WU-TANG EN­DEAVOR

South Side sib­lings launch dig­i­tal comic book with sound­track and sup­port from The RZA

Chicago Sun-Times - - ENTERTAINMENT - BY EVAN F. MOORE, DIG­I­TAL CON­TENT PRO­DUCER [email protected] | @evanF­moore Nikiya Price Wil­lis Price

In 1998, Wu-Tang Clan mem­ber Ol’ Dirty Bas­tard stormed the stage dur­ing the Grammy Awards to pro­claim, “When it comes to the chil­dren, we teach the chil­dren. Wu-Tang is for the chil­dren.”

A South Side brother-sis­ter duo has made that procla­ma­tion a re­al­ity.

Avalon Park sib­lings Wil­lis “Glyph Sput­nik” Price, a comic book writer and artist, and his sis­ter, Nikiya Price, who spe­cial­izes in brand mar­ket­ing and prod­uct de­vel­op­ment, are col­lab­o­rat­ing with The RZA, one of the found­ing mem­bers of the iconic rap group Wu-Tang Clan, to pro­duce “Samu­rai in a Hoodie,” a dig­i­tal, mu­si­cal comic book se­ries.

A dig­i­tal comic book is an elec­tronic ver­sion of a reg­u­lar paper comic book. “Samu­rai in a Hoodie” will fea­ture dig­i­tal an­i­ma­tion and an orig­i­nal mu­sic sound­track with The RZA.

Its sto­ry­line has a so­cial jus­tice com­po­nent that fol­lows Yusef, the main char­ac­ter, in a fic­tional town named “Cobalt City.”

Edi­tions of the “Samu­rai in a Hoodie” se­ries can be pur­chased in a Kin­dle edi­tion at Ama­zon.com.

The RZA, co-cre­ator of 36 Cham­bers Inc., a life­style com­pany, is on board as an ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer.

“[‘Samu­rai Hoodie’] re­minded me of ‘Ghost Dog’ and ‘Afro Samu­rai,’ yet to­tally rooted in hip-hip from a Chicago per­spec­tive,” The RZA said in a news re­lease last month. Sput­nik says he in­cluded themes that young black men deal with while liv­ing in Chicago such as po­lice con­duct, stereo­types and racism.

Samu­rai Hoodie is sched­uled to have three story arcs to­tal­ing 15 is­sues. Is­sue No. 2 is ten­ta­tively planned for a Fe­bru­ary or early March re­lease.

“We looked through a lens of things as they hap­pened. Samu­rai Hoodie wears a hoodie be­cause of what hap­pened to Trayvon Martin. A lot of things can pop up when a young black man grows up in an ur­ban set­ting,” Sput­nik said. “The char­ac­ter is witty and spon­ta­neous. That’s some­thing that’s not seen in black comic book char­ac­ters.”

The Price sib­lings make up House of Logic, a cre­ative agency they launched in 2012 that spe­cial­izes in de­signs, comic books, an­i­ma­tions, in­ven­tive mar­ket­ing strate­gies and dig­i­tal ex­pe­ri­ence mar­ket­ing.

“I’ve al­ways taken an in­ter­est in Glyph’s per­sonal brand. Busi­ness has al­ways been a sta­ple for me in terms of my ex­pres­sion of art,” Nikiya said. “Glyph has been so sup­port­ive of me, so I wanted to take that brand and call it our own through en­trepreneur­ship.”

Sput­nik, 38, is the cre­ative arm of House of Logic, while Nikiya, 28, is the CEO of the com­pany.

“House of Logic is some­thing we would en­vi­sion us do­ing to­gether. We wanted to build a plat­form on the things we’re both pas­sion­ate about,” Nikiya said. “We fos­tered that en­ergy from the things we did grow­ing up.”

Sput­nik first col­lab­o­rated with the WuTang Clan when he de­signed the cover art for the group’s 2017 com­pi­la­tion al­bum “The Saga Con­tin­ues.” The Prices reached out to The RZA to gauge in­ter­est.

“The cur­rent project is spe­cific to what we’re ac­com­plish­ing. We pitched Glyph’s work to 36 Cham­bers and it was an im­me­di­ate syn­ergy,” Nikiya said. “RZA and my brother are into comics and mar­tial arts. Bring­ing the prod­uct to the mar­ket was pow­er­ful.”

The Price sib­lings have a poignant mes­sage on how they plan to go about ex­pand­ing their com­pany.

“We wanted to put our en­ergy into work­ing to­gether. Not for some­one else. We wanted our mother to see that all that she did for us wasn’t in vain,” Nikiya said.

HOUSE OF LOGIC/36 CHAM­BERS

Yusef, the katana-swing­ing hero of “Samu­rai in a Hoodie,” prac­tices mar­tial arts and so­cial jus­tice in fic­tional Cobalt City.

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