In 2015, Marvel celebrated the long-standing relationship between the comic world and hip-hop culture with the introduction of its Hip-Hop Variants collection. The first installment delivered 50 comic book covers that were based on classic and modern album art, including Dr. Dre’s The Chronic, A$AP Rocky’s Long.Live.A$AP, and De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising. This week, Marvel returned with another incredible batch, the first six of which were revealed exclusively through Playboy.
We see Nova stepping in for Chance the Rapper on a re-imagined Coloring Book cover; Luke Cage replaces LL Cool J on Bigger and Deffer; Jessica Jones for Kevin Gates on Islah; Infamous Iron Man on Big Daddy Kane’s Long Live the Kane; the Ultimates on Salt-N-Pepa’s Hot, Cool, & Vicious; and the Champions on Wu-Tang Clan’s Iron Flag.
Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso provided additional insight to the latest series, explaining why some of the heroes and villains were chosen for their respective covers. He also shared his thoughts on the two pop culture realms and how they share many more similarities than people might think.
“Comics and hip-hop share a common narrative: They’re all about underdogs struggling, striving and persevering against overwhelming odds,” Alonso told Playboy over email. “So it’s no surprise that so many rappers have been influenced by the Marvel mythology or embraced the Marvel heroes over the decades. The hip-hop covers were our way of showing that the love is reciprocal. A lot of the writers, artists and editors that make Marvel Comics are inspired by hip-hop, and it shows in their work.”
Check out the new covers below. To learn more about the collection, head to Playboy's website.