While the intersection of hip-hop and comic books for many lovers of both scenes has been executed perfectly through Marvel's collection of Hip-Hop Variants, it's deeper than that. There's an influence that Marvel (and comic books in general) has had on the lyricists that we've loved for years. Remember when the Wu-Tang Clan decided to give themselves new aliases around the time Raekwon dropped the purple tape? Most of the members chose names that sound like lost Goodfellas characters, but two of the members went straight to Marvel: Ghostface Killah became Tony Starks (bka Iron Man, which ultimately earned him a cameo in the first Iron Man film), and Method Man became Johnny Blaze, who at the time was known in the Marvel universe as the Ghost Rider. How fitting is it that two decades later the comic book head (who also had a cameo in Netflix's Luke Cage) ends up penning his very own Ghost Rider story in Marvel's new Ghost Rider X-mas Special?!
The Infinite Comic, which was released digitally today, finds the new Ghost Rider, Robbie Reyes (who's made a splash in the MCU via Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D), taking on the maniacal Krampus in what's described as a "feel-good, positive" Ghost Rider story with all of the destruction and action we come to expect from a Ghost Rider tale. As the tale goes, Robbie's kid brother Gabe is getting marked on at school for being too into Christmas (as if that's a thing), and with the people in the city of East L.A. not really being in the Christmas spirit, it's practically a hotbed for the Krampus to descend and wreak havoc.
Working with Method Man was Anthony Piper, who co-wrote and illustrated this tale. Piper's no slouch when it comes to the intersection of hip-hop and comics; many people know of him as the creator behind Trill League, which puts a hilarious spin on the worlds of hip-hop, comic books, and anime. When he got news that he'd be working on this project with Method Man, let's just say that his response was the definition of lit: "The fact that this was one of first projects with Marvel was already insane, but then when my Editor, Chris, hit me with the info that this would be a creative collaboration with Method Man, my hype level doubled from 10 to 20!"
Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso, himself a hip-hop head, spoke further on the collaboration with Meth. “The conversation between hip-hop and Marvel continues as one of rap’s most storied lyricists takes the Hell Charger out for a ride. In Ghost Rider X-mas Special, the legendary Method Man sets up a classic conflict between Robbie Reyes, the current Ghost Rider, and Krampus, a mythical creature who’s perhaps best described as the anti-Santa. Will it be a merry Christmas? Read and find out.”
Your appetite should be whet, but we have some exclusive images from the story for you to check out, as well as some black-and-white pages with that break down the creation of this story. The folks at Marvel say that "Anthony Piper’s animation influenced digital line art is right at home with Robbie Reyes, one of our most exciting new characters to find a very vocal fanbase." Check these pages out, and cop Ghost Rider X-mas Special today.