Ed Piskor's Hip-Hop Family Tree, the ongoing hip-hop-history series from Fantagraphics that has til now come out on an irregular schedule, will this August become the first monthly series published by the company. Both written and drawn by Piskor, each volume of the series has traced a few years in the history of hi-hop, covering the rise of performers including Run DMC and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.

The concept started off at Boing Boing, which serialized Piskor's project as part cultural history, part superhero origin story, before being picked up and collected by Fantagraphics. Starting in the 1970s and moving forward into the 80s, the third collection is due out from Fantagraphics later this year, chronicling 1983-84 --- meaning it'll start following acts like The Beastie Boys.

The idea of putting the series out as a monthly is a surprise, but likely a smart move for anybody who picked up one of the annual Free Comic Book Day issues. Fantagraphics have been putting out standalone issues each year for a while now, and it must have proved a popular route into the main collections.

The official press release reveals that the series will start off as expanded reprints, featuring commentary and bonus material compiled by Piskor:


The first issue traces the very beginning of hip-hop: it spotlights the breakdancers, graffiti artists, DJs, and MCs who formed hip-hop culture in the tenement rec rooms of the south Bronx in the 1970s. Readers will discover who invented the term "Hip-Hop," and cultural pioneers like Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa will make appearances


With this as its first monthly release, Fantagraphics is also jumping wholeheartedly into the spirit of the American monthly comics market by releasing each issue with a number of variant covers and retailer-exclusive editions.

Both Hip-Hop Family Tree #1 and the third collected volume will be released in August. We'll be interested to see if this leads to more monthly books from Fanta in the future.