The relationship between the comic book world and Hip-Hop has been apparent to individuals who find their allegiances split between the two communications mediums. Though the tenets of both have certainly been prognosticated on unceasingly in the last five years, the almost symbiotic relationship between the two has been discussed ad nauseum in “The hood” for more than 30 years.
At the 2014 New York Comic Con, DMC and music executive turned senior editor Riggs Morales were part of a panel discussion titled “Boom! Bap! Pow! Hip-Hop & Comics! 2014” that also featured commentary by producer Young Gugu, rapper and producer Kwame, Q-Unique of the Arsonists and Allhiphop.com publisher Chuck Creekmur. During the discussion, DMC spoke at length about the creation of his new publishing company DMC (Darryl Makes Comics) and the catalyst behind his love for the genre. Who remembers the lyrics from the hit Run DMC song “King of Rock” in which they rhyme “Like we said before, we rock hardcore “I'm DJ Run, I can scratch. I'm DMC, I can draw and now we got the knack, to attract.”
For DMC, things have come full circles since those words were first uttered decades ago.
“That was in 85. That was the second album. I could have said ‘I’m DMC. I can rap. I’m DMC, I can rhyme. I said ‘I’m DMC and I can draw’,” explained to those in attendance. “I was bragging about it too. I was still right there thinking about it. It actually wasn’t until Raising Hell where I completely put the pencils down. The reason I said that is, for me, it was school and it was comic books. I went to Catholic and going to catholic school meant you had to deal with a lot of issues because you wore a uniform. My catholic school was like five blocks from where I grew up. To get from my house to school was total hell.”
“The public school kids thought ‘Oh, you got a uniform on, you go to catholic school. Your parents are rich because they pay for you to go to school.’ So, I went through that whole thing of being bullied because I went to catholic school, being teased and I wore glasses. Back then, you wore glasses, you go to a catholic school, and you’re smart. So, they want to tease and pick on you. When I got to school it was love. I loved education, I loved new pens, I loved to read and write, I loved to get new pencil boxes, lunch boxes and all of that. But, to get back home was terrible. Comic books took me away from this world that was so devastating for me.”
In addition to dealing with all of the stereotypical problems the typical comic book nerd has to deflect from their peers, comic books were taboo for educators as well.
“People, especially educators back in the ‘70s, thought there was something wrong with kids that read comic books,” said DMC. “I would learn about World War II in school, but I would come and read my comic book and Captain America would take me there. I would learn about biology and science in school, but when I made it home it was Iron Man and the Vision that would take me there. So, the reason why I said ‘I can draw’ instead of ‘I can rhyme’ is because that was it for me at the time. Those pioneer’s before Run DMC, they were my superheroes. But the reason I said ‘I can draw’ is because comic books and drawing came first.”
“I was five years old when I started getting into comics,” he continued. “My brother was three years older than me. Every artists from Marvel to DC said they did this, I would take tracing paper and trace my favorite superhero. By the time I was six or seven years old I was able to do it without the tracing paper. So, that’s all I did. When Hip-Hop came over the Bridge it was comic books and Hip-Hop, back and forth.”
In addition to being a comic book fan since he was practically a toddler, DMC’s connection to the illustrated genre has remained a constant until it prompted him to craft his own graphic novel.
“When I was put on that microphone, when I spoke it that, was who I was. I said I can draw because that’s who I am. I’m not another rapper who, because I got a hit record, thinks I can mess up another genre. Because rappers nowadays get a hit record and think they can do everything. Stay in your lane. First and foremost, comic books are the foundation of my existence. That’s why I said that.”
Darryl Makes Comics Senior Editor Riggs Morales told attendees of his role in helping DMC Publishing to its current state as well.
“The one question that I asked Darryl is ‘If you’re going to have a publishing company what would you call it?’ DMC, Darryl Makes Comics! Before we started off I told him ‘Don’t wait for somebody to make you a comic book.’ It’s like what Ghandi said; If you want to see change in the world be the change yourself. See what I’m saying? We need to make this comic book. Whether you work with me or not. Talk this over with your partner Eric and when you’re ready come back to me.”
“A couple months later they were doing a commercial and we just started talking,” continued Morales. “We started talking about White Tiger. We started looking at artwork. He said ‘I decided I’m going to do this company but I can’t do it without you guys.’ I was like ‘Whaaat?’ That was about two years ago.”
“Two years ago, a friend of mine…,” DMC jokingly chimed.
“We were here literally a year ago making a promise to the fans of New York Comic Con that we were going to come back with a full length graphic novel and here we are,” said Riggs.
“Our whole thing was to do this comic with integrity, but to make sure this comic doesn’t just represent DMC,” said Darryl McDaniels. “DMC is the bait. We wanted to use official writers and artists from Marvel and DC, but we wanted this piece of work to represent y’all. I just want to commend Reyes because it came to fruition. It’s a tribute to what we all represent.”
DMC the graphic novel features Darryl’s lyrical alter ego embodied as a superhero in the 1980s who defends the citizens of New York from supervillains and overzealous superheroes alike. He does it with flare and two gold name rings that would make Eric B jealous. DMC debuted on October 29th to great fanfare. For more information on the graphic novel log on to www.dmc-comics.com.