Last year, Marvel Comics launched a promotion celebrating the link between the cultures of hip-hop and comic books. They released 50 variant covers using their characters to pay homage to classic hip-hop album covers. Some were expected (King of Rock by RUN-DMC with the Guardians of the Galaxy on the front) others were unexpected, but welcome (Vanilla Ice’s To the Extreme having Deadpool pay tribute). It was a successful gamble that had a share of bitter and unenlightened detractors, but the full support of the hip-hop community.
Seemingly coinciding with the heavy hip-hop hype of the upcoming Marvel’s Luke Cage on Netflix, Marvel has reprised the hip-hop variant covers for 2016. Perhaps “reprised” isn’t the correct word, since these covers are all-new, all-different tributes and new titles. The titles are set to launch next fall and include Champions #1 by Rahzzah, Ultimates 2 #1 by Risa Hulett, Infamous Iron Man #1 by Anthony Piper, Jessica Jones #1 by Jeff Dekal, Nova #1 by Christian Ward and Cage! #1 by Marco D’Alfonso. Of these, the LL Cool J and Big Daddy Kane homages are the best. Check ’em out!