Dean Haspiel is never still. When I asked him recently what he was currently working on, he said Fox Hunt for Dark Circle Comics at Archie with Mark Waid, Garbage Pail Kids for IDW, and a couple more specific projects off the record. He tacked on an ominous "and more" to the list, because he's always working on eclectic side-projects that reflect his varied interests in culture of all kinds. He had a play performed last summer, for instance. This time, the "and more" meant a Silver Age rendition of a comics biography for one of his favorite emcees, MF Doom, on behalf of the Red Bull Music Academy in Tokyo, Japan.
The Red Bull Music Academy is creating a series of "ill origins" for musicians in comics format in celebration of manga and comics:
As part of the 2014 Red Bull Music Academy in Tokyo, we're celebrating one of Japan's most beloved art forms: manga. Over the course of the next few weeks, we'll be publishing animated music-related comics from Japanese and international artists that showcase a wide variety of styles, highlighting the impact that manga and comic artists have had on storytelling around the world.
What's particularly interesting is the MF Doom comic, written by established comics writer Gabe Soria (Batman '66, Adventure Time and more), and drawn by Haspiel, has been given an intentional Silver Age homage, in particular homage to The Fantastic Four (one of Haspiel's childhood favorites) and then given touches of psychedelic animation by the folks at Red Bull Music Academy. And it is all rather gorgeous and strange. Think the imaginative live-wire feel of The Fox meets magic-realism narrative to bring a music hero to comics life. It illustrates, as many are aware, the natural relationship that exists between comics and music, and the way in which our music heroes are our superheroes in another guise.
Check out Haspiel's process artwork and candid shots from the studio while working on MF Doom:
[Photos by Hang Dai studiomate and cartoonist Christa Cassano]
The glories of MF Doom's Silver Age-meets-animated-highlights comic can be read entirely for free on the Red Bull Music Academy site currently.
If you want to catch up with Haspiel for some sketching or the other members of Hang Dai Studios, they'll be at the Locust Moon Comics Festival this Saturday, October 25th in Philadelphia.