real.” It seems Shawn Pryor decided on a new way to communicate his aggravation with the current situation. Tweet directly at the Marvel E-I-C Axel Alonso. Mr Alonso has not as of this writing replied to any of Mr Pryor’s tweets. In fact there’s been nothing but silence on Axel’s twitter feed. Now this could be for many reasons but I find it hard to believe none of his friends or colleagues rang him up and asked if he’d notice the tweets.























None of these tweets were responded to, though each garnered many favorites and retweets and Mr Pryor’s timeline was inundated with “thank yous” from creators and fans alike. It seems his words have struck a chord, I wonder if anyone is listening. I have no idea if Mr Alonso, Marvel, or anyone will respond to Mr Pryor, I do believe that they should. Even personally. Marvel has always called itself “The House of Ideas”, well gentleman these ideas are valid, and they should be addressed.

You can follow Shawn Pryor @shawnrpryor, and Axel Alonso @axelalonsomarv. What are your thoughts on this situation, sound off in the comments.

About Author

Chuck Suffel is the Owner/Editor-in-Chief of He loves comics, movies, tv shows. When it comes to comics his first loves are independents and small publishers. Feel free to drop him a note anytime at

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