Graphic Novel Review 266/365: Sci Fu

Please keep up with all of my old Graphic Novel Reviews here as I quest for 365 in 365 days! Or search #365GN on Twitter.

Hey, all! I have some cool things coming your way in April, so make sure that you are checking back every day. I appreciate you for reading.

My C2E2 weekend was an absolute blast, and I look forward to regaling you with stories through the week as I bring you titles that I picked up at the show.  And today, I’m pleased to bring you yet another hit from of my favorite publishers: Oni Press.

Title: Sci Fu 

Author(s): Yehudi Mercado

Publisher: Oni Press (2018)

Age Rating: 7+

Yo!  Here’s the thing.  I am a product of Hip Hop.  Raised an only child, Hip Hop was my first sibling.

I remember being on a field trip to a play in 5th grade, and a kid behind me was singing in a way that had my ears pointing up like a dog listening to bacon sizzle.  I turned around in my seat and asked him what that was…he casually said, “I Need Love” by LL Cool J.  The next day at K-Mart, I asked my mom if she could buy me the tape.  She hesitated at the Parental Advisory sticker on the cover but bought it for me anyway.  I listened to that tape probably more than any cassette I ever owned.  LL Cool J was my entry into Hip Hop, and I didn’t look back.

From there I jumped into the Beastie Boys, Run DMC, and into Eazy-E.  It’s funny to think about the way we fall into the music that we do.  I have been in two Hip Hop music groups, and have notebooks with a countless amount of lyrics that I wrote: some great, most trash.  My love of Hip Hop drove me into my 30s.  And even now, there is a special place in my heart for a flow or beat that makes me nod my head, and I want to reach for a mic.

Here is a pic from a panel I was on during C2E2 Friday.  I’m on the lower left in the brown jacket with Sarah Graley to the right of me, author of Sci Fu, Yehudi Mercado, is above me in red, next to him from left to right: Brigid Alverson, Gale Galligan, Raina Telgemeier, and Leila del Duca.  THIS is a star-studded panel!  It was an honor to speak with and next to these folks.  It was my first time meeting Mercado and hearing about Sci Fu (well, I heard about it very briefly earlier that day).  And while I love everyone on this panel, reading the entirety of Sci Fu (including the back matter), I would have to say that Yehudi Mercado, based on the given Spotify Tracklist alone, is the most likely of the group to karaoke a Kriss Kross or Run DMC song with me!

I need to talk about the book!

A thirteen-year-old kid named Wax from Brooklyn hits the DJ tables looking to create a mix tape for his love, and in the process, he hits the perfect beat, transporting part of his block into space, thrusting his crew of friends and family into a space battle for their lives.  This book is filled with Hip Hop, humor, and heart: the three H’s of a quality MC (although, we can leave the rap interludes off of albums…please rappers…you are funny, but not for three minutes at the end/begging of a song).

The art is fun and colorful.  Once again, this is one of those books that feels familiar in its art, yet the story drips of originality.  On our panel, Mercado had mentioned that he had a few people ask him about the absence of a white character in the book.  I completely forgot about that until right now, thinking about our panel.  It didn’t occur to me one time while I was reading the book, and it shouldn’t have, so I’m glad it didn’t.  I love the book’s diversity, and I think it rings true to the essence of Hip Hop where passion, community, and competition reign above all else…regardless of color.

I have one suggestion for the next volume, Yehudi: more old school Hip Hop references.  I got the ones splashed in Sci Fu Vol. 1, but I want more!  This book is going to go over very well with kids of all types, but it’s also going to hit with old Hip Hop heads like me.  I think of all the classic Hip Hop shout-outs in Method Man/Redman’s The Blackout album, and I would LOVE little Hip Hop Easter eggs all over the next book (maybe a little 3MTA3 on the back of a space ship…??).  I love this book.  Hip Hop, robots, and having a crush: what else do you need?

OK, OK…I’ll give you a little bit from one of my never used verses:

The back of my hand is what you’ll be seein’

When it coming that quick there ain’t no time for blinkin’

Lyrics hittin’ harder than bearded, burly defense-men

Lyrics so old school you’d think I was Shakespearean

Happy reading!


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