cover image Summer of HAMN: Hollowpointlessness Aiding Mass Nihilism

Summer of HAMN: Hollowpointlessness Aiding Mass Nihilism

Chuck D. Enemy, $19.95 trade paper (240p) ISBN 978-1-63614-152-7

Public Enemy front man Chuck D follows up Stewdio with a striking graphic narrative archive of gun violence and collective misery during the summer of 2022. He takes note of WNBA player Brittney Griner’s detainment in Russia, student debt crises, and alarming climate disasters, but focuses on the issue that dominates that summer’s media cycle: “guns... guns... guns.” Gun violence rips through the narrative—as well as grocery and convenience stores, malls, football games (“a coach, a father, another Black man slain”) and state parks, in mass shootings and murders that the artist sees as arising from a “disunited state of America.” The text’s lyrical rhyme scheme underscores the gravity of the work’s themes and showcases the rapper’s deadly skill with a pen. (“NATO doesn’t include any of the Black world word on its position... thus NATO stands for no African thoughts or opinion.”) Bold portraits, sketched in dark watercolors and inks, are most poignant in two-page spreads, where the scope widens and brighter color dashes highlight emotion. There are lighter moments and touches of humor, as well as introspective personal asides, in which he thrills at riding an e-bike at age 62 (“done changed my living life”) and recounts how his great-grandfather helped design New York City’s Flatiron Building. Readers will also find memorials for icons who died in 2022, including Bill Russell of the Boston Celtics and the Delphonics’ William Hart. But reminders of America’s brutal pastime are never far away: “40 percent of the worlds guns owned... 400 million guns in a place 300 million call home.” The sudden tone shifts feel like an apt parallel for the contemporary pattern of “mov[ing] on” between interruptions of mass shootings. It’s a bristling and necessary catalogue of collective anguish. (Oct.)