‘Jimi Hendrix has as many layers as the Marvel universe:’ Artist’s sister and brand manager talks comics, fashion and keeping promises

A Jimi Hendrix comic series may be in the works as the official family estate reveals that talks to develop an illustrated ‘super hero’ version of the 60s cultural icon have been held.

Sister to the iconic musician and director of both Authentic Hendrix and Experience Hendrix, Janie Hendrix, has detailed that it is with a ‘Marvel-like approach’ that she and Epic Rights are ‘building on the many facets and layers of her brother, Jimi Hendrix.’

This includes exploring ideas surrounding an “animated or illustrated format in which Hendrix, his image or his lyrics, are reinterpreted as a super hero figure,” she told Licensing.biz.

“The whole Marvel series has taken off so crazily and through it we are learning of so many new facets: we have discovered Black Panther, we have learned Dead Pool, there are many different layers and I think of Jimi in the same way, there are different layers for every person.”

It is Hendrix’s love of not only music and peace, but for what is often considered his first loves, art and fashion that his sibling stated would be the focal point of ‘exploring Jimi’s layers through licensing.’

The Hendrix outfit has already created a Pantone called Purple Haze that it believes will help it ‘take Jimi to a different level.’

“Jimi liked to break the boundaries of constraints and that is how I look at what we are doing,” continued Hendrix. “We are looking at ways of bringing Jimi, his inspiration, not just to a t-shirt or some merchandise, but to your home, through music, home décor, lifestyle, entertainment and to really immerse people in Jimi.”

At a time in which the onus is on franchises like Marvel, a super hero Jimi Hendrix could be seen as a logical next step. However, for the artist’s sister, the idea is more personal and affectionate than a bandwagon hop.

“My whole approach to the Jimi Hendrix brand starts out with a promise we made when I was six years old and Jimi was 24,” she said. “He told me that he would always take care of me and I told him that when I grew up I would take care of him.”

The guitarist and emblem for cultural change and freedom died three years later, but it is through his legacy and ‘the maintenance of that in a special and personal way,’ that his younger sibling believes the pair have kept their promises to each other.

However, the road hasn’t been easy and between 1993 and 1995, Hendrix, alongside her and Jimi’s father, became entangled in a long-drawn court battle for ownership of the Jimi Hendrix rights.

Wrestled from the family’s attorney and Universal in a ‘David and Goliath battle,’ the pair eventually won to set up Authentic Hendrix and Experience Hendrix; companies that have continued to ‘deliver Jimi to the people that love him.’

“When it comes to the vision for the Hendrix brand, it’s one thing to put Jimi’s image on a t-shirt and the cool memorabilia band wear, but I think that as we have all grown older we appreciate the style and fashion that Jimi was about,” said Janie Hendrix.

“His fashion and his whole image as well as his music is beyond anything we still can understand, and this is what comes through in our approach to licensing the brand.”

While any further detail on the potential for a Jimi Hendrix comic or illustrated series is being kept firmly locked up, the Experience Hendrix and Authentic Hendrix businesses – alongside Epic Rights – have plenty to keep fans occupied, including a slate of 20 new licensees and talks to bring various pop-up stores or events to London and the UK.

“We just came out with the new album Wrong Side of the Sky and our next big project is the Hollywood Bowl and Jimi’s performance. Everything goes together, the music, the new launches and the merchandise as well,” concluded Hendrix.

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of Licensing.biz and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both ToyNews and Licensing.biz, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing robert.hutchins@biz-media.co.uk or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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