Hearing the passion that Darryl “DMC” McDaniels has when he talks about comics, it’s understandable how one could almost forget DMC the rap icon. And that’s saying a lot. As one third of Run-DMC, DMC, Run, and Jam Master Jay (R.I.P.) transformed popular culture in the 80s by taking Hip-Hop to levels it had never seen before. Among the group’s many accomplishments, they were the first rap act with gold and platinum plaques, the first rappers to get their video played on MTV, and they even invaded the pop charts with their remake of “Walk This Way” alongside Aerosmith.
DMC is now set to again be part of a Hip-Hop first, even after three decades in the industry. With assistance from art director Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez and music executive Riggs Morales, he is becoming the first Hip-Hop comic book publisher. Under the imprint Darryl Makes Comics, they are scheduled to release their first graphic novel, DMC, in the fall of 2013.
AllHipHop.com had the privilege and pleasure of speaking with DMC recently about his new undertaking. And it’s safe to say, based on the conversation, that he is not only living out one of his dreams with it but that is he is also eager to use it as a way to provide others the opportunity to do the same.
AllHipHop.com: What does this project bring to the respective worlds of Hip-Hop and comics that up until this point had been missing?
DMC: In my thirty plus years in Hip-Hop, everywhere I went, since 1983, people would always approach me [and say], “Yo, I got this Hip-Hop comic.” First of all, I’d say none of them broke through successfully because you can’t do a “Hip-Hop comic.” First and foremost, you have to do a comic that is respectable and legitimate to comic book culture. That being said, Hip-Hop and comic books always existed simultaneously. But nobody was able to really bring it together. Like my comic isn’t the rapper DMC doing a Hip-Hop comic. It isn’t going to be the rapping super hero, nothing corny like that. This is an official comic book first. Likein this universe, Darryl McDaniels is DMC the emcee/rapper guy. In the comic book, it’s “what if Darryl McDaniels, in this universe, was really a superhero?” So this comic book is Superman, Batman, Hulk, Iron Man, Spiderman, DMC, first and foremost. So what this brings to Hip-Hop and comic book culture is the same way that Run-DMC inspired, innovated, revolutionized, and excited music culture by bringing “Rock Box,” “King of Rock,” and “Walk This Way” to the world is the same thing I’m going to do with this comic.
It’s gonna have that graffiti swag. It’s gonna have that Hip-Hop edge to it. It’s going to have the look, the vibe, the lingo, and the swag of Hip-Hop culture. But it going to be relevant to everybody-6 to 60, Black, White, Puerto Rican, Japanese, German, Peruvian, and even the motherf*****s up on Mars!
AllHipHop.com: Please discuss the conversation between yourself, Edgardo, and Riggs that led to the creation of Darryl Makes Comics.
DMC: I went up to Warner Bros. to meet Riggs about this artist that we wanted to get signed. So we go in for a music meeting. And Riggs basically said, “Before we get started, there’s some questions I want to ask you. What was your childhood like?” And as soon as I said, “Man, I was a comic book head.” I saw this light go off in his eyes. And it was bad for my artist because instead of sitting there meeting about him, we spent the next three hours talking about comic books. Before I thought about being a Hip-Hop artist, for me, growing up was about doing kid stuff, going to school, and comic books. He [Riggs] started naming all these guys in Hip-Hop that were big comic book heads. And just everything he spoke about that influenced, excited, and was part of his life with comic books, I was familiar with it all. And I told him I’d always thought about doing a comic book. And he said, “Yo D, if anybody could do it, you could do it. As long as its respectable and legitimate and it’s honorable to comic book culture.” The he was like, “I got this guy you want to meet (Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez).” We said if we’re going to do this, it’s gotta be DC, Marvel, Darryl Makes Comics. And that’s basically how this came about. More importantly, he [Riggs] said, “D, you can be the guy who opens up the door for all those past, present, and future comic book people who really don’t get their chance.”
“I like Run DMC but I love DMC. No one ever sounded like DMC, no one ever looks like DMC. He’s like a superhero.” Chris Rock, Rolling Stone.
When you look at the music business, for example, there are lyricists that will put the fear of God in Jay Z and Eminem but they don’t get their chance because when they go meet with the A&Rs and the label heads, they say, “It’s so great that you have the ability of Kool G. Rap rolled up with the flavor of De La Soul presented like Stetsasonic, but could you be a little more like Chief Keef?” So one of the things that me, Riggs, and Edgardo spoke about was [how] this will give a chance to all of those people- young, old, past, future, present, who want to be an illustrator, a writer, a penciler, who want to be an artist. I feel it’s my responsibility to represent this industry in a respectable, opportunistic way the same way I kicked down the door with Run-D.M.C. This universe that we’re opening up in the comic book literally opens up an new industry in a universe of comic book culture.
AllHipHop.com: On Run-DMC’s episode of Behind the Music you said, “Growing up I’d spend endless hours in my room sitting by the window watching the other kids play, but I was drawing Spider Man, Captain America, Superman.” What was it like finding out that you’d be working with people like Damion Scott, Dexter Vines, and Sal Buscema who have contributed to superheroes you read about as a kid?
DMC: That’s the most crazy thing EVER! The whole thing that happened with me is when Hip-Hop came over the bridge from the Bronx to this suburban lower middle-class Catholic school kid, I put all my comic book dreams on hold to pursue this new culture of music and poetry. Me and my brother Alfred, we had an extensive collection of comic books and Sal Buscema was the backdrop of my whole childhood. But me and my brother sold the majority of our comic book collection to buy turntables and a mixer because this Hip-Hop thing was so overpowering. But all of these artists who worked for Marvel (e.g. Damion Scott) have drawn some of my favorite superheroes. And [as far] as Sal Buscema it’s like, “How the hell do I get a chance to work with God?” It’s crazy how things go full-circle. To be able to work with legends who have participated and fought on that front-line of comic book creativity is an honor to me. It’s a blessing, a dream come true. True be told, I feel like a twelve year-old kid again.
“Like we said before, we rock hardcore/I’m DJ Run, I can scratch. I’m DMC, I can draw“
AllHipHop.com: And last but not least, would you talk about your Kickstarter campaign and its significance to the process?
DMC: The Kickstarter thing, I’m not doing it for a handout. I want everyone to feel involved. The reason we chose to do a Kickstarter is just for the whole thing of if we do it corporate, corporate is gonna put their ideas in there and it’s not gonna be true to the game. I want this to be respectable; I want it to be legitimate. It’s comic book culture first. Secondly, it’s gonna be influenced by Hip-Hop culture because that’s my generation. My job is to make sure it’s as dope as the Raising Hell album is and as dope the Marvel universe is.