Critically acclaimed rap artist Vince Staples is best known for being the fan-favorite creator of albums such as summer time ’06, prima donnaand his most recent release Ramona Park Broke My Heart. The California-based rapper recently took on an all-new creative venture in the form of the original graphic novel limbo beachwhich borrows from stories like The Warriors and Lord of the Flies to tell the tale of a group of stranded adolescents who wash up on a strange island theme park and develop unique superpowers.
Staples sat down for a brief conversation with CBR in which he spoke about his new graphic novel, which also features the talents of comic book veterans Bryan Edward Hill (Batman and the Outsiders, titans), Chris Robinson (Children of the Atom), and Buster Moody (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles).
CBR: What can you tell me about limbo beach?
Vince Staples: We were approached by the guys at Z2 Comics, who [do] a lot of stuff that is music-based and centered around artists. We inquired about working on an original story, and they introduced us to a team who has worked in comics before. We wanted to do a story about maturity, growing up, and some of the things that kids have to deal with, all based in a unique environment. It’s something that we’re really proud of and hope people enjoy.
What is the story behind limbo beach?
It’s basically about a kid who washes ashore in a kind of limbo populated by other kids. He tries to figure out how to navigate that environment, but he has amnesia and can’t remember anything about himself. He then has to use his experiences of him to discover who he is because there is no one available to show him. This is true for a lot of kids who don’t have a role model, and they’re left to try to figure everything out without even really knowing who they are. We use that in a sort of surreal environment and made it fun.
Why did you want to write a comic in the first place?
Z2 Comics presented the opportunity, so why not? We create and write other things, so we decided to branch out and take advantage of the opportunity to try something new and see if we could make something cool for people. I was intrigued by the chance to do something that I had never even thought about doing before.
Do you find it more challenging to create music or comics?
The comic was really easy because of the teamwork we had and the facilitation of Z2 Comics. It was a pretty painless process from the beginning because of how much education was given and how professional and seasoned a lot of the guys were. Music is way more difficult because the team we had when we started doing music was nowhere near as strong as the team we had starting with Z2.
Are there any particular comics that you enjoy?
I was never really into comics until my nephew, who just turned 13, introduced me. He’s in a heavy comic book phase right now and put me onto Batman, Watchmenand a lot of manga and anime stuff like My Hero Academia. My understanding of comic books comes mostly from television, and getting into the writing has been a really fun thing to do.
Are there any particular characters that you like or identify with?
Not necessarily. I just like stories. When I look at Batman, Superman, or even Deku from My Hero Academia, I kind of see them for who they are, and I just kind of fall into the character, do you know? I would say that my favorite, because I went back and looked at the writing, is Akira.
Are there any other projects that you’d like to mention?
limbo beach is out on [May] 31. My latest album, Ramona Park Broke My Heart, is out now. Outside of that, we’re just working on things and will hopefully get more into the space of writing more comics and maybe turning this into a series of sorts. I think that would be really great.
Limbo Beach is by Vince Staples, Bryan Edward Hill, Chris Robinson, and Buster Moody. The original graphic novel is on sale May 31 by Z2 Comics.
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