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Hip Hop Family Tree Creator Ed Piskor Dies, Aged 41

Ed Piskor's family confirmed yesterday that the creator of Hip Hop Family Tree, X-Men Grand Design, and Red Room had died at the age of 41.

Ed Piskor's family confirmed yesterday that the comic book creator had died at the age of 41. His sister Justine posted to Facebook, "It is with the most broken heart that I share my big brother, Ed, has passed away today. Please just keep our family in your prayers as this is the hardest thing we've ever had to go through." Adding "Friends and family, the viewing will be Thursday 4/4 at Savolskis Wasik Glenn funeral home in Munhall 2-4 and 6-8."

Hip Hop Family Tree Creator Ed Piskor Dies, Aged 41
Cartoonist Kayfabe screencap

Ed Piskor was an alternative comix creator, working on the Pittsburgh scene for decades. In recent years, he has been best known for graphic novels such as Hip Hop Family Tree from Fantagraphics, which won him an Eisner Award, and X-Men: Grand Design from Marvel Comics. He was also the co-host of the successful YouTube channel commentary channel Cartoonist Kayfabe with comic book creator Jim Rugg, where Piskor also developed the horror comic Red Room, also published by Fantagraphics, a series of stories focusing on the ugliest of characters who live online, subtitled The Antisocial Network.

Cover image for RED ROOM #3 CVR A PISKOR (O/A)
Red Room cover.

Last week, a series of claims of inappropriate behaviour was posted online by women comic book creators and picked up by the media. This led to the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust postponing a planned exhibit of Piskor's Hip Hop Family Tree work. Pittsburgh TV news doorstepped Ed Piskor at his home to find him absent, only to do the same at his father's house, who defended his son vigorously, and "Ed Piskor" began trending on X. Following this, his podcast host Jim Rugg posted on Instagram that he had ended his working relationship with Piskor.

Yesterday morning, Ed Piskor emailed many comic book industry people a note that caused concern. Those near him organised for police to visit his home, but he couldn't be found. In the message, Ed Piskor denied the claims made and stated that they had cost him an art show, a $75,000 deal for his Switchblade Shorties webcomic with publisher Abrams, and more. He said, "Some good people reached out and tried to help me through this whole thing but I'm just not strong enough. You were so kind for trying to help me through it. You did everything that you could." He linked to the full file for Switchblade Shorties, hoping for publication, and mentioned the location of art for a new book called Mudfish.

Hip Hop Family Tree Creator Ed Piskor Dies, Aged 41
Planned Switchblade Shorties cover.

Ed Piskor also called on James Rugg to post their unlisted videos and private Patreon streams. "That's the perception I wanna leave. A dude having fun talking comics with his brother. Please keep cartoonist Kayfabe up and monetized and share half the loot with my family each year. Maybe schedule the vids each day as we did for years until our roster is complete. Don't dissolve the llc but split the take with my heirs." He concluded, "These words don't need to remain private. I desperately want people to see my side of things."

Cartoonist Kayfabe's Jim Rugg Ends Relationship With Ed Piskor
Cartoonist Kayfabe logo

Ed Piskor is survived by his parents, Edward R Sr and Diane, siblings Robert, Justine, and Brianna, and nieces and nephews Lucy, Calvin, Carson, and Brynn.

If you or someone you love is in crisis, there are several ways of seeking help. In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on freephone 116 123, or email or In the US, you can call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 988, chat on, or text HOME to 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from The Union Club on Greek Street, shops at Gosh, Piranha and FP. Father of two daughters. Political cartoonist.
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