Kung Fu Grip! #3B: Super Special Edition

When I was a snot-nosed third grader, I was super envious of one of my classmates who had this folder that he'd decorated with the Marvel Comics Super-Hero stickers. Between 1974 and 1976, the Topps Chewing Gum Company produced a senses-shattering assortment of Marvel hero decals sold in wax packs like baseball cards–complete with a flat pink slab of chalk-flavored bubble gum.

Three decades later, in the fall of 2007, I hand produced a limited edition series of two-hundred covers for the third issue of Kung Fu Grip! (The Stick & Move Special Edition). Featured on the front of each copy was a sticker collage made up of "slaps" that had been sent to me over the years by slap-taggers and street artists from around the world.

Quite often, though, while working on that cover series I would remember that childhood classmate's folder, and I thought about trying to recapture that vintage flavor on one of my sticker collage covers. But I never got around to actually doing it. Now five years later, though, the idea still continued to haunt me.

And so, last week I made up my mind to place a conservative bid on a small collection of Marvel super-hero decals (circa 1975) that I found on Ebay. A few days later, the assortment was mine. Muahahaha!

Now, cuz I don't want you to be super envious, I ain't gonna say just how utterly cheap I got the collection for. But only a few years ago, the price I paid would've been completely unheard of. (Or perhaps it was the hand of fate that tipped the bidding in my favor...)

Anyway, as you can see from the scans included with this post, I wound up producing two "super special collector's edition" covers. One of these will most certainly be kept in my personal collection, but the other will likely be offered for sale at the underground publishing & art show that I plan to curate later this year.

This past January, I decided to put together an exhibit in order to commemorate a decade of my continuous zine production between 2002 and 2012. And whenever I envisioned the covers of my zines on a wall, I would see half-a-dozen copies of the KFG3 special edition also on display. Among them, I could also see a cover like this one hanging on the wall.  When the time comes, it really will.



Your Kung Fu Sucks! Grindhouse Cinemas™ is proud to bring you another Knuckle-crackin' Saturday Matinee™, featuring Sister Street Fighter, which stars the absolutely stunning Sue Shiomi. Oh...and Sonny Chiba, too! As always, a free MP4 download is available courtesy of the good folks at Archive.org. Or feel free to watch this eye-gougingly good flick front-row-and-center at the YKFS blog!


Rock Steady #3: Shaolin Breakbeats!!!

Kung Fu Grip! zine, in association with the TROY blog, brings you Mr. Wiggles' classic Rock Steady Mixtape #3: Shaolin Breakbeats. That's right, b-boys and b-girls, this vintage cassette has been digitized and donated to the web for your listening pleasure by the dynamic duo of dirt_dog and St. Paco. So download this baby pronto and prepare yourself for nearly one hour of old school martial-arts-marinated music, bad English dubbing, fight sound effects, and the ill mic skills of Mr. Wiggles and Ken Swift of the legendary Rock Steady Crew.

Mr. Wiggles – Rock Steady #3: Shaolin Breakbeats (1996)

Who loves ya, baby?

St. Paco, that's who.

Still rockin' steady, baby

Somehow, I forgot to provide a follow-up to my posts last year about the Rock Steady mixtapes that I put up for auction on Ebay (read about 'em here and here). At the time, I mentioned that one of the cassettes had been purchased by a dude named Sahin in Germany who'd been on a quest to find a copy of the first of those cassettes for sixteen friggin' years. Well, the story of Sahin's quest and it's happy ending – thanks to yours truly – was detailed in an interview in the Fall/Winter edition of Backspin (issue #107), Germany's oldest hip-hop mag. Shown below is a fuzzy cameraphone shot of the two-page spread that was proudly posted to Sahin's Facebook page.

Breaking and the New York City Breakers

If Spraycan Art, the book by Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant, is considered the bible of graffiti, then Michael Holman's Breaking and the New York City Breakers might be the equivalent of the Dead Sea Scrolls of hip-hop–because copies of this publication are extremely effin' rare today. Released to magazine racks back in 1984, Holman's visionary trade paperback documented the short history of the Floor Masters, the b-boy crew that he would groom and rename the New York City Breakers. In the process, Holman explores the roots of hip-hop music, dance, graffiti art, language and fashion, and renders a vivid portrait of this vibrant culture in its incredibly defined infancy. Of all of the artifacts in my archive, Breaking and the New York City Breakers is one of my most treasured. As you can see from the cover, my copy is as tattered and torn as a thousand-year-old religious scroll. But since most modern disciples of hip-hop culture have probably never heard of, let alone seen this rare gem, it seemed like a good time to share a few of its pulse-pounding pages.

So sayeth

St. Paco

Funky Flyer Junkie

Phase 2 - April, 1981

Maur – March, 1981

Buddy Esquire - November, 1981

It could easily be argued that one of the most indispensable, though under appreciated, elements of early hip-hop were the industriously-made handbills (aka flyers) that were produced to promote hip-hop parties throughout the New York metro. Phase 2, the most prolific flyer rocker of the time, writes that between 1978 and 1979, flyer production reached its creative zenith with the pieces made not only by himself, but skilled designers like Buddy Esquire, Sisco Kid, Eddie Ed, Maur, and others.

In October of 2004, soulstrut.com would feature on its website a staggering collection of roughly 150 of those classic flyers from the personal archives of a collector called Dustykid. And as others have most certainly done, I downloaded the collection to my own archives. But I think that I may have taken things just one step further. 'Cuz I'm geeky like dat, I wanted to be able to examine the flyers in a more accurate historical context, so I actually organized 'em in chronological order.

I should mention now that it wasn't exactly easy. In fact, many of the flyers only included the day and date of the event, but no year. So the task frequently required my referencing a digital calendar, to determine in which years various days and dates coincided.

The earliest flyer in the collection dates to June of 1979, and the last dates to October of 1986. (Okay, I might have left out the three flyers from '87 that didn't live up to my standards!) Because Dustykid was good enough to share the collection with the world wide web, at some future point I plan to share my chronologically sequenced set with those who might also be interested in such geekery.

In the meantime, feel free to click the link below to download one of my favorite recordings from the period when the funkiest flyers were being made. That's right, true believers, the L Brothers vs. the Herculoids, live at the Bronx River Center! I found this and a few other vintage recordings like it on the interwebs some years back. People often like to tout the phrase "real hip-hop," but this recording audibly illustrates what real hip-hop actually sounds like.

The L Bros vs. The Herculoids at the Bronx River Center (1978)

So veddy soddy

Dear YKFS readers,

We would like to offer our sincerest apologies for the recent spate of blog posts. We do realize that it may have been a little irresponsible to have unleashed such a large dose of freshness upon unsuspecting readers in such quick succession. We are deeply sorry for this, but these recent posts were inspired by forces beyond our control. Nevertheless, we take full responsibility for them. If any our postings have provoked strong physiological reactions, including but not limited to: heart palpitations, shortness of breath, depression, or thoughts of blog-o-cide, we ask that you turn off the monitor immediately and take a break from the YKFS blog.


The Management