You can’t think of the rap group Run-DMC without hearing the soundtrack of their groundbreaking Aerosmith collaboration, Walk This Way playing at full blast in your head.
But long before Darryl McDaniels, aka: DMC, became a track-suit-wearing MTV sensation, he was dreaming of becoming a comic book hero.
When Darryl was a kindergartner growing up in Queens, NY, he realized his passion for comics. Batman was his first role model. McDaniels explains that he was just learning to read and still wanted to draw his stories; the comic books allowed him to pursue both.
Soon, Marvel characters filled his days. “Stan Lee was brilliant… Spider-Man lived in Queens! I lived in Queens!” The budding rap star with straight A’s learned a few things from the superheroes.
“Comic books taught me how to define myself with an adjective and tell the world who I am.”
Once, Darryl and his brother wanted to buy a couple of turntables and a mixer to boost their budding rapping skills, but the two didn’t have the cash. So, they held a comic book sale to raise the funds. Years later, Darryl would learn that Run-DMC members came to that sale.
McDaniels, who says he never wanted to get into show biz, said he saw rapping as a way to “tell stories over music… When you listen to ‘King of Rock’ — Now we crash through walls, cut through floors/ Bust through ceilings and knock down doors — rappers don’t do that stuff, superheroes do.”
He says the group didn’t even know what MTV was back in 1984 when they became the first rap group to sell a million records. “People in Queens didn’t have MTV yet.”
But Queens, and the world, would soon know MTV and Run-DMC. The rappers became the first to make the cover of Rolling Stone. They had spearheaded the rap movement without even knowing it.
Recently, McDaniels has rekindled his love of comic book writing, thanks to some encouragement from a music-industry pro. “We were talking about superheroes, and he convinced me to write my own.”
McDaniels began the independent comic DMC and has since written two issues. The series is set in New York City in 1985 and tells the adventures of a track suit-wearing superhero fighting for justice. Sounds like art imitating life.
Darryl McDaniels will be making a special appearance with his comics at the Florida Supercon July 28 to 30, where he will be autographing copies and joining some panel discussions.
And we can look forward to some new music from DMC (Dynamic Musical Collaborations). McDaniels says he’s hard at work on a new record with some big names.
Florida Supercon is at the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention Center, 1950 Eisenhower Blvd., Fort Lauderdale
Call: 954-399-1330; or go online to: floridasupercon.com.