Posthumous projects are nothing new. In the music world alone, the practice dates all the way back to the 19th century, with the release of Frédéric Chopin’s Fantaisie-Impromptu two decades after his passing.
With the rise of NFTs, many estates have started to launch NFT projects in various shapes and forms celebrating the life and work of deceased artists. This has been met with elation from some fans, and deep skepticism and anger from others. Here we round up some of the most notable projects, and the reception from fans and parties involved.
Three years after he passed away, Stan Lee’s official Twitter account announced Chakraverse: a then-upcoming NFT collection featuring his first Indian superhero, Chakra the Invincible.
The sale of this collection was scheduled to coincide with what would have been Lee’s 99th birthday, on December 28, 2021, and was poised as a Web3 celebration of his decades-long legacy. Unfortunately, long-time comic fans didn’t take too kindly to the announcement, with some interpreting the tweet and project as a public stain on Lee’s posthumous online presence.
Those that did end up purchasing pieces from the collection were able to get their hands on exclusive merchandise from the comic’s development, such as its original story treatment, hand-signed lithographs of Chakra the Invincible, and a signed physical copy of the very first issue of Chakra the Invincible’s first comic run.
Widely regarded as one of the greatest jazz musicians to ever grace this earth, Thelonious Monk’s shadow still looms large over culture to this day, even four decades since his passing. This cultural staying power has given rise to countless musical and artistic tributes over the years, some of which have made their way onto the blockchain.
Most recently, artist Javier Arrés worked with Monk’s estate to produce an NFT collection featuring work inspired by the cover of his seminal work, Underground. The pieces herein reflected Monk’s controlled — but playful — improvisational style, which complemented Arrés’ signature attention to detail in his work.
This project came with full endorsement from Monk’s estate, particularly from his son T.S. Monk. “Anytime one has an opportunity for intergenerational cooperation and creation, and the ability to interlope technology and art, whatever comes from such effort, be it physical or ideological, creates space for growth and a benefit and win for the (Monk) family,” said Monk in a press release.
The Shakur estate has been no stranger to keeping the rap legend’s legacy alive with posthumous releases. To date, six posthumous albums have been released featuring Shakur’s vocals front and center, outnumbering the four he directly worked on while he was still with us.
Recently, Shakur’s estate worked to release an NFT collection paying tribute to the rapper’s life and career. The pieces individually reflected who the late Shakur was to the people around him: a saint, sinner, artist, and activist. Unfortunately, Tupac’s fans didn’t take kindly to this announcement, offering similar reactions to the announcement made by Lee’s estate.