Chuck D Creates New Comic Celebrating Public Enemy’s “Apocalypse 91: The Enemy Strikes Black”

Chuck D

Chuck D revealed although the album came first over 30 years ago, it’s “pretty much the soundtrack” to his new graphic novel.

Chuck D is using his skills as a visual artist to enter the comic book realm, creating a project that celebrates a famed hip-hop album.  

The legendary lead rapper of the iconic Public Enemy will create a graphic novel commemorating the 30th anniversary of the group’s 1991 album Apocalypse 91: The Enemy Strikes Black. Chuck D partnered with Z2 Comics on the book, titled, Apocalypse 91: Revolution Never Sleeps

“Apocalypse 91 album is pretty much the soundtrack to the graphic novel,” Chuck D said in an interview to Inverse. However, he revealed, “The music came first, then came the images. They’re reciprocal. It’s interesting to see the graphic novel component to the sound, story, sight, and ideas that were made over 30 years ago.” 

When asked to grade Marvel and DC for Black representation in comics, Chuck D admitted he doesn’t read many at 61   

“I know when I was growing up they had to speak to the times,” he said. “Civil rights demands had to speak to the times when it came down to Black being beautiful and not just being just a second-class citizen.” He gave kudos to Marvel “because they had to deal with all the elements of New York City.”  

Chuck D continued, “This comic book company rooted in New York City took note of knowing that it had to acknowledge that part of the population. Black Panther (T’Challa) was a person that got my interest. Did I put him above all the other superheroes?” he asked. “Not really, but he was in the mix. DC in the late ‘60s was still a little bit in fantasyland, dealing with the cornfields of the Metropolis outskirts. When they finally got around to it at the turn of the ‘70s then I was like, okay I’m interested.”  

Chuck D Says Public Enemy Used “Comic Book imagery”

He then revealed that Public Enemy was inspired by comic books. “I created my own figures with a bit more imagination put to the Public Enemy characters. I didn’t invent them, I just brought it out with imagery. Flavor Flav, Professor Griff, the S1Ws, Terminator X, and myself. It was all comic book imagery.”  

He says the group knew MTV wouldn’t play their music so they created an aura. “We weren’t going to get the front page, or the pop group Grammy of the year. And we weren’t going to get the attention by just going gangster. We weren’t trying to shock white America,” he added. “We wanted to be very clear who we were and it was really rounded with something else. There was enough there that after the bark, you found some bite!” 

Click here to buy Apocalypse 91: Revolution Never Sleeps. Click here to watch Chuck D discuss his series “Songs That Shook the Planet,” with