Marvel Mixes Hip-Hop With Comic Books to Make New Covers

   It’s no secret that the hip-hop and comic book cultures have always had a symbiotic relationship. This fall, Marvel Comics plans to give fans physical evidence of that phenomenon by reissuing five of its seminal works with covers that invoke classic hip-hop albums. The first, designed by Mike Del Mundo, takes the legendary (and legendarily expensive) Spider-Man #1 with A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders. Released in 1993, Marauders caught Tribe at the height of their fame, with Q-Tip saving barbs for the race politic police (“Sucka N—a”) and Phife warning foes about his impending solo career (“Oh My God”).Also from Del Mundo (and also from 1993) is this, a mash-up of the first issue in the Squadron Supreme series and The Wu-Tang Clan’s Enter the Wu-Tang: 36 Chambers. The Squadron first appeared in Avengers #85 in 1971, confusing the more famous super-team with their similar names and powers. But the line-ups quickly joined forces, fighting Brain-Child and a host of other villains. The Wu, of course, formed with equal force, and 36 Chambers set off a domino chain of classic solo albums and a commercial reign unheard of for such a specific, uncompromising sound. Casual moviegoers might be aware that Ant-Man has been adapted in a new Paul Rudd-starring summer flick. But the Mark Brooks-designed cover for the first issue of his comic series hearkens back to a time when the Avengers’ smallest member was just a little-known ex-scientist. The cover is based on The Notorious B.I.G.’s classic Ready to Die. The first issue of Spider-Man/Deadpool is reimagined by Dave Johnson as Eric B. & Rakim’s 1987 debut album, Paid In Full. A famous anti-hero, Deadpool was always a thorn in the side of his more famous friend, famous for breaking the fourth wall and speaking directly to readers. Paid In Full is one of the most stylistically influential rap records of the late 1980s, with Rakim’s carefully crafted internal rhymes forming the blueprint for much of Nas’ early output. For the newest comic series of the five, artist Phil Noto went with the most contemporary album. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, which was finally announced as its own series last year, is crossed here with Tyler, The Creator’s tongue-in-cheek cover for Wolf. Though some comic fans may be unfamiliar, Squirrel Girl will be included in the cast of New Avengers