In Piskor's comics, the ... lyrics breakdance off the page... the print version is beautiful, with faux-yellowed pages, a muted color palette and an oversized 'treasury' format recalling its subject's era. Piskor's art falls somewhere between R. Crumb's blues portraits and Joe Sacco's journalism comics.
A young Pittsburgh bard travels back to the New York birth of rap with DJ Kool Herc and rattles off encyclopedic knowledge through dynamic, interwoven narratives of the '70s and early '80s. The feat is backed by era-appropriate art on pages yellowed with nostalgia. Dope, yo.
Action-packed, fun and funny.
Ed Piskor is the sh#t!!
Piskor has an aficionado's eye for details and connections.
The New York Times Book Review
the comic of all time.
Piskor's strip is funny and warm, tossing in a few keen nods to two cultures that have shaped him.
These stories are carefully researched and detailed along with
great comic book style art...
The amount of research and history Piskor packs into this book is
An avid lover of hip-hop music and superhero comic books from a young age, Ed Piskor has combined his two passions to create a remarkable reading experience...
Hip Hop Family Tree imagines real-world events through the filter of 1980s Marvel Comics, bringing hip-hop visionaries to the page in a style that exaggerates their energy and style to capture the intensity of the music without having the beats.
...[A]mazing... if I was going to itemize everything that was good and successful about it, I wouldn't even know where to begin. It's fantastic in so many different ways. I was predisposed to like it and it has exceeded my expectations. ...I'm starting to have this growing conviction that Ed Piskor just may be the greatest thing to hit comics since Robert Crumb.”
The most compulsively readable book of the year, the series gets better and better as its core cast of characters gets fully established and we get a bit more in-depth with them. ... Piskor’s style and design choices push the quality of this history of hip-hop over the top.
Rob Clough - The Comics Journal
They say the story of Jesus is the greatest ever told, but JC didn’t steal a DJ mixer during the New York Blackout of '77 or bomb a subway car with Fab 5 Freddy. With his Hip Hop Family Tree, comics artist Ed Piskor delves into the history of hip-hop and gets straight-up biblical, penning a 'who-begat-whom' with a b-boy twist.”
Being in an Ed Piskor comic is
cool enough to freeze hot water.
In Ed Piskor's Hip Hop Family Tree, readers get to experience the origins of rap music in a way like never before; they get to live it. They get to walk the streets of New York City, where in rented performance rooms with cobbled-together gear pioneers like DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, and Grandmaster Flash birthed a new art form.”
When cartoonist Ed Piskor decided to unspool the labyrinth history of one of America’s greatest artistic accomplishments, he spared no effort to immerse his readers in the era of jump suits and scarred vinyl. Everything in
Hip Hop Family Tree screams nostalgia: the Ben-Day dots, the sepia discoloration…even the print feels course and pulpy, like a priceless cultural artifact unearthed in a garage sale or your dad’s basement. Flipping through the oversized pages, you can almost hear the slap bass, horn swells, and ricocheting rhymes of hip-hop’s inaugural years.
Piskor is obviously a huge rap fan ... He presents the facts in a nostalgic, faded-ink and rubbery realism of '70s Marvel Comics style, turning rap's early innovators into larger-than-life heroes of history.
Ed Piskor's quirky, obsessive, delightfully absurd history of early rap reaches near-masterpiece levels because of the artist's wonderful commitment to aesthetic details. ... The slipcase and bonus material in this box set follow this impressive tradition.
Jake Austen - Chicago Tribune
…[P]henomenal … Piskor is constantly exploring fresh ways to capture the intensity of the music and the hip-hop scene in his artwork. His storytelling is evolving as the world of his narrative gets better, and the wild growth of the hip-hop industry in the mid-’80s suggests that Piskor’s best is yet to come.
Oliver Sava - The A.V. Club
A superhero-riffing, world-building, toe-tapping, beat-hitting story of a whole lot of people, some brilliant, some lucky, some crazy, and some all of the above. And if you like hip-hop, and nice things, go buy the cased edition because there’s a special secret 'zine in it about Rob Liefeld and Easy E that is just super fabulous.
Alex di Campi - 12th Dimension
Imagining the early days of the hip-hop movement with writing and art that intentionally evoke the bombast and energy of an early '80s Marvel comic, Piskor has introduced scores of music fans to comics by serializing the series for free on Boing Boing, but these stories look even better in Fantagraphics' printed collections.”
Los Angeles Times - Hero Complex
This is the comic I've been waiting 40 years to read.
Harry Allen - (Public Enemy Media Assassin)
It's a great story and Piskor tells it immaculately well.”
These comics [are] almost too good to be true... If you're a lover of hip hop and / or graphic novels, these are a must!
...Piskor... lovingly draws the origin stories of hip-hop's legendary superheroes. Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash and the Russell Simmons/Rick Rubin crossover team-up are rendered like something between Watchmen and Wild Style.”
Christopher R. Weingarten - Rolling Stone
One of the defining histories of hip hop… Ed created a portal into the beginning of hip hop, and just saying that a picture is worth a thousand words is a poor way of explaining why its impact is greater than that of a detailed book.
Daniel Genis - The Daily Beast
If you love hip-hop and comic books, you’re likely already following Ed Piskor’s series
Hip Hop Family Tree over at Boing Boing. Still, even if you are a loyal reader with an intimate familiarity with classic rap culture, the new box set from Fantagraphics Books is well worth the price of admission. Gathering together Ed’s first two collected volumes, covering the events of 1975 through 1983, along with a bonus 24-page comic created exclusively for this set, it’s the perfect marriage of retro art, old school hip-hop and good, ol’ fashioned research.
An astonishing feat of cultural archaeology, in both ambition and execution. The project somehow doesn’t seem quite real: a comic-book history of hip-hop going back to the very beginning the late 70s
where lore is thick and documentation scarce. To tell this story in any language would be a challenge; to tell it in the language of comics feels like a magical summoning.
[A] rapid-fire telling of the early days of rap and hip hop culture… There’s a lot to learn even if you think you’ve heard it all.
Hip Hop Family Tree… [is] …an exhaustive, lovingly-rendered portrayal of the movement's explosive early moments.”
Ed Piskor is in the process of making one of the finest non-fiction comics I've ever read…
Jim Dandeneau - Topless Robot
The closest thing to time travel that you’ll be able to give this year is this boxed set featuring the first two volumes of cartoonist Ed Piskor’s
Hip Hop Family Tree tomes from Fantagraphics. Packaged with an exclusive 24-page book that explores the connection between hip hop and comics culture, these volumes chronicle how rap music rose from the underground to the mainstream between 1975 and 1983.
Chris Cummins - Den of Geek
Extraordinary effort. Even if you are not a hip-hop fan, you need to read this.
Jatin Varma - The Economic Times
These are dookie-gold-chain d-o-p-e.
Darcy MacDonald - CultMTL
Retelling the history of hip hop in the style of '80s Marvel comics, wasn't necessarily a good idea… it was the best idea. ...Ed Piskor's tale has become as epic as the real life events that he's retelling, and turning the artists, producers and others involved into de facto superheroes and villains perfectly matches the outsized personalities of the people who lived it. Even if Piskor stopped with volume 2 here, HHFT would be an incredible achievement, as well as one of comics' greatest nonfiction works. Good thing he's not stopping anytime soon.
Whether you were there when it was happening or not, this is a book which will unfold a rich universe of music history and all the knock-on effects of it too. With the warmth and immediacy only a true fan could impart, Piskor tells the ongoing history of Hip Hop in these lovingly crafted volumes.
Sonia Harris - Comic Book Resources