Hip-Hop and Comics

deadline for submissions: 
February 15, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
Sheena Howard / Rider University
contact email: 

Hip-Hop and Comics

book anthology

By editors: Drs. Sheena Howard, Brea Heidelberg, Justin Burton 

Contact: showard@rider.edujburton@rider.edubrea.heidelberg@gmail.com 

(Tentative Publisher: University Press of Mississippi)

Notable deadlines: 250 to 300-word abstracts due by February 15th, 2024, for consideration.



In today's dynamic cultural landscape, the intersections of various art forms provide fertile ground for exploration and understanding. In this spirit, we present "Hip-Hop and Comics," a groundbreaking book that delves into the multifaceted relationship between two influential mediums: hip-hop and comics. With their shared roots in marginalized communities and their power to captivate and inspire, hip-hop and comics have emerged as transformative forces within contemporary popular culture. This book aims to examine their interconnectedness, shedding light on the symbiotic relationship between these two vibrant art forms, both historically and in present day.

"Hip-Hop and Comics" addresses a crucial gap in the current discourse on popular culture, offering a comprehensive examination of the diverse ways in which hip-hop and comics intersect. While both hip-hop and comics have enjoyed individual academic scrutiny, the exploration of their mutual influences and shared aesthetics remains relatively uncharted territory in book literature and academic publications. By bridging this gap, our book intends to deepen scholarly conversations and enrich our understanding of the cultural significance and transformative power inherent in both hip-hop and comics.

Our book will traverse a range of topics to illuminate the rich connections between hip-hop and comics. From the visual aesthetics of hip-hop and their influence on comic book art to the representations of hip-hop culture within the pages of graphic novels and comics books, we will critically analyze and celebrate the intersections. The book will also examine the incorporation of hip-hop themes in the superhero genre, the role of autobiographical comics in expressing hip-hop narratives, and the synergy between underground hip-hop and indie comics.

Additionally, "Hip-Hop and Comics" will explore the impact of hip-hop on the comic book industry, delving into collaborations between hip-hop artists and comic creators, as well as the role of hip-hop in comic book soundtracks (For example, artists like DMC adding soundtracks to his comic books). Through meticulous research and thoughtful analysis, our book will provide a comprehensive framework to understand and appreciate the profound connections between these two cultural forces.

In an era characterized by globalization, digital media, and the democratization of creative expression, it is more important than ever to examine the intersections of artistic forms and understand their social, cultural, and historical implications. "Hip Hop and Comics" responds to the current demand for critical analysis and fresh perspectives, filling a void in academic literature by offering an interdisciplinary exploration of hip-hop and comics.

Moreover, this book is not only relevant to scholars and students in the fields of cultural studies, media studies, and popular culture, but also to artists, practitioners, and enthusiasts. By connecting the dots between hip-hop and comics, we aim to foster a deeper appreciation for both art forms, inspire new creative endeavors, and spark insightful discussions about the influence of popular culture on our lives and artforms. 

"Hip-Hop and Comics" promises to be a seminal work that unravels the intricate web of connections between the two forms of artistic expression. By delving into these intersections, we hope to contribute to the ongoing dialogue surrounding popular culture, providing readers with a nuanced understanding of the transformative power embedded within the relationship between hip-hop and comics. 

Topics can include but are not limited to:

Superhero Aesthetics in hip-hop culture

Analysis of graphic novel and comic book works that focus on the relationship between comics and hip-hop

Early hip-hop and comic book references and their historical meanings 

The Dozens (or other Black rhetorical devices) and its appearances in hip-hop and comics 

The influence of hip-hop on comics and vice versa

Rappers and their relationship to comics 

Civil Rights, comics, and hip-hop 

Interviews and contextual analysis with rappers that infuse comics in their work

Introduction to Hip-Hop and Comics (highlighting the parallels and shared elements between the two art forms) 

The Visual Aesthetics of Hip-Hop: Explore the visual aesthetics of hip-hop culture, including graffiti art, album cover designs, and fashion (Analyze how these elements have influenced comic book art and hip-hop storytelling) 

Representations of Hip-Hop in Comics: Examine how hip-hop culture has been represented in comics, from character designs to storylines (Discuss both positive and negative portrayals and their impact on popular culture) 

Hip-Hop and Superheroes: Investigate the incorporation of hip-hop themes and characters within the superhero genre. (Analyze specific examples of hip-hop-inspired superheroes and explore how they challenge or reinforce existing conventions). 

Hip-Hop and Autobiographical Comics: (Examine works that use the comics medium to express the experiences and stories of hip hop artists). 

Underground Hip-Hop and Indie Comics: Discuss the underground hip-hop scene and its parallels with independent and alternative comics. Explore the DIY ethos, cultural resistance, and artistic experimentation found in both subcultures.

Hip-Hop and Comic Book Crossovers (Examine instances of collaborations between hip-hop artists and comic book creators, such as comic book adaptations of albums, music videos inspired by comics, or joint creative projects) 

Hip-Hop and Comic Book Soundtracks: Investigate the relationship between hip-hop music and comic book soundtracks. Explore the use of hip-hop in movie adaptations of comics and its impact on enhancing the visual storytelling experience.

The Influence of Hip-Hop on Comic Book Industry: Discuss the impact of hip-hop culture on the comic book industry, from storytelling techniques to character designs. Analyze how hip-hop has influenced comic book creators and their work.

250 to 300-word abstracts due for consideration: February 15th,  2024 

Email abstract to: showard@rider.edu with the subject line: Submission 

CC: jburton@rider.edu and brea.heidelberg@gmail.com on your submission.


Notification of acceptance: No later than Monday, February 26th, 2023

Final chapters due: Monday, May 6th


About the editors:

Dr. Sheena Howard

Dr. Sheena C. Howard is the first Black woman to win an Eisner award at San Diego Comic-Con for her first book, Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation (2014). The Eisner is considered the ‘Oscars of Comics.’ Howard has published comic books for both Marvel (Illusion of Fairness, 2023) and DC (Fresh Air in Philly, 2021, and others) comics. She has written a graphic novel and stage play for DMC (from RUN-DMC), published with Bloomsbury (Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation, 2014), Chicago Review Press (Encyclopedia of Black Comics, 2017), BenBella Press (Why Wakanda Matters, 2021, featured as a clue on Jeopardy), and more. In addition, her work has received numerous book awards, including an American Library Association’s Outstanding Reference Sourcebook award and more. Her books have been featured in Good Morning AmericaThe New York TimesThe Washington Post, and more.

Dr. Brea Heidelberg

Dr. Brea Heidelberg is an arts management educator and researcher. Her research focuses on equity and representation in entertainment and arts management and has appeared in academic journals such as The American Journal of Arts ManagementThe Journal for Cultural Research, Cultural Trends, and the Journal of Arts ManagementLaw and Society. Her work has also appeared in Arts Management, Cultural Policy, & the African Diaspora and Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Performing Arts Workforce. Heidelberg is Director of the Entertainment & Arts Management program at Drexel University. Heidelberg also works directly with entertainment and cultural organizations as founder and principal of ISO Consulting, helping them assess and address issues related to organizational culture, equity, inclusion, and the management of creative people, processes, and products.

Dr. Justin Burton

 Justin D Burton is the author of Posthuman Rap and co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Hip Hop Music. Justin's research revolves around themes of race, gender, and sexuality—especially as they are negotiated in popular music and culture—and appears in the Journal of Popular CultureShima, the Journal of Popular Music Studies, the Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies, and the Oxford Handbook of Mobile Music Studies. In addition to teaching for the Music Production and Gender & Sexuailty programs at Rider University, Justin consults for arts organizations with an emphasis on equity in collaboration with ISO Arts Consulting and serves as an expert witness for Rap on Trial