Every once in a while, Marvel Comics will publish something set outside of their traditional superhero universe, but they usually reserve that privilege for pretty big name creators. Most recently they’ve published works from Stephen King and George Romero, and now they’re adding to the list with … the Black Eyed Peas.
That’s right, the multi-platinum hip-hop group is teaming up with the House of Ideas to bring fans an original graphic novel entitled Masters of the Sun: The Zombie Chronicles. As announced on Billboard, the book is set for a July release, and will be written by frontman rapper will.i.am with art by All-New Ghost Rider artist Damion Scott and Benjamin Jackendoff. It will be set in a future version of L.A. under siege by both an alien invasion and a burgeoning zombie outbreak, and will follow Zulu-X, a hip-hop fan thrown into the middle of the action.
While this may seem like a weird project (it is), it isn’t as out of the blue as it seems at first glance. Marvel has been courting the favor of hip-hop fans for a few years now with their line of variant covers that play homage to famous album covers, and their editor-in-chief, Axel Alonso, is an outspoken fan of the genre. He told Billboard that he is “thrilled to present this deeply personal story that speaks directly to hip-hop aficionados, comic book fans and the intersection of those communities.”
And will.i.am is no stranger to Marvel himself, having played their character Wraith in X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009 (though we try not to talk about that movie now that Logan is out). He also has some experience with outer space, seeing as his song “Reach for the Stars” was the first song to be broadcast to Earth from Mars, though it remains to be seen if the aliens in Masters of the Sun are Martians or from some other planet.
It can sometimes be a jarring transition for artists in other mediums to make the jump to comics, but it can also turn out pretty well. KISS and Coheed and Cambria are both bands that have had some success in comics, and My Chemical Romance’s Gerard Way currently has his own imprint at DC, so anything is possible! We’ll find out in July when Masters of the Sun: The Zombie Chronicles hits store shelves.