From Music to Comics Run-D.M.C.’s Darryl McDaniels Is Still Our Superhero [Interview]

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Through his independent publishing house, Darryl Makes Comics, McDaniels has been putting out his own comic book series for the past few years. Working with partner and Editor-In-Chief Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez in addition to Senior Editor Rigo “Riggs” Morales, who is currently the vice president of A&R at Atlantic Records, McDaniels and his team have already released three volumes – and they’re not planning on stopping anytime soon.

At this past New York Comic Con, caught up with McDaniels and learned how he got into comics, what his comic book series is about and his love for Marvel Comics and Stan Lee. What made you go from music to comics?

Darryl McDaniels: Well, it’s not going from music to comics. Before hip-hop came over the bridge from the Bronx and 1970s rock radio, as a young man all I did was read, collect and draw comic books. That’s all I did. I went to school, did my homework and got my straight As because I wanted nothing to keep and deter me from reading my comic books when I got home.

I read a comic book over and over and, when I got bored of reading it, I took out some tracing paper so I could trace all my favorite superheroes. That was when I was in first grade; by second grade I didn’t need the tracing paper anymore. So I went back to the foundation of a thing that gave me the ultimate powers in hip-hop. Before hip-hop and music, it was all comic books.

So when you did hip-hop, what made you decide to go back into comics?

Well, I didn’t decide to go back into comics. What had happened about three years ago, I went to a music meeting. It was up in Atlantic Records with a young man named Riggs Morales, who was Eminem’s right hand man for the rise of the Shady Records empire – and big shout out to Eminem because he’s a geek and a nerd and a comic book head like all of us here.

So, I went into the meeting and when I sat down with Riggs to speak about some music stuff. He said, “Yo before I start talking about this music, I’ll probably never get this chance again. Your music’s words, you’re DMC, you’re my superhero. The way you look, the way you sound with your gloves and your glasses and your hat and your Adidas shoes and your leather suits and all that.”

He asked what was it like when I was a kid and I told him exactly what I just told you. I was a little kid, all I did was read and collect and draw comic books. And then Riggs says, “comic books?”

We sat there for three hours and we didn’t talk about music – we talked about comic books. I came out of that discussion and he said, “Yo you should do a comic.”

I was like, “Naw, I don’t want to do a comic book. I don’t want my fellow geeks and nerds mad at me trying to be another rapper to capitalize off of something for commercial and money reasons.”

Then, Riggs goes, “Yo D, your first foundation was comic books, that’s what empowered you to do hip-hop.” He also said I could be a clear representation of all of us because if DMC goes to the top of the hill, top of the mountain and says that nerds and geeks are cool and comic books rule. It’d be done, it’d be over, it’d be official.

Riggs went on to say that with the comic book I could do what I’ve been doing with my music all of these years: inspire, motivate, educate and entertain. And I was like, “Whoa I never thought about it like that.” He said I had an advantage because it was comics first then music. It wasn’t like I did music and said, “Ah what else can I do, I’m gonna sell clothes, sell liquor and this and this and that.” It’s cool to sell comic books.

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