Darryl McDaniels grew up in the working-class New York neighborhood of Hollis in Queens, where he wore glasses and read comic books obsessively. Once he discovered hip-hop, he traded in his Marvel adventures for two turntables and a microphone and morphed into DMC, one third of the most influential collective in the history of rap music.
That transformation has all the makings of a superhero origin story, so it’s only natural that McDaniels now has his own comic book. The Run-D.M.C. co-founder is launching Darryl Makes Comics, a new company that will bridge the gap between the worlds of hip-hop and the fantastic adventures he got wrapped up in as a youth.
“Three years ago, I went to the comic convention in Philadelphia to do a celebrity signing. I just went to make a couple of bucks, and it ended up bringing my love of comics back again,” McDaniels explained. “I went there, and just being at this comic convention, the memories started coming back and filtering in. The problem was I lost a lot of money because I didn’t just stand there to sign autographs—I ended up taking a tour of the whole convention. I remembered a lot of old stuff, but I was introduced to a lot of new publications and productions.”
He was so inspired that he went about recruiting an all-star team of collaborators. He teamed up with fellow comic book obsessives Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez and Riggs Morales, and drafted writer Ronald Wimberly (Vertigo’s awesome Prince of Cats), artist Damion Scott (Batman, Batgirl, Robin), inker Dexter Vines (Superman, Wolverine, Civil War), and cover artist Sal Buscema (Avengers, Incredible Hulk). The resulting book, DMC, casts McDaniels as an alternate universe version of himself who instead of growing up to be an MC became a super-powered crime-fighter (albeit one who still rocks Adidas shell-toes).
McDaniels surrounded himself with top-shelf talent because he wants Darryl Makes Comics to be taken seriously, and he’s opening his doors to anybody in the comic book industry who is looking for an opportunity. “This production is first and foremost respectable and legitimate to comic book culture,” he said. “The same things DC and Marvel did, the same stories and passion is what this is first. My comic book passion has always been there, but I never pursued it, but I didn’t want to be a hip-hop dude trying to do a hip-hop comic book. “The key was to then get people who are even more passionate about comic culture than me. They understand past, present, and future.”
More stories and characters will be forthcoming, but for now McDaniels is focusing on getting DMC out the door and building buzz for it via a Kickstarter campaign (though he notes that the project will continue whether they reach their fundraising goal or not). And though he put away his drawing book before crafting albums like Tougher Than Leather and King of Rock, he says his comic nerd roots were always showing. “When Run would approach me for rhyme ideas, I would think, ‘What would the Hulk do? What would Spider-Man do?'” he laughs.