Critically acclaimed rap artist Vince Staples is best known for being a fan-favorite creator of albums such as DST ’06, Prima donnaand his latest release Ramona Park broke my heart. The California-based rapper recently embarked on a brand new creative adventure in the form of the original graphic novel limbo beachwhich borrows from stories like The Warriors and lord of the flies to tell the story of a group of stranded teenagers who get stranded in a weird island theme park and develop unique superpowers.
Staples sat down for a quick chat with CBR in which he talked about his new graphic novel, which also features the talents of comic book veterans Bryan Edward Hill (batman and the aliens, 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 music-based and artist-centric stuff. We asked to work on an original story, and they introduced us to a team that has worked in comics before. We wanted to do a story about maturity, growth, and some of the things kids have to deal with, all in a unique environment. It’s something we’re really proud of and hope people enjoy.
What is the story behind limbo beach?
It’s basically about a child stranded in some sort of limbo populated by other children. He tries to figure out how to navigate this environment, but he has amnesia and doesn’t remember anything about himself. He then has to use his experiences to find out who he is because there is no one available to show him. That’s true for a lot of kids who don’t have role models, and they have to try to figure it all out without even really knowing who they are. We use it in a kind of surreal environment and we 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 the opportunity to try something new and see if we could do something cool for people. I was intrigued by the chance to do something I had never even thought of doing before.
Do you find it harder to create music or comics?
The comic was really easy thanks to the teamwork we had and the facilitation from Z2 Comics. It was a fairly painless process from the start due to the amount of education given and the professionalism and experience of a lot of guys. Music is much harder because the team we had when we first started making music was nowhere near as strong as the team we had from Z2.
Are there any comics in particular that you enjoy?
I never really liked comics until my nephew, who just turned 13, introduced me. He’s in a comic heavy phase right now and got me on Batman, watchmenand lots of manga and anime stuff like my hero academia. My understanding of comics mostly comes from television, and getting into 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 watch Batman, Superman or even Deku from my hero academia, I kind of see them for who they are, and I kind of fall into character, you know? I would say my favorite, because I went back and looked at the writing, that’s Akira.
Are there any other projects you would like to mention?
limbo beach went out on [May] 31. My last album, Ramona Park broke my heart, is out now. Other than that, we’re just working on stuff and hopefully getting more interested in writing more comics and maybe turning this into some sort of series. 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 goes on sale May 31 from Z2 Comics.
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