Hip-Hop Legend DMC Moves into Comics

DMC @ NYCC 2009

Darryl McDaniels, otherwise known as "DMC", one-third of the legendary pioneering rap group Run-DMC, recently attended the fourth annual New York Comic Con to discuss the connection between comic books and the early years of hip-hop.

The event, held at New York's Jacob Javits Center February 6th through the 8th, welcomed 77.000 attendees to celebrate the influence of comic book and genre entertainment on pop culture.

DMC was at the event to not only discuss the historical comic book and hip-hop connection, but to also announce his upcoming plans to co-create a new comic book series through creator Adam Wallenta's America Mule Entertainment. The independent publisher also works with another hip-hop legend/pioneer Chuck D. of Public Enemy fame on a Public Enemy comic book series, based on the "socially conscious rappers adventures around the globe".

In an exclusive interview with Newsarama, DMC, a self-professed comic book fanatic and "Marvelhead" (meaning he was primarily a fan of publisher Marvel Comics) as a child, explained how the many of the elements found in the comic book adventures of characters like the Spectacular Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, and the Mighty Thor influenced many of the early, iconic hip-hop artists.

DMC likened everything from the attire worn by artists (he was famous for his large black hat, glasses, gloves and black leather), to their hip-hop monikers like "The Almighty K.G.", "Grand Master Jay", and "The "Devastating Mic Controller DMC", to their famously boastful rhymes and record titles like Run-DMC's "King of Rock" as directly influenced by the comic book titles they read as children.

DMC also revealed that comic books are directly responsible for the formation of Run-DMC itself, explaining how he first met fellow founding group member Joseph "DJ Run" Simmons when he and his brother sold Simmons comic books out their extensive collection to help pay for their first turntables.

DMC said that for early fans of hip-hop in the late 70's and early 80's, the rappers they followed were like their comic book superheroes, and the rappers rhymes like comic book adventures.

"Comics themselves … it’s a lot of things people could see in themselves, or could hope for, which is kind of like the rappers," he said. "In the beginning we were doing it for people who couldn't say it or do it for themselves.

"I've traveled the world, and every place I go I fight for good. It's exactly like a comic book, because everywhere Run-DMC went, we did good."

The former straight-A student and champion of education hopes to use his comic book series to continue his quest to help children as well as reclaim modern day hip-hop.

"With comic books, I could do what I did with music," he said. "But I can turn the music off and put in story form."

The artist hopes to put "good values" into his stories so "kids don't have to be ashamed of who they are," and to combat the notion that "if you ain't no gangster or thug, you ain't hip-hop."

"It's like I tell the kids. The reason hip-hop did what it did is because it was good, in the beginning,'" he explained. "The reason I have to become a superhero is I have to save hip-hop. People are running around saying hip-hop is dead.

"No it's not because DMC is here to saaaaaave the day…"

Related:

DMC Interview, Part 1

DMC Interview, Part 2

New York Comic Con 2009 Video Archive

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