So, fast forward to Montreal ComicCon 2016. My good buddy and resident Rock God himself (not to mention a dear lover of comics and friend to eXpertComics), Jason Rockman wanted to introduce me to his friend...who happens to be...Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, who also happened to be a guest at the con! Turns out DMC happens to be a lover of another medium that broke out in a major way in the roaring 80’s...COMIC BOOKS. Darryl has a comic of his own on the market called DMC: Darryl Makes Comics, which he co-writes with Damian Scott, and is illustrated by a multitude of the industry’s top artists.
So you need to understand, I could not just meet this music icon and fellow comic lover and creator...I needed to interview him and let you, my readers in on just how awesome this experience was.
Just to let you know how Darryl is, he doesn’t sit at the “celebrity wing” of comic conventions, he prefers Artist’s Alley, and he doesn’t sit behind the desk for the typical “assembly line” of autographs, he is standing in the aisle, meeting people and having real conversations with them about whatever they feel like talking about. When I asked him for a quick interview, D pulled up a chair and sat down, one-on-one to talk. He’s the real deal, and you can see why he has the reputation of being real.
Let’s not play around. Here’s what went down. I hope you guys are as excited as I was when this was ACTUALLY happening. And of course, I was wearing my Run DMC t-shirt specifically to conduct this interview!
FPB: Man, first off I really appreciate this, I know you have a crazy schedule this weekend. I just really wanna begin talking about comics. I know comics were your first love in life, even before music. Tell me all about that, how did you first get involved with comics?
DMC: I think I saw my first comic when I was in kindergarten. My brother actually brought it home. I believe it was Justice League or possibly Green Lantern. It was definitely a DC comic book. Once I realized I could go to the candy store, where they had all the comics laid out...Marvel Comics were what attracted me. DC was cool, but Gotham and Metropolis were fictional cities. Marvel had the superheroes in NEW YORK! Spider-Man lived in Queens, I LIVED IN QUEENS!!!! All the stories were based in places I knew.
Spider-Man, The Hulk, Captain America, The Avengers, The Defenders, Silver Surfer, The Fantastic Four...me and my brother had a HUGE collection. It was ALL we did.
FPB: What was it like when you discovered Marvel’s great African-American heroes like Luke Cage and Black Panther?
DMC: It was cool because we were seeing superheroes we could identify with as well. But here’s the thing, even though Luke Cage and Black Panther were black I didn’t care much about them....I LOVED CAPTAIN AMERICA!!! There was just something I loved about Captain America. The stories were just so good. I think also it was because I was a really good student in school. To have superheroes running around during World War II was something I really liked.
I just took to Marvel because of their characters’ relationships with real time periods and real places that existed.
FPB: How did that initial love of comics integrate into your Hip Hop career?
DMC: It was easy. By reading comics, it taught me writing, it taught me storytelling and it taught me how to use my imagination and creativity.
Marvel comic books also taught me how to define myself with adjectives. They had “The Amazing” Spider-Man, “The Incredible” Hulk and “The Mighty” Thor. So when I entered the world of Hip Hop, my imagination enabled me to become the “Most Powerful Entity In This Hip Hop Universe”...I became “The Devastating, Mic Controlling” DMC! On the next record I was the “Microphone Master” DMC!
Thor was the son of Odin and comes from this mighty mystical kingdom called Asgard. So it went as far as on the Raising Hell album, I became the
“Son of Byford, brother of Al, bad as my Mama and Run’s my pal, It’s McDaniels not McDonald’s, these rhymes are Darryl’s those burgers are Ronald’s, I ran down my family tree, my mother, my father, my brother and D.”
(And yes...DMC himself spit one of his legendary verses just for me. That actually happened, and I tried my hardest to not totally geek out and do a terrible beat box along with it)
DMC: So comics taught me how to create my character and create my legacy. It was just pretending and make believe, but doing it and saying those words every day, I had no idea it would come true in this world. I mean, it all came true! When I walk into a room people call me KING!
If you listen to our record King of Rock from’85, Run says “I’m DJ Run and I can scratch”, I don’t say “I’m DMC and I can rap”, I say “I’m DMC and I can draw”! On King of Rock the Easter eggs were always there. There’s a lyric when I say “We crash through walls, cut through floors, bust through ceilings and knock down doors”. Rappers don’t do that...superheroes do!!
FPB: So way back then did you ever dream of one day making a comic book?
DMC: NO! That was the furthest thing from my mind! I had enough fun reading them and drawing them. I would buy a comic book, read it and then pull out my paper and pen and draw it. I liked to draw the covers, I liked to draw the characters...make my own comic book adventures of Captain America and stuff like that. I had no intention to create my own comic book. That came about 2 years ago.
FPB: How did the DMC comic book come to be?
DMC: I actually went to a music meeting. And I met with a young man named “Riggs” Morales, who was Eminem’s guy over at Shady Records. He came over to me and said “I’m usually very professional, but you’re like my superhero, dude. The way you look, the way you sound, and all of that.” And he asked me what it was like for me when I was a little kid. I told him I went to Catholic school, was a straight A student, always on the honor roll...and I was really just a nerdy kid that read and drew comic books. He looked at me and said, “ME TOO!” We sat there for about 3 hours talking about comics.
He eventually said, “D, if anyone can represent the power of positivity and the motherf#$*in’ coolness of comic books, it’s you!” There always seemed to be a lot of “in the closet” comic book lovers in Hip Hop. But if you listen to me throughout my whole career, I rhymed about chicken and collar greens, I rhymed about St. John’s University, I made a record about my sneakers, I rhymed about my family...never about drugs or stuff I didn’t do. So when Riggs thought that if I made it known that I read comics...that would be the coolest thing in the world. So we started to put together DMC: Darryl Makes Comics.
We made this comic not as a business venture, it was a celebration of comics and everything they did to make us who we are.
FPB: What’s the comic about?
DMC: So in this universe, my super powers are to create Hip Hop and Rock & Roll, “I’m the King of Rock, there is none higher”. But in this comic book universe, DMC is actually an English teacher whose alter ego is a superhero running around chasing down bad guys in the city. I thought a rapping superhero would be corny...in the book there IS Hip Hop, there IS Thrash, there IS Punk Rock and all the music and pop culture elements that I associate with, but MY character is not doing that...it’s the kids, the young people and the musicians.
FPB: Thank you so much for speaking to us about this, it’s an absolute dream come true to meet you and chat.
DMC: It was a pleasure!
I have to say that in my 5 years of writing the Full Page Bleed and conducting interviews I have not been more excited to meet ANYONE, and I never thought I’d have the privilege to meet someone so legendary who influenced not only my interests in music, but pop culture and an entire genre of music. Even my off-the-record conversations with Darryl over the course of the weekend were just as amazing and even inspiring in the wake of the recent shootings in the U.S. I suggest everyone who gets a chance to meet him do so. He is one of the most approachable celebrities I have ever met and you will not regret the experience!
Also, to learn more about and purchase Darryl’s DMC comic book, you can hit up his website at THIS LINK.
As a lifelong fan of Hip Hop and music in general, that was indeed one for the bucket list! Who ever thought FPB would meet DMC? Stay tuned in the coming weeks for more great interviews from Montreal ComicCon! Did I meet more legends? You betcha! Bleed out!