AS ED PISKOR’s hip-hop world-building grows, so, too, does reader appreciation of his ongoing accomplishment.
What began with an aptly tight focus, trained so well on the boroughs of ’70s New York, spins outward now like a rapidly escalating collection of vinyl to sample. And with the release of “Hip Hop Family Tree’s” third volume on the near-horizon, “the growth of history is becoming more exponential,” Piskor tells The Post’s Comic Riffs.
Comic Riffs caught up with Piskor ahead of the young Pittsburgh cartoonist’s big win on Friday night, as he picked up hardware for Best Reality-Based Work (for “HHFT’s” Volume 2) at the Eisner Awards ceremony at San Diego’s Hilton Bayfront:
MICHAEL CAVNA: What thoughts predominate when you gear up to go to Comic-Con, Ed, or take the stage and engage audiences? What does your Comic-Con look and feel like?
ED PISKOR: I just want to make the most of my time. There’s a certain anxiety about simply making sure I get everything in that I need to. There’s also a preparation that’s required to deal with so much humanity at once. Gotta build up my muscles for patience. …
This is only my second time going. … I will be a fanboy out there as much as a professional, too. But my fandom lies with comics and their creators. Not movies and whatnot.
MC: I saw that you’re working on a variant cover for “Hip Hop Family Tree.” First, congrats on the Eisner love this year. Second: Could you talk about what, at this stage, the entire “HHFT” journey and experience feels like? Has it taken you places creatively you never expected to go, and tapped ever deeper talents as an artist, storyteller and researcher — or has it felt more like you’ve methodically followed a plan you envisioned all along?
EP: The series has brought me around the world physically and in print form. I sold it to be a TV show, but I can’t say more on that. “Hip Hop Family Tree” is a respected piece of work within the culture. I’m working on a few choice projects with some of my favorite rappers. I don’t take any of it for granted.
I’m literally doing exactly what I want to be doing with my life.
MC: What is the audience question that [you’re most tired of hearing]? And what is about the nicest thing an audience member can ask you?
EP: One question that comes up frequently is that people wonder if I’ll take the series up to modern day, which would take me 30 years to accomplish, but then there will be another 30 years of history by the time I get to 2015.
If people buy and support the work that’s the best-case scenario for me. Nice compliments aren’t necessary. I’m such a bastard that I will keep doing whatever I want regardless of good or bad feedback.
MC: With “HHFT3” due out within weeks, I’m curious: What were some of the most challenging, and satisfying, aspects to creating Volume 3?
EP: I honestly think this third book is the best thing I’ve ever made, but the challenge now, and for the duration of the series is that the growth of history is becoming exponential, so it’s taking a lot of time on the back end to pick the exact right moments I should cover to create a bigger broad narrative.
MC: What are you working on now, or in the near future, that is [most] creatively engaging you? … Is it a facet of “HHFT,” or perhaps something else?
EP: I have some other comics ideas that I’m excited about exploring. [I’m] writing something right now that I think will be very cool and utilize all the stuff I’ve learned in my past 20-plus years of comics-making.
MC: Lastly, what Con appearances or sessions other than yours are you most excited to experience this weekend — who, or what, do you *really* want to see?
EP: I’m not sure what’s even on the docket for the show. I’m [here with] with my homeboy Benjamin Marra, and there’s no doubt we’re gonna come out of the week as changed cartoonists for the better.
I think I’m stoked most about looking at original artwork. I bet there will be some great Kirby pieces.
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