“DMC” Darryl Makes Comics
First annual Indio’s Fantasia Comic Con
interview + portrait Jorge Perezchica
JORGE: How did you first get into comics?
DMC: Before I got into music, I was a kid, all I did was read comic books. That’s all I did. So now hip-hop comes over the bridge from the Bronx. I lived in Queens. I went to Catholic school my whole life. I was a nerdy, geeky Catholic school kid who by the way, straight A’s, always on the honor roll, five stars, always at the top of my class. All I did was go to school. I was excellent student and all I did was read comic books.
JORGE: I read that you grew up in a foster care home. Can you tell us about that experience and did it have an impact on your life?
DMC: I didn’t find out I was adopted until I was thirty-five years old. So my friends were teasing me and said, “Gee, you’re really a superhero, because most superheroes are adopted.” But what had happened was before Run-DMC broke up, we was touring the world. Lifestyles of the rich and famous, lot of money every night, Run-DMC, everybody knows me. I got depressed into wanting to kill myself. Everybody was like, “Yo, why you want to kill yourself? You’re DMC, you know, first to go platinum, first on the cover of Rolling Stone, first with the big sneaker deals, you open doors for people through the medium of hip-hop. None of that meant nothing to me. So I wanted to kill myself, but I was like, if I died tomorrow, I want people to know the DMC story. You can listen to the records, look at the videos, there’s a behind the music about us, as like two or three books, but nobody knows her little boy. I wanted to tell the world, “Yo, I’m Darryl McDaniels from Run-DMC. I was born May 31st 1964.” That’s all I know about the day I was born. I just want to know more extra things to make it interesting for the reader. At that time, I was the alcoholic, suicidal, metaphysical, spiritual wreck. I read the Bible twenty times. It didn’t do nothing for me. I read every book by Deepak Chopra, it’s doing nothing for me. I read through the books and spiritual books. They didn’t do nothing for me. Jack Daniels and Jim Beam became my best friends — that didn’t do nothing for me. One day my mom calls back with my father, “We have something else to tell you — you’re adopted, but we love you.” That’s how I found out, a couple of weeks later I found out that I was a foster kid.
JORGE: Tell us about your comic book — it takes place in the 1980’s?
DMC: We put it in the eighties universe because the 1980’s historically was one of the most creative, artistic, innovative times in history. You had hip hop, you had punk rock, you had the Ramones, you had Lou Reed, you had Debbie Harry, you had the Beastie Boys, you had Run-DMC. But you also have Keith Haring and Basquiat. So you had artists, designers, journalists, intellectuals and graffiti. The eighties universe was one of the most creative, positive times on earth, but there was crime and poverty and graffiti in the society. The social issues that affected people living in those cities. We put it in that eighties universe because even though there was definitely the structure and darkness everywhere, you had the arts, the music, the sculptors, play writers, the musicians and the painters doing something that was positive and powerful.
JORGE: What are the superheroes in the “DMC” comics universe like?
DMC: My heroes were the breakdancers, the Adidas suits, and the sneakers and the hats. Our superheroes are going to dress like the people we looked up to. So that’s why our superheroes don’t have a shield in pirate boats. He wears a fedora, like Run-DMC dude, because that’s dope, you know what I’m saying? He wears an Adidas shoe because that’s dope. What we had to learn was, you can’t go to the mall and buy an Adidas suit out of the store and fight crime. You got to design one that’s able to take ray guns, lasers, heat blasters, bombs, fire and lightning.
JORGE: Who are some artists that you would love to work with?
DMC: I want to work with so many artists and writers, but my real goal is the reaching out to all artists out there who are blocked creatively. Just a seventeen year old kid who’s brilliant. He or she shouldn’t have to wait to graduate college to submit a resume. If they meet me and their work is dope, they can do it. A 52 year old artist and older, never got to draw for Marvel and DC, I’m going to give them that chance.
JORGE: What are your current thoughts on the hip hop scene?
DMC: It is what it is. What it lacks is responsibility. What it lacks is respectability. And also what it lacks is innovation, creativity, and the desire to go above and beyond everybody else’s expectations. What I mean by that is, I didn’t spit lyrics to impress sixteen, seventeen year old friends. I wanted adult, politicians, journalists, scientists, directors, designers, chemist, physicist, to say, “Oh my God! Did you hear what that young person said and do you hear that music he’s using?” There will never be an MC greater than DMC, call me the K-I-N-G nobody will ever be as dope as me.
JORGE: If your life were turned into a movie who would you like to play your character?
DMC: Oh Wow. That would probably be just somebody who was in town. I would love to give him, the unknown, the chance. I was an unknown when I came along with a microphone. I’m getting ready to put my life story on Broadway, to the person that plays me has to understand the story because it’s not just about me. The story involves a multitude of people and situations that allowed you to get where you are.
JORGE: How did you get connected with the Fantasia Comic Con? DMC: Oh, I met Orlando (Harding), I’ve seen Orlando, who created it at various Comic Cons and he just saw that I was passionate about the art, the creativity and the whole existence. I told him, “Yo, when I’m around creativity and art with other people who being creative and artistic, whether we know it or not, we’re changing the world.” So he said, “You know, I’m doing my first Comic Con in Indio, would you come?” And I was like, “Does the king of rock dominate every microphone he touches?”
JORGE: Anything else you want to share?
DMC: Issue number three of the “DMC” Darryl Makes Comics universe will be coming soon to a bookstore near you.