Library celebrates hip-hop and comics

John G (self portrait).

On Sunday, May 5, Heights Libraries will celebrate the intersection of hip-hop and comics with comic writer and publisher Amy Chu, Run-DMC founder and comic publisher Darryl McDaniels, local artist John G of Shiner Comics, and Cleveland rapper Phyll Thomas.

A full afternoon of programs will take place at the Coventry Village branch, 1925 Coventry Road, beginning at 2 p.m. with a virtual conversation with Chu and McDaniels, followed by a 3 p.m. interactive snack-focused comic workshop with John G—featuring a nacho bar—called “One Page Comic Workshop: Snack Stories.” A concurrent live performance by Thomas begins at 3:15 p.m.

Registration for all May 5 programs begins April 21 at

Chu is the founder of Alpha Girl Comics, and has written for DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, and Dynamite Entertainment, as well as for McDaniel’s company, Darryl Makes Comics. She has also written graphic novels for kids, including Fighting to Belong!, Turning RedSea SirensSky Island, and Ana and the Cosmic Race. McDaniels, best known for his time with the ‘80s rap group Run-DMC, founded Darryl Makes Comics in 2014, and has written several comics in addition to publishing the work of other writers and artists.

Library staff were able to book the duo by entering, and winning, the Christopher J. Hoy Scholarship Silent Auction while attending the American Library Association conference in the fall. A virtual talk by the two was one of the auction items, and staff immediately saw the potential to reach residents, especially kids and teens, with the program.

“We saw an opportunity to land these actual rock stars (and comics rock stars) for a virtual visit,” said Youth Services Librarian E. Hogan. “With several new book tie-ins, and local rapper and comic artist connections, this all led to a multigenerational, interdisciplinary, dream-team event.”

John G is a local comic artist known for his collaboration with comic artist Jake Kelly on the comic series “The Lake Erie Monster,” and for his instantly recognizable artwork for Melt Bar and Grilled restaurants. He also is one of the founders of the local Genghis Con independent comic convention in Cleveland, and has taught cartooning to young people in the Cleveland Public Schools.

Thomas is an emerging local hip-hop artist known for his upbeat instrumentation and lyrical wordplay. According to Thomas, his mission in music is to encourage people to be themselves.

The Lee Road branch will host two earlier comic-related programs:

On Wednesday, May 1, at 7 p.m., Valentino Zullo, Anisfield-Wolf Postdoctoral Fellow in English and the public humanities at Ursuline College and the Ohio Center for the Book Scholar-in-Residence at Cleveland Public Library, will present “The History of Comics.” Registration begins April 17 at

On Saturday, May 4, Heights Libraries’ Youth Services Department will host Free Comic Book Day in the teen room. The event will last all day, or until the comics run out.

Sheryl Banks

Sheryl Banks is the communications manager for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System.

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Volume 17, Issue 4, Posted 10:03 AM, 03.28.2024