Earlier this month Z2 Comics released Czarface: A Czar is Born, a collaboration with hip-hop supergroup Czarface. The graphic novel, which tells the secret origin of the group’s eponymous character, is written by group member Seamus “Esoteric” Ryan and Chris Robinson, illustrated by Ariel Olivetti, and lettered by AndWorld Design, with cover artwork by Lamour Supreme. Today The Beat has an exclusive four-page preview of interior pages from the graphic novel.

Here’s how Z2 Comics describes Czarface: A Czar is Born:

Hero to some, villain to others, Czarface’s true origins have remained a mystery…UNTIL NOW! Who are the Zarta Ku? And why has their desperate mission brought them to Planet Earth? Meanwhile, Zach and his dog were just a washed up wrestling tag team making ends meet on the comicon circuit when they crossed paths with a woman who will change both their lives forever. Written by Czarface’s own Esoteric (Merry X-Men Holiday Special) with art by veteran illustrator Ariel Olivetti (Cable; Punisher War Journal), this landmark original graphic novel is a must-have for Wednesday warriors, wrestling marks, and hip-hop heads–or fans of all three combined!

Along with the exclusive preview, Esoteric spoke to The Beat about developing the character of Czarface, and his experience of people’s reactions to the character:

“When we first started making the music for our first Czarface album, I had the idea to centralize it all through the image of an iron clad anti-hero. So after we collaborated on the look with Lamour Supreme, I had to develop the origin. One of the fun challenges of creating a backstory for a comic character that was born through the music is seeing how much of your actual team you can fit into the character. I think when developing and fleshing out Czarface, I tried to keep our actual identities in mind as well, and not just our personas on the mic, but also in reality. Watching Czarface grow from such a close perspective might prevent me from really seeing how he’s perceived by people that latch onto the music first, rather than the imagery in the stories, but I love hearing what people think about him!”

Czarface: A Czar is Born is the latest music-themed graphic novel from Z2 Comics. The 100-page graphic novel is available in softcover and hardcover editions, as well as a deluxe edition including an oversized hardcover and slipcase designed by Tyler Boss, an exclusive 7″ EP featuring a title theme for the book and new remixes of their songs, and a set of three prints with artwork by Ryan Ottley & Frank MartinTradd Moore, and Buster Moody. The super-deluxe edition, which adds a vinyl toy of Czarface as well as a mask, has already sold out.

Check out the exclusive four-page preview of Czarface: A Czar is Born below. The graphic novel is available in stores and online now.